Answering Your Divorce FAQ

Divorce is often a time of deep uncertainty. When your life is about to change dramatically, you probably have a lot of questions about the process and what life after divorce will look like. Below are the answers to some questions I am asked frequently.

How will alimony be determined?

In Michigan, the amount of alimony to be paid or received — as well as how long it will last — depends on several factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse's ability to pay
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • Each spouse's ability to work
  • The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • Each spouse's current and future needs
  • The property division agreement

Who will get custody of the kids?

Child custody is always determined based on the best interests of the children. Unless one parent is deemed unfit to care for the children, both parents will likely continue to have access to them. Some spouses are able to work out an arrangement through negotiations, which usually results in a better custody and visitation arrangement. Those who cannot reach an agreement on their own will have to present their case in trial. A judge will then take 13 different factors into account to determine a solution that is in the best interests of the child or children involved.

What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?

It is quite common for couples to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to find viable solutions to ending their marriage, determining custody arrangements and dividing assets. People also use these services to solve everyday disputes. Mediation does not require lawyers. Both parties work together to find an agreeable resolution. In arbitration an arbitrator listens to both parties and then creates a binding solution to the dispute.

Are there any advantages to mediation?

Yes. Alternative dispute resolution modalities such as arbitration and mediation offer several advantages. Both are more cost- and time-effective than a courtroom trial. Additionally, both options are more flexible as to the time and location of the service. Because these services are more personal and feel more empowering people are apt to be more satisfied with the results and more compliant to the terms.

Will I get a better settlement if my spouse cheated?

Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you do not need a reason to get divorced other than that you want to. Because of this, the courts typically do not consider fault — including infidelity — in any aspect of divorce. Cheating may be considered when determining alimony, but it would be only one of many factors considered.

Do I need an attorney to help with my divorce?

The answer to this question is simple: No, you do not need a lawyer in order to get divorced. You can file the paperwork yourself, try to work out an agreement with your ex and hope you didn't do anything that will hurt you in the future. Or you can work with an experienced attorney who will offer the following benefits and more:

  • You will know your rights and have someone there to protect them.
  • An experienced attorney will minimize the risk of making a costly mistake and maximize the possibility of getting a fair agreement.
  • A lawyer can help you move past emotions to make important decisions with a clear mind.
  • Your attorney will be focused on doing what is best for your children.
  • If you have any complex assets, an attorney will help make sure they are fairly divided.

How long does it take to get divorced?

In Michigan, the minimum amount of time a divorce can take if you have no kids is 60 days. The state requires a 60-day waiting period, which begins when the initial complaint is filed. If you do have children, you will be required to wait no less than six months to be officially divorced. Of course, in either situation a divorce could take much longer if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on your own.

For More Information About Your Divorce, Call My Firm Today

To learn more about divorce, please schedule a free consultation at my law firm, Trost and Wolfer, PC, Attorneys at Law, in Brighton, Michigan. Call 810-522-8917 or send me an email to schedule your free consultation. I have helped hundreds of couples have a smooth, cost-effective and efficient divorce. I can help you too.