While a sensitive topic and painful life event, divorce is not uncommon in Michigan. It’s important to remember you have rights and are entitled to appropriate representation. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best divorce lawyers in Lansing to find an advocate who makes the process easier.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there were 1,379 divorces in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties in 2017. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states Michigan had a divorce rate of 2.8 out of every thousand residents in 2017, compared to a national average of 3.2 per every thousand residents in 44 reporting states.
While rates are dropping, divorce is common enough that many law firms specialize in the process. Because of the long-lasting effects of a divorce settlement, it’s crucial you choose the correct one for your case.
Types of divorce in Lansing
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, meaning a divorce is granted without requiring a cause or placing blame on either party. Once a spouse files for divorce in Lansing, it is either contested or uncontested.
In uncontested divorces, the couple agree to all divorce terms related to property division, child custody and alimony payments.
In contested divorces, the couple do not agree on the divorce terms and must find a method to resolve the disputed terms.
Depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, different methods can be used to finalize the divorce terms. If the divorce is amicable and the divorcing spouses can use a method such as mediation, the process is usually less expensive and more streamlined.
Common types of divorces in Lansing
Type of divorce
Summary dissolutions are an expedited process for uncontested divorces, typically reserved for short marriages.
Default divorces occur when one party fails to appear in court or cooperate with the court.
This is a type of contested divorce where the parties hire attorneys and enter a formal agreement to negotiate in good faith. If the couple cannot compromise on divorce terms, they must hire new representation before proceeding to another method of resolution.
In mediation, a neutral third party works with the parties to promote open communication and propose compromises on disputed terms. Either party may reject terms suggested by a mediator.
Like mediation, arbitration uses a neutral third party to resolve disputes. An arbitrator, however, listens to both parties and then enters a binding decision that cannot be rejected by the parties.
In litigation, the attorneys for both sides argue the case in front of a judge, who makes binding decisions on the divorce terms. This is the most expensive, time-consuming type of divorce.
The cost of divorce lawyers in Lansing
Divorce lawyers in Lansing charge an average of $250 an hour, but that rate may be higher or lower based on the lawyer’s credentials, experience and reputation. The average cost for a divorce in Lansing is close to $13,000, with around $10,000 of that cost coming from attorneys’ fees.
Divorce costs rise depending on contested issues. Divorces with disputed custody of a minor cost more, as do divorces with high-value assets that must be divided.
It is possible to find divorce attorneys in Lansing who are not very well-known but are exceptionally experienced — finding an attorney in this situation is likely the best value. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations, which gives you an opportunity to discuss the lawyer’s fees as well as see if they are a fit for your case.
Choosing a divorce lawyer in Lansing
It’s vital to choose a lawyer with expertise with the issues in your divorce and who is personally compatible with you. Begin by creating a list of potential attorneys from client reviews or referrals from friends, family members or other professional acquaintances, including accountants or attorneys who practice in other areas of law.
Once you’ve created a short list of potential attorneys in Lansing, schedule consultations with each one. It’s best to meet with a few attorneys to make sure you find the correct one for your divorce. When you meet with an attorney, a few things to keep in mind are:
Areas of specialization: Besides making sure the attorney has experience with specific issues such as child custody, alimony or high-value property division, make sure the attorney has experience in the type of divorce you expect. You don’t need an attorney known for litigation skills if you plan to use a mediator.
Experience: Experience can be measured by the length of time a lawyer has been practicing, number of cases they’ve resolved and active participation in their areas of specialty. Divorce lawyers may be members of professional organizations, and many publish articles related to family law.
Compatibility: Divorces are emotionally trying and personal affairs, and you should be comfortable with the lawyer you hire. The attorney should inspire trust and confidence that your case is handled correctly.
Bar membership: Make sure that anyone who represents you legally is a member of the State Bar of Michigan.
Many people hire the first lawyer they interview, and while that may be the best choice, it’s important to explore your options. Finding the right attorney is the most critical decision you’ll make in the divorce process.
Jackson, Jackson & Hayes
Jackson, Jackson & Hayes has practiced divorce and family law in the Lansing area since 1975. The firm is committed to providing its clients with the best representation and offers specialization in all types of divorce and mediation. Lansing reviewers love the attention to detail, high professionalism and superior quality of work Jackson, Jackson & Hayes delivers.
Shroeder DeGraw PLLC
Based in Marshall outside of Lansing, Shroeder Degraw PLLC boasts nearly 100 years of serving Michigan residents’ legal needs. The firm specializes in family law and all aspects of divorce. Lansing residents highly recommend the firm for all legal services and appreciate the firm’s compassionate and experienced representation.
The Kronzek Firm PLC
The Kronzek Firm’s primary focus is on family law and divorce. The firm offers 24/7 support and fast consultations. Lansing reviewers appreciated the quality of service and expertise that the firm provides, although a few Lansing reviewers state that they didn’t receive responses to communication as quickly as they’d like.
The Law Offices of Julie A. Hlywa
Julie A. Hlywa specializes in family law and divorce and strives to bring the best representation to Mid-Michigan. Hlywa offers free consultations, affordable services and honesty in expectations and outcomes, Lansing clients say the firm’s staff is highly professional and a tremendous value for the cost.