Jurisdiction and venue:  In every type of case there must be a court that has jurisdiction over the case.  In divorce, it isn’t based on the amount of money being decided or anything else, it is simply because it is an equitable division and therefore, the Circuit Court for the county has exclusive jurisdictions over divorce.  You can get a divorce in Probate Court or District Court, they have no jurisdiction over divorces.  Part of the jurisdictional requirements is that the party must live in the State of Michigan for more than six (6) months prior to the start of the divorce action.

However, venue is a different scenario.  Venue is in what Circuit Court you are going to be filing your case.  This relates to which county because each county has their own Circuit Court and to establish venue, you have to reside in that county for more than ten (10) days prior to the start of the divorce action.  In Kent County there is a family court division of the Circuit Court in which there are a number of judges that solely handle divorce matters and other family related issues.

In the smaller counties, the Circuit Court Judge handles all circuit court matters, including divorces.  Those matters can include felonies, equitable decisions with land disputes over $25,000.00 and other specific issues.

So, if you are contemplating a divorce action, it is important to understand first the jurisdiction and then also venue so that you can work with the Judges and Friend of the Court in that county and also if your plan is to reside in a specific county for the majority of the time your children are minors, it is best to start the divorce in that county.

Watt Law Firm is a general practice law firm that handles all legal needs including but not limited to bankruptcy, divorce/family law, criminal law, civil law, business law, estate planning, real estate, Social Security and collections

For a complimentary initial consultation, call our office to set up an appointment.  We are conveniently located in Cascade, barrier free entry, and offer free parking.


Watt Law Firm
2951 Thornhills Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Telephone No. 616.776.0000