Grand Rapids Collaborative Divorce Attorney Facilitates Settlements
Experienced lawyer helps divorcing couples reduce stress and expense
Dissolving a marriage can be adversarial, expensive and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Collaborative divorce is an alternative to litigation that lets you reach a mutually beneficial settlement. As a Grand Rapids collaborative divorce lawyer, I support my clients’ wishes to end their marriages on amicable terms that preserve parental and other family relationships. At The Fiorletta Law Group, PLLC, I provide knowledgeable counsel to steer you clear of pitfalls and protect your rights as you negotiate a workable agreement that sets a firm foundation for your future.
How Michigan collaborative divorce works
Collaborative divorce is a form of dispute resolution that allows divorcing couples to decide the details of their divorce outside of court. Here’s how the process works:
- Each party hires a family law attorney trained in the collaborative divorce process.
- The parties and their attorneys commit to the collaborative process, promising not to take the case to trial. The attorneys agree to withdraw their representation if the process fails.
- Parties and their attorneys meet for conference sessions where they negotiate solutions to such divorce issues as alimony, child custody, child support and division of marital property.
- Experts are often consulted, such as financial advisors, child counselors and mental health professionals. Parties can agree on non-partisan experts and split the costs.
- The parties continue with negotiations until they have reached a comprehensive settlement agreement they can present to the court.
- The court approves the agreement, which becomes the basis of the divorce decree.
The benefits to the collaborative process are many:
- Less stress — The process is cooperative rather than adversarial.
- Cost savings — Many trial preparation costs are avoided. Parties voluntarily submit information, so there is no arguing over discovery. Parties can split the costs of professional consultants. In addition, attorneys’ fees are often less than for trial.
- Time savings — You are not restricted by the busy court calendar, so you can work at your own pace.
- Greater privacy — There is no public record of your conference sessions. Everything you say is confidential. That’s not true in court, where you are in a public forum and all pleadings and testimony become part of the public record.
- Foundation for co-parenting — Because you’re working together to create a parenting plan, you have greater investment than if a court issues an order. The plan is also more likely to fit your unique circumstances than a court-ordered plan would.
Unfortunately, collaborative divorce works only to the extent that the parties truly commit. Parties can withdraw at any time, but that would mean starting the whole process over with new attorneys.
Is a collaborative divorce right for me?
Collaborative divorce works for couples who agree about the need to divorce, have a healthy respect for each other, communicate honestly and are willing to focus on their future rather than dwell on past disagreements. Where there has been a history of domestic violence, alcohol or drug abuse or financial dishonesty, the collaborative process is not likely to work. As an experienced Grand Rapids divorce lawyer, I can evaluate your circumstances to see if the collaborative process is right for you, or if your case is better suited to litigation.
Contact an experienced family law attorney lawyer for a consultation on collaborative divorce
The Fiorletta Law Group, PLLC in Grand Rapids represents clients dissolving their marriage through the collaborative divorce process. Call 616-717-1334 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation. My office is conveniently located just off I-96.