The vast majority of Michigan divorce cases end in settlement. The few that don’t are resolved by a trial before a judge. For those that do settle, settlement can be reached in a number of ways, from the parties reaching an agreement on their own, to a desperate last-minute deal arrived at on the courthouse steps.
The longer it takes to reach settlement, the more difficult and expensive a divorce is likely to be. Yet, often, parties’ attempts to negotiate on their own, or with their attorneys, reach impasse instead of resolution. The answer for many couples is to reach agreement through mediation.
There are different types of mediation. In evaluative mediation, the mediator evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case, discusses what a judge would be likely to order, and may be somewhat directive in moving the parties toward resolution. Much court-ordered mediation is evaluative in nature.
In facilitative mediation, the facilitator’s role is much more neutral. The process involves supporting parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement based on their needs. The mediator typically meets with both parties and their attorneys at the same time, although at times the parties may be in separate rooms with their respective attorneys, in which case the mediator moves back and forth between them.
Facilitative mediation may be used to help resolve every issue in a divorce, or just one or two. It may be employed on its own, or within a Collaborative Divorce case. Once a couple reaches a settlement agreement and the court approves it, it becomes part of their divorce judgment, as binding as any order signed by a judge would be.
Facilitative mediation offers many advantages, including:
Carlo Martina is an experienced family law mediator with many years of experience supporting families in crafting their own solutions. If you are interested in learning more about whether family law mediation is right for you, schedule a free consultation with one of our Michigan divorce attorneys at (734) 254-1140 or fill out our online contact form.