Coaching For Divorced Women: What is the first thing a woman should do if her husband states he wants a divorce?
Jennifer M. Van Horn: Seek competent legal representation to determine your rights and what to expect from the divorce process. Do not rely on lay people’s advice as I often times find clients are misinformed by well-intentioned friends and family.
What should a woman consider when choosing a divorce attorney?
I think a good fit is important because you must trust your lawyer’s advice.
What is collaborative law and how is it different from mediation?
In Michigan, a collaborative divorce involves both parties obtaining attorneys and committing to reaching a settlement without going to court. For mediation, most courts require the parties to go to mediation. However, they are not obligated to reach a settlement without going to court.
How do you handle couples that are involved in a high-conflict divorce?
I work with my client to attempt to ensure that he or she is being reasonable and acting in his or her own best interest and the best interest of his or her children if any.
What would you say to a woman that was insisting on having her day in court?
In my experience, parties who settle their divorce cases are happier in the long run as are their children, if any. I explain to my clients that often times, the result a trial judge makes may seem worse than a settlement reached between the parties as the parties know their situation better than a trial judge does.
What advice would you give clients who want to get a divorce with the least possible conflict and pain for all of those involved?
I generally advise my clients that an amicably reached settlement is best for the parties and their children if any. Divorce is difficult enough for many reasons and highly adversarial divorces are extremely painful for all parties involved and expensive.
Under what circumstances would a judge grant sole physical and legal custody to a parent?
Generally, in Michigan, a judge would award sole legal and physical custody where the parents are unable to work together on any issues involving their minor children.
If a woman’s husband and his attorney are lying about her or marital property to the courts, what should she do?
In Michigan, a process called discovery is often utilized to uncover the truth about marital property and other issues before the court.
How often do you see cases of Manimony?
I do not often see cases of Manimony.
What advice would you give a woman regarding social media and texting during the divorce process?
I tell my clients to presume anything they post on social media will be found. It will also be admitted into evidence in their case. This includes anything they put in writing.
Is there any other advice you would like to give women who are just beginning the divorce process?
Divorce is a very difficult process. It has many ups and downs. But, you will get through it, especially with the help of competent legal representation.
Jennifer M. Van Horn-Pfeiffelmann
2900 East Beltline, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Years in Practice: 18 years