We recently surveyed our Michigan readers to find out about their experiences with divorce in their state. Here’s what we found out.
How Much Does Divorce Cost in Michigan?
According to our survey, the average divorce in Michigan costs $12,900, including $10,200 in attorneys' fees. Attorneys' fees are a significant chunk of the cost of divorce because the average hourly rate for attorneys in Michigan is $250. Your attorney's hourly rate—plus the rate of any paralegals and other firm staff—factored with the total time spent on your divorce case will determine the amount of attorneys' fees you'll pay. Other expenses include fees for things like court filings, the cost of copying and sharing documents, and compensation for expert witnesses and consultants (like child custody evaluators, appraisers, or financial analysts).
What Affects the Cost of Divorce in Michigan?
Since Michigan is a no-fault state, the only "ground" for divorce in Michigan is irretrievable breakdown of the marriage; the extra cost of having to prove adultery, abandonment, or a similar fault doesn't come into play. However, spouses who have minor children or a high-net worth generally have higher divorce costs than the state average.
Having Minor Children
The most expensive category of divorce in Michigan is one involving children. The cost of a divorce that involves child custody and/or child support issues can be about 50% more expensive than the average. According to our survey results, divorce costs an average of $19,400 in Michigan when minor children are involved, including $16,400 in attorneys' fees. However, costs for divorce with children are significantly lower for spouses who are able to reach a settlement before trial than those who go to divorce court to let a judge resolve their disputes.
Having a Dispute Over Alimony
Whether or not minor children are involved, divorces in Michigan that involve a dispute over alimony also cost more than the average. In alimony disputes, spouses often disagree on how much the working spouse actually makes or how much the non-working spouse should be able to earn. According to our survey results, divorce involving alimony disputes costs an average of $17,900 in Michigan, including $14,900 in attorneys' fees.
Getting to a settlement or preparing for trial in these situations can be expensive because of the costs of hiring and reviewing the opinions of financial experts and vocational analysts. And of course, the more alimony a spouse requests, the more the other spouse will fight it, and the more expensive it becomes.
Having Property Division Issues
Divorces in Michigan where property needs to be divided cost more than the average, especially for high-net worth couples and couples who have to go to trial on their issues rather than settle them out of court.
According to our survey results, divorce with property division issues cost $18,200 in Michigan, including $14,900 in attorneys' fees.
Spouses with numerous brokerage, retirement, and savings accounts, cars, and real estate will spend more on divorce because of the financial analyses needed from attorneys, appraisers, and tax experts.
Helpful Links About Michigan Divorce
There's more to know about divorce in Michigan; you may find the following websites useful.
Divorce in Michigan (from Divorcenet.com)
Michigan Child Support
Michigan Child Support Formula