Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that brings parties together in an attempt to amicably resolve differences before proceeding to trial. The divorce mediation process offers a way to reach settlements on complex issues while reserving the right to pursue litigation if an agreement cannot be reached. A certified mediator’s role is to facilitate discussion and movement toward a workable settlement that can resolve areas of disagreement. It is common for each party’s attorney to also attend mediation sessions.
Many people associate divorce proceedings with protracted court battles and significant personal and financial losses. However, divorce doesn’t have to unfold in a manner that is damaging to everyone involved. It is possible for divorcing couples to do so amicably. In fact, divorce mediation is a process that even celebrity couples are choosing to embrace.
At The Smith Law Offices, P.C., we understand your concerns about the costs – financial, emotional, and psychological – of resolving family law issues through litigation. We strive to provide affordable representation that protects your wellbeing and bottom line while asserting your legal rights.
One of the best ways to amicably resolve family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and child support is through divorce mediation. We are happy to note that we offer the services of Samantha Smith Dickinson, a certified family law mediator. She works with men and women at all stages of the process, providing a stable and unbiased mediator to facilitate the resolution of challenging family law issues.
Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, where couples work with a neutral party to resolve their differences and work towards a divorce agreement without a lengthy and expensive court battle.
If you haven’t heard of the mediation process, you may not understand what it entails. When a couple chooses to go through mediation over a traditional divorce, they are choosing to talk out their divorce settlement rather than go to court.
They will do this in a neutral setting with a third party (a certified mediator) present, along with each party’s own individual attorneys. This individual is not permitted to take sides and will simply serve as a facilitator.
Couples entering into a divorce mediation start with an initial meeting at which both parties will identify the key issues that need to be resolved.
An exchange of information will also take place. From there, further meetings will be scheduled in order to go over the issues and negotiate divorce terms. Depending on the complexity of one’s case, this can be done fairly quickly or it can take time.
In the most contentious divorces, spouses may not even be in the same room for mediation. The mediator will help the couple to explore compromises and set effective terms for their divorce, which they then finalize in a signed agreement to present to the courts.
For most people, the topic of divorce or separation is not an easy topic to broach. Generally, asking one’s spouse for a divorce is very difficult, and for some traditional families it is even more difficult due to the possible societal implications a divorce may have upon them in their respective communities.
Divorce mediation gives each party a voice, and chance to be heard. Furthermore, where there may have been a power imbalance in the family structure prior to seeking a divorce, in mediation both sides are treated as equal, and can openly share their viewpoint and ideas.
Even though for some, seeking a divorce is a fresh start, for others in their communities it may be frowned upon. Regardless, when a marriage is no longer viable and irreconcilable differences arise between a couple, civil divorce is an option.
In addition to the family court system, couples may have other options such as divorce mediation. It is important to consider talking with a family law attorney to understand the pros and cons of all options when seeking a divorce.
Michigan residents may find it interesting to learn that for those individuals interested in getting a divorce, in addition to the family court system, couples have the option of choosing to participate in divorce mediation. In fact, some states require couples in divorce proceedings to at least attempt mediation before going to trial.
Typically, in a court system, unless there is pre or post nuptial agreement, when a couple cannot agree how property should be divided, the final decision may be left up to the presiding judge. By partaking in divorce mediation, rather than leaving it up to a judge, the couple has the option to discuss how property may be divided between them. Generally, the purpose of mediation is to foster agreement between parties in an environment where both sides feel safe.
Furthermore, when it comes to mediation for child custody or mediation for child support, rather than having a court determine how much time a parent gets, parties in mediation can devise creative solutions to ensure that despite their differences they can work in the best interest of the children. For families that are fairly traditional and follow certain customs, divorce mediation may help to preserve, to some extent, how the parent would like to raise their children.
After a settlement is reached, your divorce mediation will need court approval before the divorce is officially granted. This will not require a court hearing; rather, it just requires that the agreement be submitted to the court for review. If accepted by the court, it will become a legally enforceable agreement.
Some people believe that mediation serves as a substitute for utilizing legal counsel during divorce. While it is not necessary to have an attorney present during the meetings, most people do. If one goes to a divorce mediation meeting without legal counsel, it is still wise to have an attorney review the final settlement before signing just to make sure it truly serves one’s best interest.
Mediation can be a great alternative to traditional divorce if a couple is willing to openly and honestly communicate. Disagreements will happen, it is only natural. But at the end of the day the parties share a common goal — finalizing their divorce swiftly and without the need for litigation. A family law attorney can help those facing these issues in Michigan make this a reality.
The main benefit of mediation is that the couple is in control of their divorce process. They are not dependent on a judge making all the decisions for them, and they decide how big a role they want their attorneys to play.
Mediation uses a neutral third party—a certified family law mediator—to facilitate discussions. Mediation typically takes place in an informal, neutral setting and both spouses are accompanied by their individual attorneys.
Mediators do not decide the outcome—they help the couple to reach a compromise on the terms of their divorce and the couple decides the timing and the details. Retaining this level of control can significantly alleviate the anxiety and stress that often comes with a litigated divorce, where control of the outcome rests in the hands of a judge.
Mediation helps you keep the majority of your discussions and negotiations out of court. In other words, mediation’s first benefit is that it protects your privacy. As an extension of that, it shields children from the acrimonious fighting that often accompanies divorce in court. It also makes it easier for you to move onto a healthy co-parenting relationship.
Mediation is also faster than a court divorce, often only taking a single session or a few days to complete. That speed also produces the most significant benefit, which is a reduction in the overall financial consequences of your divorce. Because you won’t have to spend many days in court, mediation can have a much lower overall price tag than a litigated divorce.
While an uncontested divorce can be an option for some, many couples still have outstanding issues that they need to address before they can file for this type of divorce. Concerns about child custody and asset division are common sticking points. For couples who want to divorce amicably but can’t agree on terms, mediation could be the right course of action.
If you find yourself wondering if mediation could be a solution for your family, it’s probably time to sit down with a Michigan divorce attorney and talk about your family’s situation.
Traditional divorce can get messy and be a long, drawn out process. Those in Michigan who want to handle their family law issues in a different way can with mediation.
Divorce mediation is particularly useful in situations where the parties will need to maintain a workable relationship for the purpose of co-parenting, or for parties who lack the disposable income to resolve their issues in the courtroom.
We look forward to helping you find a solution that protects your legal, financial, and personal interests. Call our Westland office at 734-547-6734 or contact us online to take the first step towards a mediated solution.