the smart law group
Divorce is a new start
Filing for divorce is the first step to creating the life that you want for your future.
Divorce is not something that happens in one day. But it IS something that change your life for the better. You just have to take the first step.
It took time to get to where you are now, it will take time to take the necessary steps to create your new future. Starting a divorce is easy, but properly separating and equitably dividing property and determining things like custody, parenting time and support can be challenging.
But knowing what your rights will be after divorce is vitally important. Even a “friendly” divorce involves a wide range of legal concerns that must be properly stated and written into a final agreement called a Judgment of Divorce, which must be signed by a Judge.
Your divorce is different than any other. Hopefully, this is the only divorce you will ever experience. No matter what, every divorce-case requires smart decisions to be made in your best interest to protect you and your future. This is why we do what we do at The Smart Law Group.
What Does a Divorce Attorney DO?
A good divorce attorney is someone who protects YOU during the process of divorce. Our sole focus is to fight for your best interests whether it’s a “contested” divorce or a “friendly” divorce.
Your Smart Law Group attorney will handle all aspects of your divorce case, from initial consultation through trial, if necessary. Your Smart Law Group attorney will work to get you the best resolution and settlement possible through negotiations or mediation.
When necessary, your Smart Law Group divorce attorney will take your case to trial to go after the results you need.
What Happens During a Divorce?
Whether you’re filing for divorce in Farmington Hills, Livonia or anywhere in Wayne County and beyond, the process is the same. And it’s important to know what the steps are:
Steps to Divorcing Your Spouse
Step 1: All divorce cases start with the filing of a Complaint for Divorce.
The Complaint for Divorce is “served” on the other spouse who typically files a response to the Complaint.
After the case is filed with the Court, the Complaint for Divorce is “served” on the other spouse who typically files an answer to the Complaint.
Some divorce cases require Orders from the Court at the beginning of a new case to make sure that:
This first step ensures that the basic issues are addressed to attempt to maintain some stability during the divorce process. Any Order at the beginning of a case stays in effect while the case is ongoing, but is subject to change with an agreement or a later Order of the Court.
Step 2: Information Exchange
After the case is started, information is exchanged between the spouses through their attorneys.
This information gathering and exchange will include disclosure of all of the financial information for both parties including:
Step 3: Settlement Negotiations
The vast majority of divorces are settled through negotiations, or with the help of mediation, which is a
form of negotiation.
In many “friendly” divorces this is a relatively straight-forward process where one party presents a
settlement proposal to the other party, which often leads to further discussion to settle a case.
Sometimes there are child related issues that cannot be agreed upon and the Friend of the Court
investigates certain issues and makes recommendations to resolve those issues. In some cases,
evaluations outside of the Court system are obtained to assist reaching an agreement on child related
Also, sometimes motions are filed with the Court to resolve issues that cannot be agreed upon while case is
pending, even though the parties are still trying to settle the case. Motions are requests made to the
Court that some action be taken before trial.
In almost every case, there will be a pre-trial hearing with the Judge. That may also be called a status
conference, settlement conference, or final conference.
If the case is not settled by that hearing date, the Judge will schedule various dates and deadlines for each side to accomplish certain tasks in an effort to get the case settled, along with a final trial date. If no settlement can be reached, most Courts will require everyone to go to mediation, with a neutral mediator, with the goal of reaching a settlement.
If an agreement cannot be reached, either between the parties or with mediation, a trial will take place and a Judge will decide all the issues that cannot be agreed upon by the spouses. The vast majority of cases are settled, but a lot can happen between the start of a divorce case and a settlement, or a trial.
Do Divorces go to Trial?
Very few cases actually go all the way to a trial. In most cases, there is a lot of information exchanged and everyone understands the range of possibilities and all of the pros and cons of their case.
Actually going to trial is time consuming, mentally draining, expensive, and there is no guaranty of what a Judge with do at trial.
And while neither party typically WANT to do battle in court, there’s another reason why cases never make it to a courtroom…
Most divorce lawyers have never been to trial.
Many attorneys know how to file paperwork with the Court, but are not familiar with how to present a case to a Judge or handle qualified opposing counsel.
It’s not just a foreign experience to some attorneys, it is something they are afraid to do – because it’s unfamiliar territory.
The Smart Law Group doesn’t have that problem. Garry Greenberg, lead attorney and practice owner, has years of experience in the courtroom – and while he doesn’t seek it, he’s certainly ready, willing and able to represent YOU in court!
How Long will it Take?
By law, no divorce may be granted in less than sixty (60) days.
If there are any minor children, Michigan law requires a six-month waiting period, but some Judges will waive that requirement if there is a settlement and the Judge agrees that it is in the best interest of the child(ren) to waive that requirement.
What Does a No-Fault Divorce Mean?
Michigan is a “no-fault” divorce state, but that does not mean “fault” does not matter.
A married person in Michigan can get divorced without any reason, i.e. no-fault. But in some instances, “fault” can be a factor in dividing property and setting spousal support.
“Fault” might also be a consideration with regard to Child Custody and Parenting Time (sometimes called “Visitation Rights”).
It is worth repeating that every case is different. This is the only divorce case that you have and it requires smart decisions made in your best interest, for now and in the future. The Smart Law Group is here to help you make those smart decisions.
What to do Next
The Smart Law Group will be with you during every step of your divorce and you will always know what is going on in your case so you can make smart decisions for your future.