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More than just Divorce

Many West Michigan divorce attorneys advertise other areas of practice as well, including arbitration and mediation. Many people, however, do not understand the difference between these alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods and how they can be used during a divorce or family law matter.

At Johnsen Wikander, we provide more services than just traditional divorce litigation, and each option could help you achieve a better, less stressful outcome that does not involve the court system and potential related costs. These options also provide private, and sometimes faster, results.

Mediation

Mediation is the practice of working with a neutral party to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution to a dispute. The parties meet with the mediator and discuss their issues. The mediator attempts to bring each person to common ground in order to resolve an issue, often minimizing cost and keeping disputes outside of court.

The mediator will meet with each side of a dispute to negotiate their case and reach a settlement or compromise. This can be used to settle spousal support and child custody issues while keeping both parties out of court. Mediation depends on both side’s willingness to achieve an agreement and may not work for everyone.

Arbitration

Like mediation, arbitration involves a neutral third party who makes decisions regarding disputes outside of court. Unlike mediation, an arbitrator hears each side state their position and makes the final decision. Although the arbitrator is a decision-maker, they are making their decision outside of court, in the less formal setting of a conference room or law office.

Albeit more adversarial than mediation, arbitration can still keep a case out of court and reduce costs.

Many cases can be resolved without appearing in court or dragging an issue out for months to reach a settlement. By using an alternative form of dispute resolution, a more acceptable, less expensive, and more private outcome can be achieved. Although this may not be a viable option for all cases, it is always worth discussing.

Please contact Johnsen Wikander today and let us help you understand these alternative methods of dispute resolution. Our experienced team of attorneys can help you reach a cost-effective solution to your most difficult issues.

 

Oddities in Divorce- a 2017 Recap

Divorce attorneys know that cases are as unique and varied as the individuals and families we serve. The opportunity to help people resolve their divorce, no matter the circumstance, makes every day a new challenge for our team.

Even with the knowledge that we should expect the unexpected, we still come across stories about divorce that grab our attention. Often times they are stories with a positive twist, and others feature headlines that seems too strange to be true. Here is a quick recap of some of those offbeat stories we have seen so far this year!

Unanswered Texts

A Taiwanese woman was granted a divorce over unanswered text messages. Over the course of six months, her husband rarely responded to her messages even though the phone showed he had read them. It took the woman being hospitalized after a car accident for him to send a message. The judge, however, found that the message “was about matters related to their dog and notified her there was mail for her, but he didn’t show any concern for her.” The court sided with the woman, citing the marriage was beyond repair.

Nearly One Million in Damages

This story started in 2014, when a Japanese woman admitted to breaking and entering her ex-husband’s home following their separation. It was not until this year, however, that the extent of her damage was discovered. Her ex-husband, a violin maker, had an extensive and expensive violin collection. She is suspected of destroying 54 violins and 70 bows while he was away on a business trip. The total damage according to police was $950,700.

Divorce Hotel Opens

The process is never easy, but a new Divorce Hotel in the UK hopes that a weekend away can help. Couples looking to divorce in a positive way can book a weekend at the hotel. They will stay in separate rooms but spend the weekend working with mediators and lawyers to finalize the terms of their divorce. Paperwork is typically filed before they leave, with the courts finalizing the process in the following weeks.

Though we do not have a hotel, we do know how beneficial mediation and Collaborative Divorce can be, and we have been helping Grand Rapids families through the process for years. If you want to learn more about how it can help you, contact our team of attorneys today!

Mediation in Unique Circumstances

On April 25 and 26 of this year, I took 16 hours of advanced mediation training regarding adult guardianship/elder care issues. It was a fascinating training. It was designed to help families where the parent or parents are having difficulties. It may be simply difficulties associated with old age all the way to situations where parents were virtually totally incapacitated with Alzheimer’s or other end-of-life diseases. Read more