When Should One Choose Mediation Versus The Court Process In A Divorce Case?

When Is Mediation Versus The Court Process A Good Idea For The Couple?

The traditional divorce process in Metro Detroit, meaning in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, is going to involve mediation before the client can ever have a trial in front of the judge. The judge will make the person do it because they don’t want to have a trial when a case could be settled through mediation; probably 50 to 60 per cent of cases will settle at mediation before a trial.

Some people like to think about going to mediation before their case even starts. That’s a personal preference and there is no reason they can’t do it but the normal process involves filing of a complaint for a divorce, and then exchanging information so that everybody can be on the same page with regard to financials, custody issues, medical things etc. and then they can try to negotiate a settlement.

What Is The Mediation Process And How Does It Work?

If negotiating a settlement doesn’t work, mediation can be chosen. The mediation process is simply the attorneys for the parties agreeing on a mediator who is a lawyer and skilled or trained in mediation. They go to that person’s office, sit in separate rooms with their attorney and the mediator will go back and forth trying to broker a deal. The mediator is not a judge. They do not decide if you are right and the other person is wrong, and you win and they lose; they simply try to get both sides to inch closer together in order to make an agreement and finish the case.

Mediators use the fact as leverage that they usually have a pretty good understanding of your particular judge and how that person thinks or acts. They have experience in the area and they will explain to you as an objective person the strengths or weaknesses of your argument and also the costs that you have to save by not going to trial because the trial process is very expensive. A lot of times, the money that you’re saving can be used in the negotiation process and that way, the parties keep the money rather than the lawyers ending up with the money. So, it’s a pretty effective process if people want the case to resolve, it would usually resolve.

With Mediation, Would You Still Be Suggested To Have Two Attorneys; One Representing Each Party?

Yes. A lot of times in these cases, there are certain legal arguments that are being made, for example, on spousal support or changing the domicile of the child, or how much parenting time one party should get versus the other, or when there are legal arguments that need to be made and there are legal discussions that need to be had and the mediator is really not there to tell you you’re right or wrong; they’re there to broker a deal and without people understanding what’s going on properly, it takes away some of the effectiveness of mediation.

It all depends on what your issues are. For example, if all you’re fighting over is who gets the couch and who gets the TV, then you really don’t need lawyers for that. But if you are talking about more important issues like custody and spousal support and division of business interests, stock options, things that are more complex, then for sure, you need counsel.

If you have questions regarding Divorce, Mediation and the Court Process in Michigan, call the law office of Attorney Paul Tafelski for a free initial consultation at (248) 451-2200 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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