- Can I start with a legal separation?
ANSWER: While there is no quick and easy “legal separation” in the State of Michigan, one option is an Action for Separate Maintenance. This proceeding is substantially similar to a divorce, but at the conclusion of the case, the parties receive a Judgment of Separate Maintenance instead of a Judgment of Divorce. An Action for Separate Maintenance is a viable alternative to Divorce particularly in certain cases where health insurance can be maintained or where parties have a religious belief that prohibits divorce.
- How long will my divorce take?
ANSWER: Under Michigan law, the shortest amount of time a divorce can take is 60 days from the date of filing if there are no minor children involved and 180 days from the date of filing if there are minor children involved. As a practical matter unless an agreement is reached prior to filing, most cases take longer than the statutory time period to complete.
- My spouse and I agree on everything, will you represent both of us?
ANSWER: While there are many attorneys who engage in this practice, my personal preference is to represent only one party because ethics rules provide that if I undertake representation of both parties and there is a breakdown in your agreement at some point prior to the entry of the final Judgment, I must withdraw from the case and both parties are forced to seek new counsel. However, this does not necessary mean that I would exclude or not speak with him/her, I simply cannot provide legal advice to the unrepresented party.
- How much will my divorce cost?
ANSWER: Every individual case varies. The attorney fees involved will vary based upon the complexity of your case and the time expended in completing it. Fees and costs will be discussed in greater detail at the time of your initial consultation with me. There is a $150.00 filing fee paid to the court and if minor children are involved, an $80.00 Judgment Fee. As divorce cases are not subject to contingency representation, I bill clients at our hourly rates for attorneys and legal assistants.
- What am I going to get/pay?
ANSWER: In general, the Court equitably divides all assets and liabilities accumulated during the marriage. While every case is different, typically local courts divide marital assets and liabilities roughly 50/50, but there are exceptions that we can discuss in greater detail.