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Getting a divorce when conflict is high

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Some Michigan residents might be unfamiliar with the term "marriage dissolution", but it is simply a term that refers to divorce. It is usually necessary to reach an agreement about property division and, if applicable, child custody before a divorce can be finalized. The couple might reach this agreement in mediation or in negotiations with the help of their respective attorneys, or they may have to go to court where a judge will make a decision.

While people may think of marriage as a religious ceremony, divorce is a legal procedure. A contested divorce is more complex than an uncontested divorce. The former refers to a situation in which only one person wants the divorce and the other person is fighting it.

Estimates are that within 15 years, around 40 percent of first marriages will end in divorce. People divorce because they cannot communicate effectively, because they disagree about finances or because of infidelity, among other reasons.

In a contested or high-conflict divorce, anger or other emotions over these issues may get in the way of negotiating a settlement. However, even couples experiencing conflict may benefit from alternative dispute resolution methods. The advantage of these methods over going to court is that the couple has more input into the final outcome. For example, mediation focuses on couples cooperating to reach a solution that satisfies both of them. However, if these alternative dispute resolution methods are unsuccessful, people might need to go to court. This is a more adversarial environment, and one or both might be unhappy with the judge's decision. Before going into negotiations or litigation, a person may want to discuss goals and strategies with an attorney. There may be certain points on which a person is willing to compromise ahead of time and others that are not negotiable.

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