Will Support and Custody Arrangements Be Followed?

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

My wife and I  are separated and settled our child support and custody matters at a hearing. Now that this agreement has been reached I would like to file for divorce.

But will our support and custody arrangement carry over to the final divorce decree or was all of this in vain?

Also, when I tried to file the divorce pro se it says I do not qualify because I have a pending and/or resolved case in the family court, I assume referring to our support and custody case. Can someone explain this to me?


The Michigan family courts strive to have “one judge per family.” This is why the complaint for divorce must state whether you have any other pending or resolved family law cases.

Having a pending or resolved custody case will not bar you from filing for divorce. Disclosing this information will allow the court to assign the same judge that handled your custody matter to your divorce matter. In theory, this judge already knows about your family and will be better equipped to help you resolve your divorce case.

Your negotiations and settlement in the support and custody case were not in vain. These orders still carry weight, and will be honored in your divorce case.

Because it is likely that you will have the same judge for your divorce, he or she will already be aware that custody has been resolved. Your divorce case will only involve the actual divorce, property division and spousal support, if necessary.

Keep in mind that in Michigan child support and child custody orders are always modifiable. Either party can petition the court based on a change in circumstances and ask that custody or support be modified in the best interests of the children.

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 an attorney immediately for assistance. Cordell & Cordell does represent clients in Michigan. Thank you for submitting your question.


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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