How Does Collaborative Law Work in Michigan?
Many people going through a divorce in Michigan envision a lengthy and time-consuming trial in the courtroom. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this situation and come to an agreement with your spouse in a shorter time and for less expense. Collaborative law is something many couples enter into when they are facing divorce, but before you decide this is the right option for your case, it is important that you understand how it works. If you are considering a collaborative divorce, below are the steps the process involves and what you can expect from each of them.
Hiring an Attorney
Although a collaborative divorce can help you avoid litigation, it is still crucial that you work with a family lawyer who can ensure your rights are upheld. You and your spouse must hire your own attorneys, and the one you choose should be well-versed in collaborative law.
When entering a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse must each sign a contract committing to the process. The contract will outline the commitment to attend a series of meetings to discuss the different terms of the divorce, and you will have to make a commitment to treat each other with respect and to remain honest at all times. Collaborative law contracts also often include a confidentiality clause.
Selection of Experts
Experts are often used in collaborative divorces. These may include financial experts that organize a couple’s assets and provide tax and financial advice, vocational experts that advise on a spouse’s ability to support themselves with their own income, and child development experts that can advise on what is in the best interests of the children involved in the divorce.
Once the specifics of the collaborative law process are complete, the couple will then meet together, with their attorneys, over a number of sessions. During these sessions, each side will present their arguments and negotiate the terms of the divorce. These sessions are largely guided by the attorneys involved.
Reaching a Final Agreement
Once a final agreement is reached, the attorneys will draft an agreement. Before the agreement is submitted to the court, both spouses must sign the agreement, which commits them to the terms outlined within it.
Filing the Agreement With the Court
Before the agreement is considered final, it must be submitted to the court and a judge must approve it and issue a certificate of divorce. The couple going through the divorce does not have to attend any court hearing, as the attorneys will prepare and file all relevant documents.
Our Michigan Family Lawyers can Help with Your Collaborative Divorce
If you are getting a divorce and think collaborative law may be right for you, our Grand Rapids family lawyers at Van Den Heuvel Law Office can help. We have the necessary experience in collaborative law to successfully negotiate a fair settlement and to ensure your rights are upheld at all times. Call us today or contact us online to learn more about how we can help.