A Gentler Process, A Better Answer | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

Collaborative Divorce: A Gentler Process, A Better Answer

In 2014, Michigan became the tenth state to adopt laws that provide couples with a better, gentler path forward when facing divorce. Collaborative Law promotes voluntary negotiation and settlement over traditional litigation and can help divorcing couples to achieve a more private, dignified outcome.

Collaborative Divorce focuses on interest-based negotiation, cooperation, and mutually beneficial solutions instead of courtroom battles over assets and custody. Instead of approaching the case as a fight to be won, both parties agree to retain collaboratively-trained lawyers, financial neutrals, and mental health professionals in order to work toward a mutually beneficial outcome for their entire family.

Collaborative Divorce also makes children a top priority, aiming to preserve a workable relationship between divorcing parents. By creating a more cooperative atmosphere throughout divorce proceedings, the process can create a more suitable foundation for co-parenting while removing animosity, stress, and tension between parents.

Collaborative Divorce does not work in every case. At the start, both parties sign a contract agreeing to participate in a fair, honest, and cooperative process until the mutually acceptable outcome is reached. If the process fails at any point, or if either party refuses to cooperate or withdraws from the agreement, the Collaborative Process stops and both parties must resort to the traditional divorce process instead. The collaboratively-trained professionals must withdraw and cannot be involved in the litigation process.

Couples participating in a Collaborative Divorce can reach settlements while maintaining a healthy, workable relationship that puts their children’s needs first. By communicating throughout the process, couples no longer see each other as adversaries, rather as participants in a joint venture that is no longer viable. There is no need to fight, only the need to complete the Collaborative Divorce process amicably and peacefully.

It is important to understand which divorce option is best for you and your situation. In West Michigan, please ask the specially-trained Collaborative Law professionals at Johnsen Wikander if the Collaborative Divorce process can work for you. If you have questions, please contact our attorneys and let us help you through this difficult time.

Collaborative Divorce Revisited | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

Collaborative Divorce Revisited

The news of Donald Trump Jr. and his wife Vanessa’s impending divorce seems to be everywhere you look these days. Updates are available almost daily while the world awaits the outcome for the President’s oldest son and his wife of 12 years.

No matter what the reason is for the couple’s split, one thing seems certain–they appear to be working together on one important task – co-parenting. Although divorce seems imminent, they have been seen together during several recent breaks and vacations amicably spending time with their 5 children.

Parents who are moving toward divorce have options available which provide a layer of protection for their children during the divorce process, and after proceedings are complete, that did not exist in years past. Collaborative Divorce provides couples with a softer, simpler route to the dissolution of their marriage, helping their marriage to end without fireworks or fighting.

Collaborative practice is an approach to divorce which allows both parties to work together to achieve common, and individual, goals instead of facing each other as adversaries. By engaging in the Collaborative practice, the couple agrees to work with a team of professionals to reach a mutually agreeable settlement without the involvement of the court.

Collaborative Law teams include legal, financial, and mental health professionals specially trained in Collaborative Practice. Both parties agree to full disclosure of all important information and then work together along with the trained team to create a fair settlement.

Collaborative practice can often settle divorce cases more quickly than traditional routes, allowing both parties to move on to more settled lives, creating peaceful, stable environments for their children. When both spouses have worked together to create a mutually acceptable settlement, co-parenting also becomes easier and less impactful on their children.

Collaborative Divorce may not be an option in every case; however, the practice can provide an easier path forward, allowing parents to maintain a working relationship once their marriage has ended. When children are present, their well-being becomes the highest priority, and issues such as custody and support are often agreed upon without stress or resentment.

If you are facing divorce, you may be unaware of the current options available to you and your spouse. Please consult with an experienced attorney to discuss Collaborative Practice and any other options that could bring peace to your family easier than traditional divorce proceedings.

For more information on Collaborative Practice, please contact the experienced West Michigan attorneys at Johnsen Wikander and let us help you through your most difficult time.

