Contested & Uncontested Divorce Lawyers Serving Redford & Southeastern Michigan
You deserve an affordable divorce attorney; one who is an expert on divorce proceedings. Divorce is a stressful time in anyone’s life; our divorce lawyers cater to your needs to alleviate that stress. Our divorce lawyers are experts in handling both uncontested divorces and contested divorces.
They have over 30 years experience in easily getting people through the divorce process.
No matter what kind of divorce you are faced with, it is essential that your lawyer advises you correctly and intelligently regarding the many facets that go into getting a divorce in Michigan: there are property settlements, child custody agreements & disputes, possible personal protection orders, 401K Funds, and child support, just to name a few.
We have been counseling divorce clients for over 30 years; our lawyers offer knowledgeable representation to not just protect your interests, but to promote them.
Call Our Divorce Attorneys to help make your divorce easy.
Uncontested Divorce Lawyers
It is considered to be Uncontested if both parties have agreed concerning custody, child support, spousal support and the property settlement. This is the fastest and least expensive kind of divorce. It is usually done for a set price and generally involves one court appearance to finalize the divorce. In Michigan, an uncontested divorce can take 6-8 months if there are minor children; 2-4 months if there are no minor children.
Contested Divorce Lawyers
A divorce is considered to be contested when the parties cannot agree on one or more issues. This generally requires an initial retainer and the work performed on your case is charged at an hourly rate. A contested divorce frequently requires more than one court appearance and can involve a number of court appearances. Your attorney works with you and your spouse’s attorney to work out a settlement for you. Contested divorces are more expensive and can take much longer than uncontested divorces.
If a settlement cannot be reached between the parties, the court may order the parties to go to mediation. The mediator listens to both sides and makes his recommendation. If the parties accept his recommendation, it is included in the judgment of divorce and the case is concluded. If the parties do not accept the mediator’s recommendation, the case goes to trial and the judge decides all of the issues the parties have been unable to agree upon.
Child Support & Custody Divorce Lawyers
The question of child support and who will get custody of the child come up early and often in divorce proceedings. Luckily for you, we handle custody, support and visitation matters over the course of the divorce. Even if they come up after divorce, or in the event that parties have children but were not married to one another. If you have any questions about child support or child custody, give us a call; we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.
Personal Protection Orders in Divorce
We also represent clients who need a Personal Protection Order. Personal Protection Orders help protect you and your family from people who want to do you harm. The reasons people get personal protection orders vary by case but the common reasons are physical abuse, stalking, or harassment. If this has happened to you, or a member of your family, do not hesitate; call our attorneys to protect your safety.
Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce
Do you have to have “grounds” for a divorce?
No. Michigan is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that you can get a divorce without claiming that one party is at fault. You only have to tell the court that “There has been a breakdown in 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.”
What is the difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce?
A contested divorce is one in which the parties cannot agree on a property settlement or other issues, such as custody, child support or alimony. Most often, both parties are represented by attorneys.
An uncontested divorce is one in which the parties have been able to agree on all of the issues and only one of the parties is being represented by an attorney.
What is the difference in cost between a contested and uncontested divorce?
A contested divorce will almost always be more expensive than an uncontested divorce. When the parties cannot agree and another attorney is involved, many hours are spent trying to come up with a settlement that both parties can live with. There are often several court appearances which also add to the expense.
In contested divorce, you will be charged an initial retainer and an hourly rate. The more time spent by the attorney on the case, the more it will cost.An uncontested divorce can usually be handled for a flat fee as opposed to an hourly rate. The amount of the fee will depend on the complexity of the case.
How long does it take to get a divorce?
There are two different waiting periods in Michigan for obtaining a divorce. If the parties do not have minor children, the waiting period is two months. If the parties do have minor children, the waiting period is six months.
This means that the very soonest you can divorce if there are no children is two months, and the very soonest with children is six months. A judge will occasionally make an exception to this rule if the parties have been able to agree on everything and both are represented by attorneys, but judges do not like to do this and do not do it on a routine basis.
Generally, if the divorce is uncontested, your court date will be within about 30 days of the end of your waiting period. Many factors can affect this however. If your judge has a crowded docket or is taking a vacation, it may take longer for him to schedule your court date.
If your case is contested, more court appearances are required and there is a lot of time spent on negotiation. Contested cases frequently take anywhere from nine months to a year.
My spouse and I have decided to get a divorce and I think we have worked out a settlement, but what happens if they changes their mind and we can’t agree on something?
If you think that you and your spouse have everything worked out, we will start your case as an uncontested divorce. In the event that problems arise along the way, or if your spouse retains an attorney to represent him in the divorce, the divorce will then be considered to be contested and we will just switch over to an hourly rate.
What if their is a prenuptial agreement involved in my divorce?
For more information about prenuptial agreements, please visit our Prenuptial Agreement Page.
What is a fair property settlement in a divorce?
