Legal Question in Family Law in Michigan

I am helping a friend file a Notice of Hearing and Motion to have a divorce case reopened that was dismissed for non appearance as my friend was incarcerated and did not know about teleconferencing. Along with with motion I have to file a Praecipe for Motion and Misc. Docket. I have to complete either #1 or #2. He is in prison and has no communication with his Canadian wife. Can he send her a letter stating the case is going to be re-opened and that he want a divorce? Would that be sufficient for completing #1 stating he made personal contact with her on the date of the letter and concurrence has been denied?

Asked on 1/16/10, 10:55 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Audra Arndt Audra A. Arndt & Associates, PLLC

Yes, a written communication, whether sent by mail, fax or email, identifying what action he is taking, i.e., filing the motion requesting the case be reopened for X reasons, is sufficient for the "contact" portion of a praecipe. He should try to contact her via telephone as well, because the court/judge/referee may ask him exactly what attempts he made to contact her (how many and what method), if she does not show up. It's always best to make a few attempts. Plus, he will also be serving her with a copy of all the paperwork he files. Make sure he allows enough time for mailing, especially if it is international mail, from the date he mails it to the date of the hearing. While he is required to mail the motion (and all accompanying documents), no less than 9 days in advance of the hearing, if it is going international, I would allow more, simply so the court is satisfied that enough notice was given, and does not reschedule the hearing, if she does not show up.

He also has to file a Proof of Service, which may be included on the Motion if he is using a preprinted court form, which states that he mailed X documents to her at X address(es) on X date.

If he does not know where she is residing, he should contact any friends or relatives that may know, along with doing a postal verification to all last known addresses (in the U.S.), looking her up on, etc - simple things that are free and quick, so the court doesn't doubt his sincerity in trying to locate, contact, or properly notify her.

Good luck.


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Answered on 1/21/10, 8:43 pm

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