Divorce Doesn’t Have to be Destructive | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

Divorce Doesn’t Have to be Destructive

The Cambridge Dictionary website defines Collaboration as – The situation of two or more people working together to create or achieve the same thing.

The Business Dictionary website gives a similar description – Cooperative arrangement in which two or more parties (which may or may not have any previous relationship) work jointly towards a common goal.

No matter which way you definite it, the word Collaboration ends with the same simple but powerful message. People working together to achieve a common goal.

Divorce doesn’t have to be a battle, pitting West Michigan spouse against spouse with their children stuck in the center of the fight. There doesn’t have to be a winner or loser, and assets don’t need to be treated like the spoils of war.

There is another way.

Collaborative Divorce is becoming much more common today, providing a way that couples can bring their marriage to a close without the stress, expense, and potentially combative environment that is common with traditional divorce cases.

Instead of hiring divorce attorneys to litigate their case, Collaborative Divorce provides family law attorneys a path forward which keeps the case out of the courts. The result is a more respectful and private outcome that can even preserve family relationships and ensure both parties can effectively co-parent their children once the process is complete.

Instead of placing decisions in the hands of judges and court systems, Collaborative Divorce gives couples the option of working with a team of professionals trained in Collaborative Practice. Spouses who have decided to divorce, using the Collaborative process, work with financial specialists, mental health professionals and family law attorneys to work toward their common goals. This process also makes their children’s security a top priority.

The experienced team at Johnsen Wikander are trained in Collaborative Divorce and welcome the opportunity to handle your divorce case with mutual respect and consideration. Please contact us today to discuss the options available to you during this difficult time– options which focus on the family and the future such as Collaborative Divorce.

Collaborative Divorce FAQs | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

Collaborative Divorce FAQs

If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, there are likely countless questions pouring through your mind. Through our careers in family law, we have helped people from all walks of life find answers to some of those questions. Our attorneys are trained as Collaborative Divorce attorneys, and we have experienced how beneficial the process can be for people.
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Family Photos Remain Important for Divorced Couple | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

Family Photos Remain Important for Divorced Couple

Part of our philosophy as divorce attorneys is to work compassionately with couples who are willing to work with each other. This looks differently for every case we handle, as every relationship is unique, and certainly does not always change or lessen the emotional wear and tear caused by a divorce.

One Alaskan woman has recently gotten a lot of attention for a non-traditional decision she made with her now ex-spouse following their divorce. Victoria and her former husband, Adam, have a son and continue to take photos together even though they have split. Read more

The Pros of Collaborative Divorce | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

The Pros of Collaborative Divorce

Going through a divorce does not always have to be a messy process. Many people have a friend or family member they know that went through a long, exhaustive divorce that drained resources and left all parties with a bitter sense of resentment. While some cases require litigation, working through a Collaborative divorce can be a great option. Read more

Divorcing parents don’t always have to sort through their issues in court

When divorcing spouses do not see eye-to-eye, children involved often get caught in the cross-hairs. While husband and wife may be at odds over a variety of topics, dealing with child custody and parenting plans often become the primary battles. Read more

Uniform Collaborative Law Act

On May 1st I went to Lansing to testify on behalf of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act (“UCLA”). I testified in my role as President of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan (“CPIM”). The UCLA has been passed in seven states and the District of Columbia. It is currently pending in eight states, including Michigan. Read more

Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan

Last month I went to Lansing as President of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan which is the statewide organization for Collaborative professionals. I was there to testify in support of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act. Three of us attended the State Senate Judiciary Committee meeting prepared to testify but our lobbyists informed us that we had all the votes we needed to pass the Judiciary Committee of the Senate. Read more

Child Support Options in the Collaborative Process

Whenever there are minor children one issue that must be addressed, whether a case is collaborative or not, is child-support. Obviously it costs money to raise children.

In the litigation realm generally the information requested by the Michigan Child Support Foundation (i.e. incomes, tax status, overnights, medical insurance for children, and childcare) is put into the state approved software and a for child support number is generated. This number reduces as each child reaches age eighteen or graduates from high school, whichever is later. Also there is a formula for paying children’s medical expenses. Read more