Michigan’s annual divorce rate is 2.8 per 1,000 residents, which is slightly lower than the national average of 3.2 per 1,000 people. While these numbers seem small, they still add up to more than 28,000 divorces annually in the Great Lakes State.
In Detroit, divorce is a big business. Your lawyer has a significant impact on the outcome of your case, especially if children are involved. Following the right steps will help you find an attorney you feel comfortable working with and who has the expertise you need.
When creating a list of potential attorneys for your case, look at client testimonials and reviews to see if former clients were happy with the firm’s service. Be sure to verify an attorney’s credentials and standing with the State Bar of Michigan.
While narrowing your list of attorneys, it’s helpful to keep in mind the type of divorce process you expect.
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, meaning a divorce is granted without requiring a cause or placing blame on either party. The spouse filing for divorce only has to claim there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage.
Once a spouse has filed for divorce, the process depends on whether there are disputed issues, whether the couple have children and whether the divorcing parties wish to work amicably toward a resolving contested matters.
|Divorce type||Spousal situation|
|Uncontested||Both parties agree to alimony payments, division of assets, etc.|
|Mediated||A neutral third party works with spouses and attorneys toward a mutually agreeable division of assets|
|Collaborative||Similar to mediated, but each party makes their own decisions regarding desires for asset division|
|Contested with minors||Spouses who cannot agree of a division of assets and/or child custody|
|Contested without minors||Spouses without minors who cannot agree on division of assets|
The attorney you hire should have experience with divorces similar to yours. If you’re attempting to reduce costs by going through a collaborative divorce or mediation, find a lawyer experienced with those processes. If children are involved, it’s essential to hire a family law attorney experienced in child custody issues. A family law attorney protects the interests of your children through a time that can be tense or frightening.
When it comes to getting a divorce, you don’t want just anyone fighting in your corner. The attorney’s area of expertise, cost, experience and track record are all vital considerations. It’s also crucial to hire an attorney who is accessible and responsive. One of the best qualities a lawyer can have is the ability to quickly respond to emails, calls and requests for meetings.
Since divorce can be personal and occasionally ugly, it’s paramount to be comfortable discussing anything and everything with your attorney. Their style of communication and how compatible it is with yours is a key consideration.
Many attorneys in Detroit offer free consultations, which are an excellent opportunity to see if a lawyer is the right fit for your case. It’s a good idea to schedule meetings with several different firms to know your options.
Prepare a list of questions for your first meeting. Remember, however, consultations are usually not for receiving specific legal advice, so keep your questions general and to the point.
Keep your circumstances in mind, stay focused on the end goal and watch out for red flags, including lawyers who pressure you into making a compromise you don’t like, don’t listen when you speak or seem to be unnecessarily prolonging the divorce process.
Divorce is expensive. The average cost to get a divorce in Michigan is $12,900. While lower than the national average of $15,000, it’s still a steep price. The more assets you have, the more expensive it gets. Other factors also increase the expense — if you have children, the price tag for divorce in Detroit climbs to $19,400.
Most attorneys charge an hourly rate, meaning complex or contentious cases that take longer to resolve also cost more. The average cost for an attorney in Detroit is $250 an hour, though experienced or well-known firms may charge $600 an hour or more. After you hire an attorney, they may ask for a retainer, which is an upfront payment from which the attorney draws fees and expenses as your case proceeds.
Don’t let the cost deter you if a divorce is the best outcome for you and your family. Uncontested divorces between spouses without children can be relatively inexpensive if you don’t hire attorneys or only hire one to look over documents before filing them with the court.
The Marchese Law Firm
The Marchese Law Firm serves residents in Macomb and Oakland counties and advocates for clients in spousal support, child custody, child support and property/asset division cases. The firm offers free consultations. Detroit residents say the lawyers at this firm provide attentive care and expertise and work tirelessly on behalf of all of their clients.
Howard & Gupta Law
For more than 28 years Howard & Gupta Law, has been representing clients in the Detroit area in divorce and family law. The firm’s attorneys pride themselves on giving clients personal attention not always available at larger firms. Detroit clients say Ajay Gupta and Gary Howard offer great legal expertise and are efficient in handling all cases.
Stelmock Law Firm, PC
Located in Canton, Stelmock Law Firm provides expertise and excellence in divorce, family law, mediation and child custody coordination services. The firm received top awards in client satisfaction from the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys in 2016 and 2017. Reviews praise the service, care and expertise provided by this Detroit metro law firm.