Retired Divorce Lawyer
  Kent County, Michigan

Related Articles

Divorce Procedures

Michigan Divorce Forms

This article lists and describes divorce forms and paperwork most frequently encountered in Michigan divorce cases. This list is not exhaustive. You may have other paperwork in your case, depending on your circumstances.

Some of the documents use actual pre-printed forms while others are usually prepared using a word processor.

A form is a pre-printed, fill in the blank document. Pre-printed forms are good for gathering information which falls into clear categories. They help attorneys and court personnel keep track of information efficiently. 

The more complicated something is, the harder it is to make a pre-printed form that covers all the potential variations which might be encountered from case to case. Complicated documents tend not work well as pre-printed forms, and are usually drafted case by case to deal with particular circumstances. Examples of divorce documents that are not usually seen as forms would be mediation summaries, settlement conference statements, trial briefs, and the Judgment of Divorce.

There are a number of forms which are "official", in that they are drafted by the Michigan State Court Administrative Office. These are referred to as SCAO forms. Some SCAO forms must be used if they apply; others may be used (but might not be the best choice). Some can be used, but should be modified depending on the facts of the case.

I'm going to describe the documents and forms in roughly the order in which they would be encountered during a typical divorce case.

Where there is a SCAO form, I have included a link to the form. However, if you are representing yourself in a divorce case, Do Not download and rely on the forms from this website without checking to see if they are up to date. I am posting these for easy reference, but I won't be changing these forms on the website every time SCAO makes a change to a form. These forms are often changed and you may be required to used the current form. Here is the SCAO forms website, from which you can search and locate the current versions of these forms: SCAO Forms.

Record of Divorce

This is a pre-printed form partially filled out by the Plaintiff and filed with the initial paperwork. After the divorce is granted, the Court Clerk completes the document and forwards it to the State department that keeps records of vital statistics. This form is unique in that you have to use an original of the form, because they are preprinted with a serial number (instead of the State adding the number after it is received, which would make more sense). We can't use a .pdf or copy of the form. This is a dinosaur left over from the days when we prepared all the documents in a divorce using a typewriter.  Example of Record of Divorce

Summons and Complaint

This is essentially a notice to the Defendant of the lawsuit and need to take action to avoid being defaulted. SCAO Form MC 01 is almost always used. It is prepared by the Plaintiff. It is then dated, countersigned, and "issued" by the Court Clerk when the case is filed. It is served by the Plaintiff on the Defendant with the other initial divorce paperwork. The title of this form is misleading; it is actually only the Summons. The Complaint is a separate document. MC 01

Complaint for Divorce

This is the document filed by the Plaintiff to start the case. There is no SCAO form. There are some unofficial fill-in-the-blank forms in use. Attorneys prepare these by word processor. Here is an example of a simple complaint for divorce where there are no minor children and no spousal support or attorney fees are requested. Example of Complaint for Divorce

Verified Statement

This is an informational form for the Friend of the Court file. It is required when there is a minor child or if spousal support is ordered.  FOC 23

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act Affidavit

For divorce cases with minor children. This provides information needed by the Court to determine whether it or some other Court should make decisions regarding custody of the child. Some attorneys include this information as part of the Complaint for Divorce, or SCAO Form MC 416 can be used. MC 416

Motion for Temporary Order

This is a request for temporary relief while the case is pending. Typical issues include separation, child custody and support, spousal support, payment of bills, and preservation or sale of assets. However, the specific things requested depend on the facts of a particular case. There is no SCAO form. Attorneys prepare this with a word processor. Example of Motion for Temporary Order

Notice of Hearing

This is a notice telling your spouse when the hearing on a motion will be held. It may be combined with the motion document or may be a separate document. SCAO motion forms will incorporate the notice of hearing in the motion form. This is almost always a word processor document when prepared by attorneys. Example of Notice of Hearing

Motion Card

Prepared by the party filing a motion, and used by the Court Clerk to track the motion in the court system. This is a pre-printed form unique to Kent County. Motion Card

Answer to Complaint for Divorce

Prepared and filed by the Defendant to contest the divorce and avoid being defaulted. There is no SCAO form, though there are some pre-printed answer forms available. The answer admits, denies or corrects each numbered paragraph in the Complaint for Divorce. Even if you admit everything in the Complaint, filing it still makes it a contested case and is needed to avoid default. Example of Answer

Default

If a Defendant does not file a timely Answer, the Plaintiff may request that the Court Clerk enter a default. SCAO form MC 07 incorporates the request for default and the default. Many attorneys prepare this on a word processor.MC 07

