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Divorce

Divorce is never smooth sailing, but with support from a respected, honest, and committed divorce lawyer, you can navigate the storm successfully.

Start with a confidential and straightforward conversation to explore your options.

Merel Family Law: Principled Divorce Lawyers Dedicated to Protecting You and Your Family in the Metro Detroit Area

Ending a marriage or civil union is always difficult, no matter the circumstances. The legal complexities of today’s court system can feel overwhelming and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

For over four decades, our team of experienced and respected divorce lawyers has delivered top-tier legal representation to clients across the Metro Detroit Area and Chicagoland. Our commitment has helped numerous families move forward with less pain and more hope. 

We are here to support you in the same way.

Contact the best divorce lawyers in the Metro Detroit Area

Complete the form below to set up a consultation with our divorce law experts. Our team of experienced divorce attorneys is here for you. Need quick answers? Call us at (248) 716-7000.

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Why Trust Merel Family Law to Handle My Divorce?

Our clients are the type of people who demand and deserve world-class legal representation, and they won’t settle for anything less. So, we do our homework, stay on top of changes and emergent issues, prepare for every scenario, collaborate when it makes sense and fight like hell when it doesn’t.

Our seasoned divorce attorneys have specific expertise in cases involving women, LGBTQ+ couples, fathers, high-net-worth individuals, dissolution of long-term marriages, spouses who own businesses, appeals, and more. We’ll ensure you’re represented by an experienced divorce attorney who respects your situation, understands the law, and knows how best to work through your unique challenges.

All cases are unique, and while we prefer to approach our clients’ cases in a spirit of collaboration and negotiation, we are also not afraid to “take the gloves off” when needed. Our strategies and tactics are informed by what winning looks like to our clients.

You’ll have peace of mind knowing we will never push you into a lengthy, costly and unnecessary court trial. However, we will use all legal remedies to protect your rights.

Our 4-Step Process

What to Expect from Our Divorce Attorneys and the Complaint for Divorce Process

Step 1: Contact us by phone (248) 716-7000 or email. Our intake coordinator will ask a few simple – and completely confidential – questions to connect you with the right lawyer. Depending on your schedule, your initial consultation could be scheduled as soon as the same day

Step 2: Consult with your divorce attorney. During your initial conversation with your divorce lawyer, you’ll be asked to share all aspects of your situation, including mental health, domestic violence, finances, current or past substance abuse/use, and applicable family history.

Step 3: Pay the retainer fee & legal process begins. All divorce cases are different – some are easy and straightforward, others are extremely complex, and most are somewhere between. We will use this type of criteria to assess your retainer fee amount.

Step 4: Your divorce attorney will determine, communicate and execute your case strategy. Initially, this includes filing official “complaint for divorce” paperwork, serving the opposing party, and entering the mediation or litigation phase.

Our Recognitions Speak for Themselves

Merel Family Law By The Numbers

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"I am forever grateful for [Paige’s] diligence and guidance through a very stressful process."

Your Authority In High-Asset Divorce

 

High-asset divorce cases come with their own set of complexities. You need experts who regularly manage significant assets such as property, investments, and business interests. Proper legal guidance is essential to protect your property rights, ensure equitable distribution, and determine appropriate spousal support based on your unique situation. Our experienced attorneys will navigate the process with you, safeguarding your best interests every step of the way.

Additional Services Offered by Our Divorce Lawyers

Deciding to divorce your spouse is never easy, and it becomes even more complex the longer you’ve been married. For marriages lasting ten years or more, permanent spousal maintenance may be a factor. Alimony is always considered when there is a significant income disparity between spouses, but for long-term marriages, it often means longer payment durations. You can trust our divorce attorneys to fight for a fair and favorable resolution on your behalf.

High-net-worth divorces involving business ownership come with unique risk factors. If you and your spouse own a business together, a professional evaluation will be necessary. It is crucial to consider the significant tax implications of dividing a business. Fortunately, our divorce lawyers have extensive experience managing these financial complexities.

Unfortunately, divorce outcomes may not always be in your favor, but there is hope for rectification. You can appeal court orders if there were legal errors, courtroom oversights, or miscalculations. Start by consulting with our appellate attorneys to discuss your situation and determine if you qualify for a decision reversal or correction. We will meticulously build your appellate case, ensuring it meets the necessary preparations, procedures, and scrutiny required during the process.

Get Support From Our Top-Rated Divorce Attorneys

At Merel Family Law, we want to make the divorce process as smooth as possible. That starts with scheduling a consultation with our experienced intake coordinators. Then, our team of skilled divorce lawyers will provide you with the support you need to navigate the complexities of divorce.

Divorce Lawyers & the Divorce Process

Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce begins with the filing of a formal written complaint called a Complaint for Divorce. If you are the party to file for divorce, you are the Plaintiff, and your spouse will be the Defendant. You will file this and other forms with the county clerk. Then, you are required to serve (or otherwise notify) your spouse of the divorce action by providing a copy of the filed petition.

Unfortunately, there is not a clear and concise answer. Divorce cases can be over and done in a week or go on for several years. Generally speaking, the more conflict, the longer the case will take. It all depends on the situation at hand. Factors such as child custody issues, delays in discovery production, the need for business valuations, unreasonable lawyers/parties or other involved parties, or complex finances can make the process last longer.

Time is of the essence in this situation. As the Defendant in a Michigan divorce, you will have 21 days from the date of service if you were personally served or 28 days from the date of service if you were served by mail or while you were outside of Michigan to respond. To participate in the case, you must file and serve an Answer to Complaint for Divorce and, if needed, file a Counterclaim for Divorce along with the Answer. It is in your best interest to hire an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. They will handle all court filings, communicate with the opposing counsel, collect your financial information, and advise you on the appropriate steps to take as your case proceeds.

While documents are not necessary to commence the case or file an Answer to the Complaint for Divorce, it is always smart to start gathering recent financial documentation, such as the following:

  • Recent paystubs and W-2s
  • Recent utility bills
  • Recent mortgage statements
  • Statement for any ongoing loans
  • Secured debts
  • Medical and health insurance bills
  • Bank, savings, and investment statements
  • Retirement and 401(k) information
  • Life insurance policies
  • Three or more years of tax returns
  • Detailed list of common child-related expenses
  • Approximate monthly family budget
  • Get a P.O. Box
  • Change your passwords
  • Lock down your social media accounts
  • Consider opening a new financial account (but check with your attorney before doing this)

In every case, it takes a village. We have a full-service staff and a team of attorneys to help with your situation. We use a variety of attorneys, both partners and associates alike, to resolve your case and keep costs down.

While it is technically possible to represent yourself in a divorce case in Detroit, it’s usually not the best course of action. Divorce is a complex legal process, and the stakes can be high. Having a seasoned divorce lawyer on your side can significantly influence the outcome of your case in your favor.

This is a million-dollar question, but it depends on your case. Less contentious cases will incur fewer fees, and more complex cases that need more work or litigation from attorneys and staff will incur more. Retainers vary based on the type and scope of your case.

A retainer is an initial deposit required by attorneys and other professionals to commence representation. The retainer covers fees (billed based on hourly rates) and expenses. If the retainer is used up, the client will be responsible for any additional fees incurred beyond the retainer. If the case is finalized and a portion of the retainer is unused, that portion will be refunded back to the client.

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