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Oakland County divorce attorneyIf you are getting divorced, you may be unsure of what to expect. After all, the average person has little to no experience with legal matters, especially those as personal in nature as a divorce. To get a divorce in Michigan, you and your spouse will need to address issues like the division of marital assetschild custody, and spousal support. If you cannot reach an agreement about these issues, your divorce case becomes a “contested divorce.” Read on to learn about how discovery works in a contested divorce case in Michigan.

Discovery in a Michigan Divorce Case

The term “discovery” refers to the phase of the divorce process when each party (and his or her attorney) are gathering relevant evidence and facts. The parties exchange information about finances, child-related concerns, and other issues relevant to the divorce case. Informal discovery involves a voluntary exchange of information. In a highly contested divorce, various legal tools are used to gather information through a formal discovery process.

What Should I Expect During Formal Discovery?

If either party is reluctant to provide the necessary information or a party has lied about information, formal discovery tools may be used to compel the exchange of information. Your lawyer may use discovery tools such as:

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Farmington Hills divorce attorney mediation

If you are considering divorce or are in the midst of the divorce process, you may be worried about how you will deal with your spouse as you work to legally dissolve your marriage. Since your relationship has broken down beyond repair, it is understandable if the two of you have trouble getting along, but you may want to try to avoid serious conflict and resolve matters as peaceably as possible. Fortunately, your divorce does not have to be an extended legal battle in the courtroom, and you may be able to get through the process more easily by using mediation.

Reducing Conflict Through the Mediation Process

When you use mediation, you and your spouse will meet together with a mediator, who will act as a neutral third party who will help you work together to reach a mutually agreeable divorce settlement. The mediation sessions will consist of informal meetings where the two of you can identify the issues that need to be resolved, discuss your concerns, and reach compromises that you will both be satisfied with. The mediator does not make any decisions but instead will guide you toward compromises while making sure you understand how the law applies to your situation.

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Oakland County divorce attorney asset division

When you get divorced, you and your spouse will need to divide your property and assets. During the property division process, you will need to identify all of your assets, determine their value, and reach a fair and equitable agreement for how these assets should be distributed between the two of you. Unfortunately, this process can become more difficult if one party tries to unfairly influence the results by hiding or concealing assets. If you suspect that your spouse has hidden assets from you, you will want to understand how you can uncover this activity and the steps you can take to ensure that your property is divided fairly and equitably.

Methods of Hiding Assets

There are a variety of ways that spouses may attempt to conceal assets that they do not want to divide with their spouse, including:

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Oakland County divorce attorney property division

The division of marital property is often one of the most important considerations in a Michigan divorce. For many divorcing spouses, one of the top questions is, “Who gets the house?” You and your spouse may be able to reach an agreement about what to do with your house. Mediation and collaborative law are two alternative resolution methods that have helped countless divorcing couples reach property division settlements. If you cannot reach an agreement, the decision regarding possession of the marital home will be left to the court.

Options for Dividing the Marital Home

You and your spouse have several options when it comes to the marital home. You may decide to sell the home and then divide the profits. If one spouse wishes to retain possession of the home, you may decide on a property division arrangement in which the spouse who gets the home “buys out” the other spouse. This is usually accomplished by one spouse retaining possession of the home and the other spouse retaining possession of the marital property of an approximately equal value.

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Oakland County divorce attorney

If the relationship between you and your spouse has broken down, you may be considering ending your marriage. However, even if you believe that divorce is what is best for your family, you may be unsure about what will happen during the divorce process. One question that many spouses have is whether being the first to file for divorce will provide them with any advantages. By understanding the divorce laws in Michigan and the type of divorce you are planning to pursue, you can determine whether you should file for divorce sooner rather than later.

Filing for Divorce in Michigan

The divorce process begins when one spouse files a divorce complaint in their county’s circuit court. Since Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, the complaint will not need to specify specific grounds for divorce or a reason your marriage ended. Instead, you will simply need to allege that your marital relationship has broken down “to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed” and that it is not likely that you will be able to preserve your marriage. Since a divorce complaint will not blame either spouse for the end of the marriage, this may eliminate the need to be the first to file, since neither of you will need to show that the other is at fault for your divorce.

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Oakland County divorce attorney mediation

If your relationship with your spouse has broken down, you may feel that ending your marriage is the best choice for you and your family. However, you may also be worried about a contentious, adversarial divorce and the effects that this process may have on you, your finances, and your children. Fortunately, you do not have to take this approach, and instead, you may wish to use methods such as mediation to reach a settlement that both you and your spouse can be satisfied with. If you are weighing your divorce options, you should be sure to understand how the mediation process will work to determine whether it is right for you.

Benefits of Divorce Mediation

Mediation will allow you and your spouse to work together to end your marriage without the need to resolve disputes in the courtroom. The two of you will meet together with a mediator, who will be a neutral advisor rather than a legal representative for either of you. The mediator will help you understand the issues that you will need to address while guiding you toward decisions that you can both agree on.

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Oakland County divorce attorneyDivorce can be a difficult process, but it can be even more difficult when you don’t have a qualified divorce lawyer. An unqualified divorce lawyer can not only make the process more stressful for you but will cost you assets and child custody in the long run. There are many ways to be certain that you are hiring an experienced divorce lawyer.  One of the most important ways to do this is by doing your own research. Every case is different, and every lawyer is different. Below find some important tips to keep in mind when you are choosing a divorce lawyer so you can be sure that your case will be treated properly.

Important Questions to Consider

Before taking your first meeting with a divorce lawyer, it is important to be prepared. Your situation is sensitive, and you will want the best person to represent you. Here is a set of questions that should be considered by the client and attorney at the outset of any divorce:

  • What is unique to your case? 
  • What does your lawyer need to know for your case?
  • What is the process for handling a case like yours?
  • Has the lawyer handled cases like yours?
  • Does this firm practice family law?
  • How does the firm handle billing?
  • How long will your case last?
  • Which lawyer in a firm be handling your case?

Next Steps

Now that you’ve asked all your questions, it is time to move on to the next step of hiring a lawyer. Remember each time you talk to a divorce lawyer, it is an interview for them to represent you. Once you feel comfortable finding a lawyer who answered the questions to your liking, it is your next move to hire them and meet in person. Record them on your phone (with permission) or take notes so you can remember everything your lawyer tells you. As he or she guides you through the process, you want to be as prepared as possible that you don’t forget any information or assignments your divorce lawyer tells you. By understanding what is expected of you, you can minimize attorney’s fees.

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marriage and divorce, gray divorces, Oakland County divorce lawyer, divorce statistics, remarriageIs it still true that “Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage?” According to the latest U.S. Census statistics, love and marriage do not go together as much as they once did.

What Percentage of Americans Are Married?

U.S. Census data shows that the percentage of Americans over age 15 living in matrimony has declined over the past 20 years, from 56 percent in 1997 to 52 percent in 2017. Even if you only count adults age 20-64, you still get a 52 percent married rate.

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Oakland County Bar Association State Bar of Michigan Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan WCCDBA Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan
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