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.

We have previously explored the pros of Collaborative Divorce, and continue to help Grand Rapids families through the process. If, however, you are just on the brink of a divorce, we know that hearing the positives may not be enough – you still have questions! Here are some of the more commonly asked questions regarding Collaborative Divorce.

How is a Collaborative Divorce different from mediation?
The processes are similar and focused on both parties cooperating to reach solutions. A mediator, unlike a Collaborative Divorce attorney, is not able to give legal advice during mediation. They can guide the discussion, using interest-based negotiation skills, but the individual parties should seek advice with their own attorneys after the session. In a Collaborative Divorce, both parties are able to hear advice and legal opinions from the attorneys that are representing both spouses, potentially making it easier to reach decisions.

Who sits in on our sessions?
The Collaborative Divorce process allows for outside experts and specialists to consult as needed. We work with professionals from many fields in Grand Rapids including mental health and finance. Each session almost always includes a mental health professional, acting as a divorce coach. We bring in other professionals based on each specific case.

How long does it take?
Every case is different, but in general, the process is much more efficient than litigating a divorce. Depending on the complexities of your situation as well as how well both parties cooperate and collaborate. A Collaborative Divorce can be completed in just a handful of sessions.

Could my case still end up in court?
Yes, it is possible. Either party in a Collaborative Divorce may decide to end the process and seek relief in court. Your attorneys are bound by a pledge to not go to court and must withdraw from the case if the process fails.

Is Collaborative Divorce more expensive?
This is another question that will vary case by case. The final cost will depend on how long it takes to reach an agreement. Litigating a divorce in Grand Rapids is typically the most expensive way to resolve divorce, especially if the case ends in a full trial. In general, couples who use the Collaborative Divorce process are less likely to need post-judgment assistance. They have reached agreements, which often means fewer disputes in the future.

How do I get started?
The first thing you will want to do is contact our team of experienced Collaborative Divorce attorneys. We can help gain a basic understanding of your case and answer more questions during an initial consultation. From there, we can move forward helping you find the best way to handle your divorce. We look forward to hearing from you!