It depends on your situation. At one end of the spectrum, where the parties have been married for less than a year, both are employed and there are no children, the parties will generally leave the marriage with what they brought in. In a case where the parties have just decided that they don’t want to be married to each other anymore, have been married for a relatively short time, earn comparable salaries, and there are no children, a 50/50 split of any assets accumulated during the marriage would be a common settlement. At the other end of the spectrum, where the parties have been married for a long time, one party earns substantially more than the other and there are minor children, or where one party is at fault in the divorce due to adultery or to alcohol, drug, or spousal abuse, a 50/50 split would not be equitable.
What about pension rights and other retirement benefits in a divorce case?
Pension rights and other retirement benefits are part of the property settlement. How much each party receives will depend largely on the length of the marriage
When is alimony granted, before, during, or after the divorce?
The judge takes several factors into consideration when deciding whether to grant alimony and, if so, how much to grant. These include the length of the marriage, the difference in income and earning capacity between parties, who is at fault for the breakdown of the relationship, any disability of a party, and the age, education and work experience of the person requesting alimony.
If alimony is awarded, it can be for a fixed period of time to give the party a chance to increase his or her earning ability. But it can also be permanent if the person requesting the alimony does not have much hope of being able to support herself. An example of this would be a marriage of 40 years where the husband earns a sizable income, the wife has never worked outside the home and there is very little likelihood that she will be able to obtain employment sufficient to support herself.
Does the mother always receive custody of the children after a divorce?
No. While it is true that the mother is usually awarded custody, the judge always takes the best interests of the children into account when deciding custody.
A father will have a good claim for custody if he has been the primary caregiver and the children are more bonded to him than the mother. There are many other situations as well where a father can be successful in obtaining custody.
More and more now, we are seeing joint custody arrangements where the children spend approximately half their time with each parent. Judges are willing to do this when the parties can convince him that they are able to communicate well and work together in the best interests of the children.
How is child support determined over the course of a divorce?
Child support is based on the relative incomes of the parties. The non-custodial parent will pay child support to the custodial parent based on calculations using a formula set up by the State of Michigan. The parties can agree to a different amount of support as long as it is in the best interest of the children.
In a joint custody situation, the party earning more money will pay support to the other, but it will not be as much as if only one party had custody
Will I have to go to court for my divorce?
At least one of you will have to go to court. If the divorce is uncontested, the person who filed the case attends the hearing where the divorce is granted.
If the divorce is contested, you may both have to go to court and you may have to go more than once.
What will happen during the divorce proceedings in court?
Your attorney will handle most of the court appearance. You will be sworn in and your attorney will ask you to verify that your complaint for divorce is accurate. The judge may ask you a question or two, but it is nothing to be nervous about. If your case is uncontested, you will usually receive your judgment of divorce the day you go to court.
If your case is contested, you will have more court appearances. The judge will schedule a settlement conference. You, your spouse and both attorneys will appear for that conference and will attempt to settle the case. If you are able to reach a settlement, you will appear before the judge to place the settlement on the record. If you are not able to settle, another hearing will be scheduled for a later date to give you some time to work out your differences. If you are unable to reach a settlement, the case will be scheduled for trial. The judge may also order mediation.
The vast majority of divorce cases are settled without going to trial.
What if I need a Personal Protection Order (PPO) as a result of my divorce?
This is a separate filing from your divorce. You will need detailed accounts of any threats or violence against you. You should provide your attorney with any police reports filed and the names of any witnesses.
If the judge feels that a PPO is proper in your case, it will usually be issued Ex Parte (without a hearing). It must then be served on your spouse. Your spouse will have the opportunity to object to the PPO and request a hearing, but they frequently do not do so.Once you have obtained a PPO, your spouse can be arrested for violating it. Be sure to keep a copy with you at all times so that you can show it to the police if you have to call them.
what other professionals do I need to consult for my divorce?
Divorce has many financial considerations. You should consult with a CPA to find out about tax consequences and other financial issues.
Most people find the divorce process to be very stressful for themselves and their children. If you or your children are experiencing a lot of stress, it would be a good idea to see a counselor, pastor, therapist, etc.
You may also need an appraisal of your house for property settlement purposes. It is better to have this done by a certified residential real estate appraiser as opposed to a real estate salesperson.
Finally, if you and your spouse will be dividing pension rights, you will need to see a specialist to prepare a Qualified Domestic Relations Order specifying what rights each party has in any pension either party may have.
What about visitation with my step-children after the divorce is final?
In recent years, the courts have been ruling increasingly favorably in cases involving the issue of the “equitable parent”. Step-parents likely to be successful are those who have virtually been the step-child’s “real” parent for a large portion of the child’s life and the two have developed a strong emotional bond and have feeling for each other as if they were actually parent and child. The “equitable parent” becomes the child’s parent in every way except biologically. This view indicates the courts’ increasing willingness to accept that there is more to being a parent than merely providing the biological building blocks. The “best interests of the child” can also mean maintaining the child’s psychological well-being by not allowing one party to sever the child’s ties with a person the child depends upon, as he would a parent, for love and emotional support