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What is a collaborative divorce in Michigan?

When a marriage is headed toward dissolution, a couple may immediately conjure up images of many hours in a family courthouse with the parties battling for years over property, other assets and children. Just a thought of what is to come can be emotionally taxing and draining. Not to mention the thought of the cost associated with a divorce.

Although it is true that in some cases parties may have no other option but to go to trial to resolve their differences, it is important to keep in mind that in Michigan it is possible for couples to resolve their difference and get a divorce through an alternate, non-adversarial option referred to as a collaborative divorce.

In order to partake in the collaborative divorce, parties have to get attorneys who are trained in the process. Depending on the complexity of the case, experts such as financial advisers, medical advisers and even child specialists may get involved. First and foremost, couple interested in collaboratively resolving their difference must sign an agreement which notes that they will not initiate a proceeding in court.

Following the signing of the agreement, several meetings will follow to ensure that the parties understand that the collaborative process requires cooperation and open and honest conversation and discussion to reach a fair, equitable and mutually agreeable settlement agreement. The purpose of attorneys in this process it to facilitate, advise and assist. The couple negotiates matters such as property, assets, children and parenting time. It is important to remain respectful throughout the process.

When the collaborative divorce fails, the parties will have to continue with the court. But, in general, the collaborative divorce process involves both parties in a positive approach to reach a resolution.

Source: Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan, "What is Collaborative Divorce?," Accessed May 25, 2015

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The Smith Law Offices, P.C.
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