Do you fear battling your spouse in a Michigan divorce court? You may want to consider an approach apart from litigation.
Many couples have found that they can save themselves time, money, and emotional turmoil by engaging in one of three alternatives to divorce litigation in Michigan.
Let's take a closer look at your divorce options.
Michigan Divorce Mediation
Divorcing couples wanting to avoid litigation may find a viable path through mediation. In mediation, a neutral mediator helps the parties reach an agreement on the divorce issues, avoiding trial.
The mediator does not advocate for or represent, either party. Rather, they explain the legal strengths and weaknesses of each party's individual position, attempting to move them to the middle ground of their differences.
During this process, individual parties are advised to retain legal counsel to safeguard their interests while moving toward an agreement on disputed issues.
After all of the issues are resolved, a final marriage settlement agreement (MSA) will be drafted. Once approved and signed, the MSA may then be filed with the court for final judgment.
- Should be neutral and well-versed in family law,
- May be a family law attorney, retired judge, certified divorce mediator, or court-appointed mediator
- Help divorcing parties reach an agreement on all issues outside of divorce litigation.
Benefits of Mediation:
- Mediation is cheaper and faster than litigation
- The mediation format is informal
- Mediation is confidential vs. a matter of public record
- Divorcing parties control the outcome of the MSA
When Mediation Might Not be a Good Idea
- Situations involving domestic abuse
- Certain circumstances involving minor children
- One or more involved party is hiding assets
- When one or more of the parties is resistant to negotiation
Successful mediation depends on both parties' willingness to reach an agreement on all issues.
Collaborative Divorce in Michigan
Michigan is one of several states that have adopted collaborative law as a means of out-of-court settlement regarding family law matters. Collaborative law aims to effectuate a workable agreement between parties through negotiation and compromise.
When parties elect collaborative divorce, they agree to develop their marriage settlement agreement with the aid of professionals trained in collaborative divorce.
The professional team will vary depending on each divorcing couple's unique circumstances:
- Collaborative divorce attorneys representing each party
- Financial planners
- Child advocates
- Mental health professionals
- Estate planning attorneys
The divorcing parties and collaborative law team must contractually agree to attend all joint sessions and amicably express their needs as they work toward an agreement on all issues. These issues may include:
- Property division
- Asset and liability division
- Spousal support
- Child custody
- Child support
Full disclosure of assets, financials, and other information relevant to the proceedings is required. Once a final agreement is reached, the divorce attorneys will file the required documents with the court for a final certificate of divorce.
Michigan couples with straightforward circumstances may elect to try a do it yourself approach. Couples of short-term marriages with little or no assets or debts, comparable income earners, no children, and no alimony may be candidates for the do-it-yourself divorce.
However, divorce is complex, legally and financially. A single misstep could place one or the other party at a severe disadvantage. Retaining the help of an experienced divorce attorney is highly advised.
Contact a Michigan Divorce Attorney for Help
No one enters marriage contemplating divorce. Sometimes, however, irreconcilable differences take hold, and going separate ways is the only option.
If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, remember that not all marriages must be fated for a divorce litigation showdown. Maintain dignity and preserve respect between you and your spouse; reach out to a qualified Michigan divorce lawyer about divorce alternatives to litigation.
Contact our law firm today for an assessment of your family law matter and divorce options that may work for you.