At Thacker Sleight, we are family law lawyers, negotiators, litigators, and problem solvers. We have a reputation of being fearless, meticulous, and thorough in our approach of life’s unexpected challenges. We never stop, it’s how we work, and why we get results.
Helping Spouses with Divorce Agreements in St. Joseph, Kent County, Ottawa County, Montcalm County, and Beyond
Divorce is commonly depicted in movies and the news as a highly contentious battle. However, many divorces do not turn out this way at all — quite a number of couples choose to divorce mutually, which can mean avoiding a heated courtroom battle and instead pursuing a collaborative process.
At Thacker Sleight, we have over 50 years of combined experience guiding clients through divorce. If you and your spouse both agree to separate and are open to discussing a compromise for your divorce issues like child support and property division, you can resolve your divorce collaboratively with our attorneys without having to step foot in a courtroom. We have a unique knowledge base to provide sound advice and craft language for a judgment or order that sets the appropriate framework for future co-parenting and other issues.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a way to reach a divorce settlement without litigation. The process allows you and your spouse to negotiate all the terms of your divorce without having to battle it out in court. You will attend a series of meetings during which you and your spouse will discuss arrangements for important issues like child custody and visitation if you have minor children, child support calculations, spousal support, property distribution, and debt allocation.
Several professionals will be involved in the collaborative process to ensure that you are supported by the necessary legal expertise. Our attorneys at Thacker Sleight will work together with you to address the emotional, financial, custody, and legal issues pertinent to your divorce while also preserving and making a plan to restore the relationship between you, your former spouse, and your children.
What Does the Collaborative Process Look Like?
Each divorcing couple has their own unique circumstances and concerns, but the collaborative process typically begins with an initial conversation to ensure that both spouses are willing to work together in the collaborative process. From there, you and your attorney will meet to discuss what you want out of your divorce.
You may want to talk about a rough plan or idea for:
- How you want the child support arrangement to look
- How you would like to divide your assets and debt
- What type of custody and visitation arrangement you want
- Whether either spouse will support the other financially during and/or after divorce
After you’ve developed a clearer idea of what you want out of your collaborative divorce, you should then sit down with your spouse and their attorney to commence the discussion in one or several meetings. Throughout the process, you will be working toward the final goal of a mutual divorce agreement.
When you and your spouse have negotiated the final terms of your divorce, your attorney will draft a settlement agreement based on your discussion, for both spouses to sign. The agreement will then be handed to a judge for final approval, and if they deem the judgment fair and reasonable to both spouses, it will become your final, legally enforceable divorce judgment.
Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
There are several reasons you may benefit from pursuing a collaborative divorce. One of the most essential benefits is that the divorce will end up being uncontested and will not have to involve the court until the final judgment is entered. This often results in saving significant time and money.
The collaborative process will also allow you and your spouse to more openly discuss your divorce concerns among yourselves, rather than work along a stringent trial agenda. The ability to communicate like this can also help foster better strategies for communication in the future, allowing you to develop useful co-parenting and negotiation methods.
At the end of the day, you and your spouse retain the decision-making power in a collaborative divorce. You do not have to default to a judge’s decision, and you will get to decide what to talk about and what the terms of your separation will look like.
Divorces are complex, often involving difficult emotional issues related to finances, property, and children. A collaborative process can help ease the tension by providing you with a more open space to negotiate the outcome of your divorce.
Nonetheless, whether you choose a collaborative divorce or another type of divorce process, it is essential to be represented by an attorney with experience. The legal team at Thacker Sleight has over 50 years of combined experience successfully representing clients seeking a collaborative divorce, and we are more than prepared to help you, too.