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Grand Rapids Uncontested Divorce Attorney

A Grand Rapids Uncontested Divorce Attorney Can Help Make Your Divorce Easier

For spouses who are willing to work together, an uncontested divorce can be the path of least resistance to ending a marriage and starting a new life. Under the right circumstances, an uncontested divorce can be an amicable and cost-effective solution. However, due to the variety of issues involved and the long-term implications of obtaining a final divorce judgment, it is still important for you to have experienced legal representation via a Grand Rapids uncontested divorce attorney.

Our divorce lawyers have been representing spouses in uncontested divorces in Grand Rapids, Michigan for more than 20 years. While uncontested divorces can be simple, they can also lead to problems and confrontations if not handled appropriately. We work closely with our clients to help them make smart decisions and navigate the process as efficiently and painlessly as possible. Our Grand Rapids uncontested divorce attorneys also help them understand when an uncontested divorce may no longer be their best option.

Experienced and Personalized Legal Representation in Uncontested Divorces

Although an uncontested divorce eliminates many court hearings, it is still a legal process with life-changing implications. To make sure you address all of the relevant issues and comply with Michigan law, it is important to have an experienced Grand Rapids uncontested divorce attorney by your side. Without an attorney, you run the risk of unnecessarily extending the time it takes to finalize your divorce, overlooking important issues and reaching a settlement that does not serve your best interests or the best interests of your children.

An uncontested divorce culminates with the execution of a Judgment of Divorce. This is a binding contract that addresses all of the issues involved in the spouses’ divorce, including:

A Judgment of Divorce can also act as a roadmap for managing interactions and disputes with your former spouse after your divorce. Judgments of Divorce are subject to court approval and our attorneys can work with you to ensure that your Judgment serves your needs while also satisfying the necessary legal requirements. We offer a number of service levels for uncontested divorces, including flat fee options, so you can choose the level of service that fits your needs and budget.

Our Grand Rapids Uncontested Divorce Attorney Explains the Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Michigan

Unlike other states, Michigan does not formally have separate legal processes for contested and uncontested divorce. Instead, the term contested divorce generally refers to situations in which divorcing spouses are not able to resolve many or all of the issues related to the split. 

Those issues include property division, alimony, and child support, visitation and custody. Although the divorcing spouses have the option of reaching agreements to be placed in the final judgment of divorce, if they are not able to do so, a judge will be left to make the final decision.

Reaching an agreement on all of these issues is not always easy. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies that can be used to try to resolve at least come of the issues instead of them up to a judge. That is not to mention alternatives to litigation, like mediation and arbitration. A Grand Rapids uncontested divorce attorney can help you explore these options.

In contested cases in which one or both sides are digging in and refusing to negotiate or unable to reach agreements during negotiations, it is vital to have a seasoned lawyer by your side. You need to start building the strongest possible case before the court ordered deadlines expire, sometimes before filing a complaint to start the legal divorce process. Michigan is a “no fault” divorce state, which means a person seeking a divorce does not have to prove that his or her spouse is to blame for the split. That said, courts look at a number of factors and hear legal arguments when deciding related issues like how to divide marital assets and who gets custody of the kids.

The contested divorce process typically involves a number of hearings designed to give the judge a full picture of the situation and provides the spouses an opportunity to make their cases. In addition, the discovery process is a crucial period in which each side is allowed to request certain financial and other information that is often critical to the case. A divorce attorney can guide you through the legal process, ensuring that your interests are advanced and your rights are protected at all times. 

It’s important to remember, that a divorce that starts out as an uncontested dissolution can quickly turn confrontational if parties can’t agree on the issues identified above. Thus, consulting with a Grand Rapids uncontested divorce attorney is always a good idea. 

So What is an Uncontested Divorce in Michigan?

Uncontested divorce in Michigan generally refers to situations in which the spouses agree on how to resolve many or all of the legal issues stemming from the divorce. A Grand Rapids uncontested divorce lawyer can help you pursue this option and avoid much of the legal wrangling and bitterness that can come with many divorce proceedings.

In uncontested cases, the parties reach a written agreement – or several agreements – which they submit to the judge and ask to be approved by the court. The judge will  hold a hearing to determine whether the spouses wilfully entered the deal.

Although an uncontested divorce removes many of the hurdles to ending a marriage, it does not mean the divorce will happen right away. Regardless of whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, there are minimum waiting periods after the filing of a complaint. Couples without children have to wait at least 60 days after filing for divorce to have it approved by a court, while those with children have to wait at least 180 days.

No-Fault Does Not Necessarily Mean Uncontested

In the divorce law realm, the term “no-fault” is used frequently, which some may take to mean the same thing as “uncontested;” however, the two terms are not synonymous and mean different things.

Traditionally, all divorce actions were based on fault, which meant that one party had to show that the other party was at fault for the break up of the marriage because he or she had committed one or more bad acts, such as adultery, cruelty, abandonment, incarceration, or impotence. Modern divorce law allows a couple to obtain a divorce without a showing of fault. Michigan is a true no-fault divorce state which means that a party can divorce regardless if fault occurred and they do not have to show fault to obtain a divorce. Under Michigan law, the plaintiff must show only that “there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.” No other explanation — including those traditionally used in fault-based divorces — will be considered.

Just because a divorce is no-fault does not mean that it is uncontested. “No-fault” merely means that the spouse who files for divorce is not required to prove that the other spouse did anything wrong. But the parties to a no-fault divorce may still disagree as to the terms of the divorce, such as division of assets, spousal support, child custody, etc. Disagreement over those terms makes the divorce “contested.” An uncontested divorce, meanwhile, is one in which the parties agree on the terms of the divorce without regard to fault or absence thereof.

How Do I Know if an Uncontested Divorce Is Right for Me?

Uncontested divorces require a great deal of cooperation and respect from both parties, as well as extensive negotiations. Thus, they are not suitable for couples who argue frequently or have an acrimonious relationship, particularly when it comes to financial issues. An uncontested divorce may be more suitable for couples who:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Agree on the reason(s) why the marriage has broken down
  • Agree as to the nature and extent of their marital and separate property
  • Share a common vision for their children
  • Are on equal financial footing or have independent sources of income
  • Have no history of domestic violence

Please contact a Grand Rapids uncontested divorce attorney to discuss your candidacy for an uncontested divorce further.

Two Types of Uncontested Divorces

Uncontested divorces in Michigan arise in one of two ways: by default and through consent. A default uncontested divorce occurs when the party against whom divorce is filed fails to answer the complaint within the allotted time period. The filing party may then petition the court to enter a default judgment and accept his or her proposed divorce terms. An uncontested divorce through consent occurs when the parties to the divorce reach an agreement as to the terms of the divorce through negotiations of their own.

Questions? Schedule an Appointment with a Grand Rapids Uncontested Divorce Attorney to Discuss Your Case

If you are thinking about ending your marriage and would like more information about the uncontested divorce process, we encourage you to contact Kraayeveld Law Offices. The Grand Rapids divorce lawyers at Kraayeveld Law have been assisting clients in divorce and related matters for more than a quarter of a century. We help people efficiently untangle their marriages, using resolving issues on their own terms whenever possible.To schedule a confidential appointment with a Grand Rapids uncontested divorce attorney, please call (616) 285-0808 or inquire online today.