MCR 3.223 Joint Petition for Divorce

In 2014, I served on a team of devoted lawyers and mediators to help advocate for a new court rule to create a less adversarial approach to filing paperwork with the court. On September 20, 2018, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an Order to help create my new favorite court rule, MCR 3.223 Summary Proceeding for Entry of Consent Judgment or Order. This new rule became effective on April 1, 2019, and allows a joint petition to be filed with the court requesting a final hearing without the typical pretrial requirements. After 60 days have passed, a hearing may be scheduled for both petitioners to attend and provide the necessary testimony for entry of the signed court documents. To learn more about the joint filing petition and process, contact our office at (248) 587-7888.

Joint Tax Returns - Must I file joint taxes with my spouse?

The Michigan Court of Appeals provides authority with Butler v. Simmons-Butler, 308 Mich App 195 (2014), for the trial court to consider ordering a party to file joint taxes based on various factors including insufficient assets to offset future tax debt, the marital history in filing joint returns, any past history of tax problems with the other spouse, and the options for the unwilling spouse to be held harmless from any tax liability. 

Child Support Retroactive Modification

The below Michigan Statute states the Court has authority to backdate a child support modification based on the "date that notice of the petition was given" to the payer or payee. This means to file a motion right away and document proof of service if support should be modified based on a difference in income, unemployment, change to the parenting schedule, etc. The motion hearing may be dismissed with entry of a consent order if an agreement is reached together. If not, the Court will decide the issues and will be able to backdate the request for support modification to the date notice of the motion was provided to the opposing party.  

MCL 552.603 Support order; enforcement; information to be included; notice of new information; service of notices or other papers; accrued interest prohibited; failure to comply with requirements; fee; admission into evidence.

Sec. 3.

(1) A support order issued by a court of this state shall be enforced as provided in this act.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a support order that is part of a judgment or is an order in a domestic relations matter is a judgment on and after the date the support amount is due as prescribed in section 5c, with the full force, effect, and attributes of a judgment of this state, and is not, on and after the date it is due, subject to retroactive modification. No additional action is necessary to reduce support to a final judgment. Retroactive modification of a support payment due under a support order is permissible with respect to a period during which there is pending a petition for modification, but only from the date that notice of the petition was given to the payer or recipient of support.

(3) This section does not apply to an ex parte interim support order or a temporary support order entered under supreme court rule.

(4) The office of the friend of the court shall make available to a payer or payee the forms and instructions described in section 5 of the friend of the court act, MCL 552.505.

(5) This section does not prohibit a court approved agreement between the parties to retroactively modify a support order. This section does not limit other enforcement remedies available under this or another act.

Shared Medical Expenses for Minor Child - 28 day rule

Child support typically includes a portion for uninsured medical expenses. Currently, the annual ordinary medical amount is $403 per year to be paid by the parent receiving child support.

Once this amount is exceeded, each parent has to pay a specific percentage for any additional uninsured expenses based on the child support formula calculations. The percentages vary based on each parent's income. It is important to keep documentation with receipts to submit verification and a written request for payment within 28 days of the insurance coverage determination, co-pay expense or prescription payment. If the other parent fails to pay within 28 days of the written request, the expense may be submitted on the required forms to the Friend of the Court for enforcement (as long as the case has not opted out of the Friend of the Court). It is also important to keep in mind that the request for enforcement be submitted within 6 months to the applicable Michigan Friend of the Court office to request assistance.

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Discovery Post-Judgment

Post-judgment discovery is not permitted without a motion hearing scheduled before the court.  If your name is listed on the account then you should be able to obtain statements directly. During the divorce, discovery requests are available with subpoena forms or a Request to Produce to the opposing party pursuant to the court rules: 
Rule 2.302 General Rules Governing Discovery
(A) Availability of Discovery.
(1) After commencement of an action, parties may obtain discovery by any
means provided in subchapter 2.300 of these rules.
(2) In actions in the district court, no discovery is permitted before entry of
judgment except by leave of the court or on the stipulation of all parties. A
motion for discovery may not be filed unless the discovery sought has
previously been requested and refused.
(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of this or any other rule, discovery is not
permitted in actions in the small claims division of the district court or in civil
infraction actions.
(4) After a postjudgment motion is filed pursuant to a domestic relations action
as defined by subchapter 3.200 of these rules, parties may obtain discovery by
any means provided in subchapter 2.300 of these rules.