If you are contemplating divorce please contact me for help during this difficult time. I understand that this is not an easy decision for you to make especially if children are involved. The assistance of an experienced attorney who listens to you and treats you with respect can make the legal aspect of your divorce much less stressful.
Unlike attorneys who promise ‘aggressive’ representation in family law cases, I do not encourage the aggressive pursuit of unwise objectives. I know that you have enough to worry about without your lawyer adding to the emotional and financial costs of your divorce by recommending aggressive legal actions that will be of negligible benefit to you.
Legal fighting and posturing aimed at achieving emotional vindication or revenge is never to my client’s long term advantage. At best, it needlessly inflates your legal bills and at worst it creates a legacy of bad feelings and poor results that negatively affect your family for years. If it is not in your best interest to initiate or engage in a costly courtroom battle to contest an issue, I will let you know up front.
The more a couple can make their own decisions about their divorce, the more they will stay out of court and the more money they will save. I use my family law experience to make sure my clients’ rights are protected and all the necessary issues are discussed and resolved, while still allowing them to maintain control over their agreement to the highest degree possible.
What if it gets Ugly?
Unfortunately, sometimes the circumstances are such that the divorce does require a tougher, more aggressive legal approach. Even in these cases, you can be confident that I will use every effort to try to obtain a favorable settlement, while at the same time conducting thorough preparation for trial.
In divorce, as in all areas of my law practice, I listen carefully to your concerns and clearly explain the laws, the legal issues, and the options available to you. I will outline the best and worst possible scenarios and then let you make an informed decision about how to proceed.
What should I do if a divorce is imminent?
- Consult an attorney. Knowing your rights and responsibilities is the most important step in the divorce process. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to advise you on the law as it applies to your situation, and help you make informed decisions on what you should do or not do.
- Copy Documents. Obtaining copies of documents before a case is started can help keep costs down in the discovery phase of your divorce case. Go through your household files and scan or make copies of all documents related to your finances including: tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, check registers, mortgage and loan statements, financial statements, etc.
- Make an Inventory of Household Possessions. Take pictures and make a list of all major household items, including furniture, jewelry, artwork, and other items that could be removed from the home.
- Determine your Household Expenses. Review your check register, bank statements and credit card statements to determine your monthly expenses. Knowledge of your monthly expenses will help if a determination of temporary support is required.
- Put your Children First. Going through a divorce can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. You and your spouse may find yourselves directing considerable amounts of your time and attention on your case, to the detriment of your children. During a divorce, it is important to keep your children’s routines as normal as possible. Do not argue in front of your children. If you cannot be together without arguing, create a schedule of separate times for each of you to be with your children. Children need and deserve the love of both of their parents during and after the divorce. Do not disparage the other parent in front of children. The choices you make during your divorce and your behavior afterwards will have a lifelong impact on both you and your children.
How much does a divorce cost?
It always depends on the complexity of the case. If there are contested issues such as who will have custody of the children, or disagreements about property, the cost can escalate quickly. Whenever possible, I encourage my clients to keep lines of communication open with their spouse.
Once you have an accurate understanding of your marital assets and how your assets would be divided under Michigan law, you can minimize attorney fees if you and your spouse agree on how to split the property. Since the cost of your divorce will depend on your situation, I can estimate your potential legal fees once we discuss the facts of your case.
How long will the process take?
The time needed to complete a divorce depends on whether and how many contested issues are involved. The Statutory waiting period in Michigan for obtaining a Judgment after filing a divorce case with no minor children is two months, and with minor children is six months. Whenever there are contested issues, the time period may be extended many months.
What do we discuss at the initial consultation?
Usually we will discuss several topics, including: the possibility of saving your marriage through marital counseling, financial matters such as temporary child and spousal support, division of marital property, court procedures, restraining orders involving finances/personal protection, costs and attorney fees for your case.
What should I do if my spouse has filed for divorce?
You should consult an attorney quickly for advice. You have a limited time to file your response, or your spouse may obtain a default judgment against you. Even if you agree that a divorce is necessary, you need to obtain professional advice on all other issues in your case so you can decide how to proceed, and understand the consequences of doing nothing.
Please feel free to contact me with your specific questions or concerns. If you have already made your initial appointment, please print and bring your completed new client Divorce Questionnaire to our first meeting so I can better understand your goals and objectives.