The dynamic response of individual components in an assembled structure shows high accuracy compared to experimental measurements of the system response. However, when it comes to assemblies, the conventional linear approaches fail to deliver good accuracy, due to the uncertain linear and nonlinear mechanisms in the contact interface of the joints. Therefore, the inherent dynamics of the contact interfaces needs to be considered in modeling assembled structures. In this paper the prediction of the nonlinear dynamic response in a bolted flange joint was obtained in two ways. First, a 3D detailed finite element model capable of representing the micro-slip mechanism was made using a quasi-static time stepping analysis. The linear characteristics and nonlinear mechanisms developing in the contact interface of a bolted joint are investigated by using the 3D detailed model. Moreover, the natural frequencies of the assembled structure (representing the linear response) and the micro-slip behavior in terms of hysteresis loops (representing the nonlinear response) are obtained using the detailed model. Second, an equivalent model composed of beam elements and an appropriate joint model is then constructed for the assembled structure. An identification approach is proposed, and the parameters of the joint model are identified using both linear and nonlinear characteristics, i.e. natural frequencies and hysteresis loops. Comparing the hysteresis loops obtained from the detailed and equivalent models verifies the accuracy of the joint model used to represent the contact interface and the identification approach proposed for parameter quantification.