A Grand Rapids Contested Divorce Lawyer Will Help You Come to a Resolution
The collaborative, uncontested approach isn’t possible in all divorce cases. Whether it’s because complicated assets are difficult to untangle, the spouses can’t agree on custody of the children, or the circumstances of the separation frayed the ability to come to an agreement, contested divorces are often processed through the courts similar to other types of litigation. There are, however, still some other options for resolving some or all of the issues without a long, stressful court battle. It’s vital to have a seasoned family lawyer by your side in a contested divorce case. An experienced Grand Rapids divorce lawyer will help build the most powerful case possible by gathering the necessary evidence and presenting it to the court, examining witnesses when necessary and making legal arguments before the judge. The attorney will also guide you through the litigation process, keeping you apprised of your rights and options every step of the way.
At Kraayeveld Law, our skilled Grand Rapids divorce lawyers have significant experience representing clients in contested litigation. We also have had meaningful success in alternatives to traditional litigation, like mediation and settlement negotiations.
A Brief Discussion of the Contested Divorce Process in Michigan
Like an uncontested divorce, the contested divorce process starts when one spouse files a complaint for divorce asking the court to grant the divorce.
It’s important to understand that Michigan is a “no fault” divorce state. That means that you don’t have to prove that your spouse is to blame for the breakup, even in a contested divorce. Instead, you simply need to tell the court that the marital relationship has broken down and there’s no reasonable likelihood that it can be repaired.
After the other spouse responds to the divorce complaint, the parties receive an opportunity to ask each other information about the finances and other information during the “discovery” process. The idea is to uncover all of the income as well as marital and separate property and understand each spouse’s financial situation. That allows the court to determine how property should be divided and whether one spouse should be awarded alimony. The discovery process can also be essential to building a case for child custody, visitation rights and support.
The process, potentially after some initial hearings, eventually moves to a trial. That’s when each side gets to present evidence and make legal arguments before the judge. The good news is that many times, divorcing spouses can resolve at least some of the issues on their own or with the help of a mediator.
Mediation as a Solution for Contested Divorces
Mediation is another option for resolving a divorce case without going through a full-blown trial.
In mediation, the divorcing spouses choose a third-party to hear both sides of the case and mediate with the spouses to reach a solution. They usually file written briefs on their positions on the various issues and then go before the mediator in an effort to resolve some or all of those issues without having to go through a court trial.
There are a number of benefits to the mediation option. It allows spouses to work together to resolve the issues with the help of an experienced mediator and their legal representatives. It also avoids the cost, time and stress that often comes with a court battle.
Don’t Feel Like You’re in This Alone. Call a Grand Rapids Divorce Lawyer from Our Firm Today!
At Kraayeveld Law, our Grand Rapids divorce lawyers help people efficiently untangle their marriages. We take the time to understand each individual client’s unique needs and craft a legal strategy that best suits their situation. If you’re facing a contested divorce, we want to help you. Call 616-285-0808 today and learn how we will help with your divorce at a flat fee.