Judgement of Divorce
We hope the following pages will give you a better understanding regarding your Judgment of Divorce.
Please keep in mind, each case is unique and Judgment’s of Divorce will contain precise information according to the facts in your case.
Parties Under Court Order
At the beginning of a divorce action parties could possibly be under Court Order covering a variety of matters. Court Orders are binding and parties must comply or failure, on either party’s part, may result in a contempt of court hearing. It is the objective of the Court to provide stanch guidelines that will assist the parties and protect the interests of the minor children.
Parents divorce each other, not their children, children need an ongoing positive relationship with each parent (inherit rights of each child). Please remember, both parties have obligations to the child(ren) and your ex-spouse and you are Court Ordered to comply with your judgment
Sections of your Judgment
The Michigan Court Rules (MCR 3.211) require all Judgment or Orders contain separate paragraphs that are prefaced by an appropriate heading, specifically judgments of divorce, separate maintenance, or annulment:
• Insurance and dower provisions
• Rights of the parties to pension, annuity and retirement benefits
• Property rights
• Provision reserving or denying spousal support
• When there are minor children
Domicile or residence of the minor child
Custody of minor children
Support of the minor children
Uniform Child Support Order (FOC 10)
Support arrearages owing to the State of Michigan
Health insurance provisions
Statutory service fees
The final order is called a Judgment of Divorce. The Friend of the Court must approve all orders dealing with custody, support and/or parenting time prior to presenting to the Court for judicial signature.
Prior to the Judge granting your divorce, proofs must be placed on record to ensure that all parties understand and are in agreement with the order. If counsel represents parties, either attorney may draft the Judgment of Divorce for judicial signature. Please make sure you understand your Judgment of Divorce before placing your signature on this document, once the Court grants your divorce, this judgment will affect your life for years to come.
The party being served with the Complaint for Divorce is called the Defendant. If the defendant does not respond within the designated time frame, the party seeking the divorce (Plaintiff) may obtain their judgment by default, called a Default Judgment of Divorce.
If the parties come to an agreement and wish to stipulate to the issues contained in their judgment, this is called a Consent Judgment of Divorce.
If the parties are not in agreement and there are contested factual issues, the court will conduct a hearing and based on facts and conclusion of law determine the final judgment, this is called a Judgment of Divorce.
Obligation of the parties
The parties are court ordered to supply the Friend of the Court (in writing )any address or employment changes that occur after the entry of their Judgment of Divorce.
Continuing Matters that involve the Friend of the Court
Only those sections that are considered “continuing matters” in a Judgment of Divorce are subject to change, for the Friend of the Court, those cases dealing with custody, support, parenting time and domicile of minor children are subject to amendments as conditions change. There are very few orders that will change property
How can a party amend a section of the judgment
A party wishing to amend a section of their judgments must do so by filing a Motion, unless the parties consent (stipulate) to the change and no hearing is necessary. Forms are available at the Friend of the Court office, the Friend of the Court does not represent either party.
The Friend of the Court may be required by statute to seek a modification on certain cases. The Court may on its own motion amend an order to protect the welfare of the children. The Friend of the Court will enforce original and/or modified orders.
Cooperation of the parties
The Court prefers that the parties work together in a cooperative manner after granting a divorce in the raising of the minor child(ren). However, when disputes arise, the custodial parent will decide where the child will live (provided it is not out of the State of Michigan, in which case Court approval is necessary), who will provide daycare and arrangements, what disciplinary measures will be used, how long a child’s hair will be, how the child will dress, and whom the child will associate with. These decisions can be made without consulting the non-custodial parent and are limited only by specific language in the orders of the Court. The Friend of the Court also encourages the parties to respect each other and work in a cooperative manner when dealing with issues concerning the minor child(ren).
Change in Legal Residence/Domicile
All final judgments entered before the 50 Judicial Circuit for Chippewa County will contain the provisions regarding the 100 Mile Rule and Change of Domicile.
Custody does not mean you own your child; it refers to the measurement of responsibility each parent will contribute in a child’s life. Custody consists of legal and physical custody.
** PLEASE REMEMBER THE COURT SPEAKS THROUGH ITS WRITTEN ORDERS; THEREFORE, DO NOT CHANCE CUSTODY WITHOUT AN ORDER .
This section in the Judgment of Divorce defines the rights of the non-custodial parent to spend time with the minor child(ren). Parenting time is generally the area that presents the greatest emotional problems for the parties, their child(ren), and their relatives, new spouses and new girlfriends and boyfriends.
Spousal Support —SS will be, forever barred and waived if you do not request support at the time of your divorce.
Child Support — CS can be an agreeable amount between the parties as long as the minor children do not receive public assistance. If children are receiving public assistance, child support will be based on the Child Support Formula.
For the benefit of the children, plaintiff and defendant shall maintain health care coverage through an insurer [as defined in MCL 552.602(o)]. This includes payment for hospital, dental, optical, and other medical expenses when that coverage is available at a reasonable cost, including coverage available as a benefit of employment or under an individual policy (not to exceed 5% of the plaintiff’s/defendant’s gross income). If a parent is self- employed and maintains health coverage, that parent should obtain or maintain dependant coverage for the benefit of the minor children if available at reasonable cost.
All uninsured health care expenses shall be the responsibility of the plaintiff and defendant.
“Order of income withholding” means an order entered by the circuit court providing for the withholding of a payers income to enforce a support order. Pursuant to MCL 552.603, parties must report in writing to the Friend of the Court promptly any change of employment.
Address of the Parties
Pursuant to MCL 552.603, parties must report in writing to the Friend of the Court promptly any changes in their address and telephone number.
Statutory Service Fees
The payer of support shall pay to the Friend of the Court or it designee, the sum as required by law, payable semiannually in advance on the 2nd of January and the 1st day of July, while the order of support is operative.