Alternatives to Divorce Litigation in Wayne County
Divorce litigation can sometimes seem overwhelming to residents in the Downriver area. With that in mind, we wanted to explore some alternatives that may be better suited for your situation.
Divorce cases can be scary. When you go through a divorce, the emotional roller coaster can be difficult, and the thought of going to court and litigating your case might seem like too much to bear. But there are alternatives for those with feelings of fear. Whether you live in Southgate, Trenton, Flat Rock, Wyandotte, or anywhere in the Downriver community, you have these options at your disposal.
Divorce Mediation is an Option for Downriver Residents
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.
Divorce Mediators in Michigan:
- 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 Divorce 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.
Downriver Residents Can Try Collaborative Divorce
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.
You Can Also Attempt a Do-It-Yourself 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.
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