Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions people wonder about as they prepare to divorce.

Let us know if you have any other questions we can answer!


What does a divorce cost?

One of the most frequently asked questions is how much a divorce will cost.

That depends! Divorces can run smoothly or be challenging, depending on the issues, opposing counsel and if both spouses are in agreement (or not). Pre-existing acrimony impacts the amount of time it takes to work out details and find resolution. Many factors play into how much your divorce will cost. Remember: vendettas cost a lot of money.


How long does a divorce take?

The state of Michigan requires statutory waiting periods for a divorce to complete – a minimum of 6 months when children are involved; without children, a minimum of 60 days. The unique facts and circumstances of your situation can extend the time needed to achieve resolution.

People are usually anxious to get the divorce over with, which is why this is a frequently asked question. Just know that it will take time, and it will be over before you know it.


Can my child decide where to live?

Your child may express a preference for living with one parent over the other. Many people believe that when a child reaches a certain age, he or she can decide where to live.

Not true. While a child’s desires may be taken into account, it is only one of 11 “best interest factors” the court considers when determining the division of parenting time.

The judge considers all 11 factors to develop a full picture of the family when making a custody determination or considering a request to change custody. The child’s age and maturity may impact the judge’s likelihood of giving weight to the child’s stated preference.

Alisa Peskin-Shepherd does not believe in putting a child on the stand because it inevitably makes them feel pulled between parents. However, judges will talk with a child privately, if a party requests it.


Am I entitled to spousal support?

Whether you are entitled to spousal support or not depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. Guiding factors include: length of marriage, educational background, age of parties, ability to work, lifestyle and health. It’s important to look at each case individually.


What should I expect when hiring a divorce lawyer?

It’s wise to interview several lawyers to find the one whose personality and legal approach mesh with your style and needs. (Lawyers aren’t just problem-solvers; clients turn to us for support and guidance, too.)

Once you choose a lawyer, you will sign a retainer agreement, outlining the obligations of both client and attorney. It’s common to pay a certain amount up front, toward your retainer, and provide a method of payment for future billings.

Retainers are based on estimates of costs; actual costs incurred are detailed on every invoice.

If you do not use the full amount you put forward at the start, you will receive the remainder back. If you reconcile, any remaining retainer will be fully refunded to you. Alisa Peskin-Shepherd provides FREE first consultations!


Can I divorce without going to court?

Yes, with Mediation and Collaborative divorce are two methods for facilitating a divorce without having to go to court.

In both cases, the clients set the timetable and the pace. They make the final decisions, with guidance from their lawyers and Collaborative team.

The court is only involved at the end – when it is necessary to file a formal complaint and receive judicial approval on a Divorce Judgment.


What are my rights?

Remember that you do have rights! Whether you are the one initiating the divorce or not, remember that.

Emotions can run high in a divorce. Each party has the right to representation, to speak, to have a say in their future.

In every divorce, both parties have financial and property rights and the right to assets accumulated during the marriage.

Both spouses have the right to parent their children. Your rights are extensive; don’t sell yourself short.


Will you fight for me?

Of course! I will do everything in my legal power to protect you and your interests. We’ll begin by getting to know one another and your case.

At Transitions Legal, we focus on expressing a client’s values, which we use to guide and shape our strategy toward resolution.

This frequently asked question is often motivated by fear of not being heard. We promise that as your counsel, we will listen, we will defend you, and we will advocate for what you want.


What is the mediative approach?

In mediative divorce, we anticipate issues with a desire to resolve as much as possible without going to court.

We know we won’t get everything we want, and we maintain an attitude of constructive compromise.

In order for mediative divorce to work, both parties – and both lawyers – must be willing to listen.

All parties must be willing to talk. It’s optimal to begin a divorce case with a four-way meeting involving the spouses and their divorce lawyers, to set the tone and perspective of the case.

A mediative approach keeps things private. There’s no airing dirty laundry in the courtroom to become public record. We maintain an attitude of respect and dignity all the way through.

Do our mission, vision and services fit the approach you’d like to pursue?

Schedule an introductory consultation to determine if now is the time to hire Transitions Legal for divorce or mediation services in Southeast Michigan, to guide you through the process.