Marriages dissolve into divorce for a variety of reasons, none of them pleasant. For some it is sudden – the result of an affair, an arrest, or loss of employment. For others, it results from a gradual erosion of intimacy and trust. When infidelity, unreasonable demands, personality traits and mental health, or domestic violence and addiction strain a marriage to the point of permanent separation, you need an assertive divorce lawyer who will stand up for you in court.
Divorce Doesn’t Need to Mean Litigation
Michigan’s family law system used to put every divorcing couple through the stress of litigation. The traditional divorce litigation framework is adversarial – pitting partner against partner in ways that often damage family relationships and impede your ability to interact with your former spouse as a human being and, more significantly, as a functioning co-parent. More recently, however, the Michigan legislature has approved a less hostile alternative: Collaborative Divorce.
Using the Courts to Protect Vulnerable Spouses
Not every family situation, however, is a good fit for collaborative divorce. Mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution often depend on the parties coming to the table on relatively equal footing. A basic level of fairness and respect is critical. Unfortunately, this is not always possible for some couples looking to terminate their marriage. Collaborative divorce may not be appropriate in cases involving:
- Abuse control, or domestic violence
- Substance abuse
- Severe mental health concerns and/or physical disabilities
When circumstances may prohibit the parties from negotiating safely and fairly, the more traditional family court approach can provide a layer of protection. The litigation process allows attorneys to shield their clients from risk or harm and puts the final decision in the hands of a neutral and objective judge.
Defending Your Interests When Someone Wants “Their Day In Court”
Not all matters are right for collaborative divorce and/or mediation. As an example, sometimes parties (or even attorneys) view any form of compromise as a sign of weakness or want to use the legal process to exact revenge for how they feel they have been treated.
Unfortunately, sometimes one’s emotional drive can override reason and logic. Even if you want to resolve the matter peacefully, if your spouse insists on having his or her “day in court,” you must be prepared to litigate. In these cases, you will need an experienced, confident, and balanced family lawyer who will protect your interests while minimizing the impact that rehashing old wounds can have on your well-being and security.
Does Divorce Litigation Have to Be Hostile?
Even when divorce litigation is necessary, the attorneys at the Peter J. Johnson Law Office apply the defining concepts behind collaborative practice and mediation to preserve our clients’ interests and sanity without having to engage in long, expensive, and often emotionally-taxing court proceedings. We appreciate that only 2-5% of all divorce cases actually go to trial, meaning the overwhelming majority are resolved through a negotiation process framed by respect and civility.
Our family attorneys respect the opinions and feelings of both our clients and their opposing parties in order to work proactively throughout the process to reach a comprehensive resolution. We gather information on the identity and value of marital assets through the litigation discovery process to better advise you on how to make informed decisions about your future.
We intentionally choose not to stoke the fears that separation can easily create because we’ve found taking that type of approach only serves to unnecessarily extend an uncomfortable process and can cause further harm to our clients and their families.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation with an experienced divorce attorney to discuss the best path toward fairly and efficiently resolving your divorce, while using our healthy communication approach throughout the process to minimize the emotional impact on you and your family.
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