Temporary Order

This is a Court order prepared by a party to implement the parties' settlement of terms for a temporary order, or the Judge's ruling at the hearing on a Motion for Temporary Order. There is no specific SCAO form, though some generic SCAO forms could be adapted for the purpose. Usually this a word-processor document, with the specific terms of the order dependent upon the facts and rulings in the case. Example of Temporary Order

Uniform Child Support Order

Child support orders must be on the applicable SCAO form, FOC 10 (or 10a where parties have opted out of FOC services.) The same form is used for temporary, final, or modified support orders. (A new version of the form will be required for 2013). FOC 10

Uniform Spousal Support Order

SCAO forms are also used for spousal support. FOC 10b (or 10c where FOC will not be responsible for collection the support). (A new version of the form will be required in 2013). FOC 10b

Judgment Information Form

This is a required SCAO form which must be filed with the Friend of the Court every time there is a new support order. FOC 100

Interrogatories

A set of written questions which must be answered in writing under oath, used to discover information in the possession of one party. There is no SCAO form. Attorneys will have their own word-processed documents with standard questions, which may then be tailored to particular issues in the case.

Request for Production of Documents

A demand, actually, for evidence in the possession of one party. May be combined with Interrogatories. There is no SCAO form.

Domestic Violence Screening for Referral to Mediation

This is a SCAO form used to screen out some cases which are not considered appropriate for mediation. MC 282

Scheduling Conference Statement

Alternate Dispute Resolution form used in Kent County. The form is available on Court's Alternate Dispute Resolution Office webpage.  Attorneys usually have a word-processor version. Submitted to the ADR clerk with the Domestic Violence Screening form to determine whether the Court should refer the case to mediation. Example of Scheduling Conference Statement

Mediation Statement

Some mediators have forms they request be filled out in advance of mediation to help the mediator get oriented to the basic facts of the case. Attorneys may also submit information to assist the mediator in understanding the issues. There is no SCAO form.

Settlement Conference Statement

Kent County has detailed information disclosures required to be provided in a settlement conference statement submitted at the time of the settlement conference. Details of the requirement are set forth in the settlement conference notice. There is no SCAO form. Specific information disclosed depends on the facts, issues and tactics followed in a case.

Trial Brief

This is a statement of facts, issues, and law pertinent to a case which is scheduled for trial. The specific information depends on the facts, issues and tactics being used in the case. There is no SCAO form.

Stipulation to Proceed

In cases which have been settled outside court, this document is to advise the Court of the settlement and Defendant's permission for the Court to proceed to approve the Judgment. There is no SCAO form.

Waiver of Right to Object

Unique to Kent County. This form, if signed by both parties, allows the Judgment to be submitted promptly to Judge for entry after a pro con hearing that has been held before a Referee (otherwise, there is an extra waiting period). Attorneys often incorporate this into the Stipulation to Proceed. Example of Stipulation to Proceed with Waiver

Motion to Enter Default Judgment

This is a request that the Court enter a Judgment when the default procedure is being used to complete the divorce. There is no specific SCAO form, but other generic SCAO forms can be adapted for the purpose. Attorneys use the word processor. Example of Motion to Enter Default Judgment

Judgment of Divorce

This is the court order which grants the divorce and sets the terms of divorce. The terms are either those being requested by the Plaintiff (if proceeding after a default), by the parties (if proceeding by settlement) or decided by the Judge (after a trial). There is no SCAO form. There are some pre-printed forms available, which may or may not be appropriate. The Judgment is usually a word-processed document. There are some clauses which are mandatory; other provisions will depend on the settlement or rulings by the Judge. The example is one for a simple divorce with minor children. Example of Judgment of Divorce

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO)

Although the Judgment can order the division of retirement benefits, some types of retirement benefits require a separate additional order. There is no SCAO form. Some employers have model or suggested QDRO forms that they request be followed. These may or may not be tailored to favor the employee over the spouse and therefore may or may not be appropriate. These orders must be drafted to meet the requirements of the retirement plan, federal law, and the agreement or ruling by the Judge. A similar but different order called an EDRO may be required to divide State of Michigan retirement benefits,

Proofs of Service

As the case proceeds through the divorce process, and documents are required to be served on the other party, proof that this has been done must be filed. A Proof of Service is a sworn statement that the document was correctly served on the other party. The back of the Summons and Complaint form, MC 01, includes several forms of proof to cover the different ways that service may have occurred. FOC motion forms generally incorporate both a notice of hearing and proof of service (which the forms usually call a Certificate of Mailing (since motions are usually served by mailing)). Word processed documents can incorporate a proof of service, or a separate document can be filed to show proof of service.  

 

Photo of Divorce Lawyer Michael Idema

Michael L. Idema
Attorney at Law