January 18, 2016

Collaborative divorce in Michigan

Collaborative divorce in Michigan

Collaborative divorce is a process by which the parties try to reach a fair result while minimizing conflict.  When practicing collaborative divorce, our Michigan collaborative divorce lawyers pledge to work on negotiating an acceptable agreement with professional help.  Collaborative divorce is not for everyone.

                            

A collaborative divorce is not for everyone and is not recommended when there is a lack of trust regarding the nature and extent of the marital estate.  (e.g. What is the business or practice really worth?); There is a disputes over the child(ren) – what is in the best interest of the children; and the parties are unable to communicate effectively. In every divorce, there is an emotional path and a legal path.  While the collaborative divorce process is appealing, it can also lead to an unfair result if one party is being less than candid about their financial or personal situation.

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Collaborative divorce (with or without a lawyer) in Michigan explained.

Collaborative divorce is all about civil negotiation.  However, every negotiation requires an understanding of the facts.  The key to a successful collaborative divorce is trust.  The parties must develop trust that they understand all of the assets and liabilities of the parties and trust that they can work together in handling the needs of the children.

Similarly, if the parties can reach an agreement over how to best handle the needs of the children, we can help you create a custody and parenting time plan without a custody trial.  Allowing you to continue to work as a team for your children.

A collaborative divorce strives to make divorce civil.

No Lawyer Mediation without

Michigan law is an adversarial process.  Simply put, one attorney cannot represent both parties in a Michigan divorce.  We avoid this conflict of interest by agreeing to facilitate and mediate the case without representing either party.  If the parties reach an agreement, we prepare a Confidential Settlement Agreement that is reviewed and signed by the parties.  If the parties cannot settle the case, we are forbidden from representing either party.  After the Confidential Settlement Agreement is signed, the parties either hire an attorney to file the paperwork or file for divorce themselves.  The Confidential Settlement Agreement is then incorporated and merged into the parties final Judgment of Divorce.

Collaborative divorce with lawyers

A collaborative divorce with lawyers provides additional comfort to many by having an advocate who is willing to work collaboratively in settling a case while providing an independent voice in the collaborative process.  If the parties reach an agreement, a Confidential Settlement Agreement that is reviewed and signed by the parties and their lawyers.  If the parties cannot settle the case, your lawyer can still represent you.  After the Confidential Settlement Agreement is signed, the parties lawyers file the paperwork and process the Judgment of Divorce for you.

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Collaborative law process

The Michigan collaborative law process generally involves the following steps:

1.  Informational Meeting with our collaborative divorce attorney or mediator to answer questions, gather and provide information, clarify each party’s interests and concerns, and plan the first steps.

2.  Inclusion of Team Professionals such as a child specialist, and/or neutral financial professional if required.

3.  Sign Participation Agreement which provides that each spouse is represented by his or her own attorney and requires full disclosure of all relevant information, transparency and open communication between the professional team.  This is a 4-way meeting with both spouses and their respective attorneys.

4.  Joint Meeting with Attorneys and/or other Professionals to address specific needs and interests of the clients and emotional roadblocks, gather necessary information, plan goals, and make initial agreements.

5.  Meet with professionals separately to complete divorce tasks such as with coaches to address emotional issues or craft a parenting plan; with the financial neutral to work on budgets, tax consequences, asset and income distribution; or with a child specialist to address needs and concerns of the children.

6.  Follow-up joint meetings with attorneys and multidisciplinary team to review, tweak where necessary, and solidify agreements, draft paperwork, and review and weigh alternatives as the case proceeds.

7.  Sign Paperwork and Complete the Process by signing the final settlement documents, including a confidential settlement agreement and/or the final document necessary for court, the judgment of divorce.

8.  Attorneys File Paperwork to start the case through the court, without relying on the court for any decisions or intervention other than what is necessary to legally finalize the divorce.

The collaborative divorce process is flexible and often more cost effective than the traditional adversarial divorce case in court. This process is governed by the needs and interests of the parties rather than a court docket and is tailored to meet each individual family’s particular aspirations. The focus is on future success of the family rather than mired in the present conflict of the divorce itself. Parties walk away more satisfied because they control the process and pace, have the time and ability to consider alternatives, and exercise their own self-determination resulting in more durable agreements.

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One lawyer divorce

While many lawyers advertise one lawyer divorce, it is important to understand that the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit an attorney from representing both a husband and a wife in a divorce.

Typically, a spouse will inform another spouse that there is no reason to hire a lawyer to save money.  If the spouse is benevolent, a fair divorce can be obtained with the lawyer representing one of the parties.  However, more often than not, a party can take advantage of the situation and enter into a divorce agreement that appears fair but is really not.

Therefore, if you think one attorney is representing both you and your wife, think again.  They cannot.  In every divorce case, the parties should have an opportunity to consult with their own lawyer, even if the agreement is fair.

Findling Law – Collaborative Divorce lawyers

Our Michigan divorce and Family Law lawyers practice both traditional and collaborative divorce.  Let us help you manage your situation.

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