How long can a divorce case remain open?

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

How long can a divorce case remain open without a final divorce decree being filed? Is there some sort of a waiting period before a divorce can be granted?

What happens if nothing is done and no movement on my case is being made?



At a minimum, each divorce case in Michigan must be open for at least 60 days. A divorce that involves minor children will have a six month waiting period (which the court can waive after 60 days if in the best interest of the children).

A summons and complaint for divorce is valid for 91 days after it is issued. If the summons is not served within the 91 days, the case is considered dismissed without prejudice. This means that it can be refilled at any time.

Once additional pleadings have been filed with the court, there is no specific guideline for how long the case can be open. Each court, in each county, does things differently. Most courts strive to close the case within one year of filing.

In most courts, if there has been no action on a case the judge will hold a pretrial conference or settlement conference to determine the status of the case. If there is a good reason to delay proceedings, the judge has the discretion to allow the case to be open as long as necessary.

If the judge feels that the case should be moving along, he or she will likely set a trial date. If all matters are not decided before that date, the parties will each be allowed to present their positions, the judge will decide any remaining unsettled issues, and the case will be closed.

Although I practice law in Michigan, I cannot give you legal advice without thoroughly reviewing your case. Do not rely on this information as establishing an attorney-client relationship. Contact a managed divorce attorney immediately for assistance. Cordell & Cordell does represent clients in Michigan.


Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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