The Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho Family Law Group works closely with individual clients who are going through a difficult period in their lives.
Making the decision to pursue divorce is one of the most difficult and emotional decisions you will ever make, particularly if you have children. Divorce also involves financial matters that must be resolved and legal issues that must be addressed. Our family law attorneys can help you understand the basic issues involved in divorce and to use a rational and if needed, aggressive, approach to the divorce process.
The Collaborative Divorce
Carla Testani, a family law attorney in our Livonia office, has spent her legal career guiding her clients through the breakup of their families and noticed a common sentiment: the courthouse is not the ideal place to solve issues surrounding divorce and minor children. Family Court is no different than any other court in that the process is adversarial in nature and focuses on winning arguments rather than resolving issues. For that reason, domestic litigation is inefficient and unnecessarily expensive. Often, both parties are left feeling disappointed and disconnected from the decision imposed by the judge, which may not be either party’s idea of what will work for their family.
Collaborative Practice is a fairly new process designed to address the need for an effective way to resolve family disputes while preserving the parties’ relationships with one another as much as possible. In the Collaborative Divorce, a team is developed to help the family through the emotional, legal and financial aspects of a divorce. The clients and their respective collaboratively-trained attorneys sign an agreement to reach a settlement before turning to the court to grant the divorce. Depending upon the case, a team may also include coaches, financial professionals, child specialists or a mediator.
Although not appropriate for every divorce, the Collaborative approach has many advantages to traditional litigation. Through a series of team meetings, the parties become invested in reaching a resolution to their case that puts their children’s needs in the center of their decisions. Often, parties have to find a new way to communicate post-marriage and develop skills to help them effectively co-parent in the future. In the Collaborative approach, the parties control the timing and goals of the process so they experience less stress and are therefore able to make well-reasoned decisions. Finally, the overall costs are reduced because discovery of information is more efficient, less time is lost at work and, since both parties are invested in the outcome, they are less likely to habitually return to court in the months and years following the divorce.
Federal legislation and uniform state laws exist to make enforcement and collection of child support easier for single parents. Because every state uses its own guidelines for establishing child support and each has various methods to set support amounts and recover support when it is overdue, it is important to consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with the child support guidelines and child support enforcement laws in your state. CMDA can help you clarify and litigate your personal situation or the process of establishing paternity.
Custody and Visitation
In divorce, you need an experienced legal counselor to help you know the array of child custody and visitation options available and the legal standards that apply. In many cases, divorcing couples can ultimately agree on custody and visitation issues without the need for a court order. When an agreement cannot be reached, knowledgeable advice and representation from a CMDA family law attorney can often make the difference.
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