Divorce is not only a complicated and emotional process—it is also an expensive one. Fortunately, Michigan law allows couples who are splitting amicably to resolve any issues in their divorce through mediation and collaborative divorce, which can be helpful in saving time and money for both parties.
Family law attorneys at Fieger Law are ready to assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome from your divorce process. In this blog post, we’ll explain some of the specific benefits of mediation and collaborative divorce, which can be an attractive option to many Michigan couples who are splitting amicably.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
The State of Michigan recently reported that more than 22,000 Michigan couples got divorced in 2021 alone. Many couples decide to divorce after issues arise in their marriages, such as infidelity, child disputes, or financial problems. But in other cases, some couples may decide to divorce simply because they don’t want to be married anymore, and not because anything specifically negative occurred. In those cases, when couples seek an amicable separation from each other, collaborative divorce may be useful and effective.
Michigan law allows couples to seek a collaborative divorce in lieu of a court proceeding. In these cases, the couple and their Michigan family law attorneys agree in writing to resolve the divorce, either on their own or with the assistance of a mediator. Arbitration, used frequently in other contexts, is a similar process. While there may be many reasons to seek a collaborative divorce, the biggest reason is that it allows couples to avoid going to court.
Avoiding Court Appearances in a Collaborative Divorce
Most divorces require a couple to appear before a judge and receive a court order either approving the terms of their divorce or setting the terms of their divorce if the couple cannot agree on them. These processes can not only be time-consuming, but also embarrassing and expensive. In short, there are many reasons why a couple may want to avoid court appearances, and a collaborative divorce allows a couple to do so with the assistance of a family law attorney in Michigan.
Mediation Versus Court Hearings
A court hearing occurs in a court before a judge. It is a public and official process that must follow legal rules and procedures. Mediation, on the other hand, is an informal and private process that allows the participants to set the terms of engagement. A mediator serves as the “judge” in a mediation, and an agreed-upon resolution from a mediation has the same legal effect as a court order.
Additionally, mediation can occur at whatever pace the parties desire for it to take. For example, an entire divorce may be resolved in one mediation session or in multiple sessions. The main differences between mediation and court hearings include:
- Mediation occurs in a conference room, not in a courtroom.
- Court hearings are set by the court, and mediation schedules can accommodate the parties’ availability.
- A mediator will preside over the mediation settings.
- Rules of engagement are agreed upon for mediation, which can include off-limits topics and preferences on the structure the discussions follow.
- Mediations are private hearings with no public records created.
- Deadlines are set by the parties in mediation, not the court.
- Mediations allow for faster resolutions without waiting for court approval.
Privacy Concerns in Court Hearings
Privacy is perhaps the greatest advantage of a collaborative divorce. When a divorce occurs in court, public records are maintained which may include embarrassing or personal details about your family life. In contrast, mediation is a private proceeding that does not require public records to be held.
The details of the divorce are instead retained only by your attorneys and are protected under attorney-client privilege. In short, when working through a collaborative divorce with representation from a Fieger Law Michigan family law attorney, people seeking a divorce can be assured that their privacy and dignity are both fully protected.
Contact Fieger Law’s Michigan Family Law Attorneys
Our top priority in family law cases is ensuring that our clients’ best interests are protected. In a divorce case, our clients’ best interests often include the best interests of their families, too, including children, pets, and their belongings.
We have the experience and legal knowledge to seek out the best possible outcome in a divorce. In a collaborative divorce, our attorneys can assist you in obtaining a fair and equitable resolution.
To get more information about our family law practice and to learn more about the collaborative divorce process in Michigan, get in touch with our office. To set up a free consultation on your prospective case, contact us today.