Novi Divorce Mediation Attorneys, Arbitration Hearing Lawyers, Litigation Law Firm
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. The purpose of alternative dispute resolution in family law is to keep private the painful episode in the parties’ lives and to provide a way for the parties to avoid the delay, expense and trauma that often accompany traditional courtroom litigation. Most commonly mediation will continue between the parties until a settlement is reached or until the parties reach an impasse. Most mediation agreements are memorialized and handled like other settlements and the parties subsequently take steps to enter the judgment that is in compliance with the mediation agreement. The parties also have an option in some cases to allow the mediator to provide a written recommendation for any issues that yet remain unresolved. Most mediations provide for a representation for each party by their counsel, and in addition the parties will agree to appoint a neutral mediator who assists the parties in reaching a resolution of their issues.
An additional form of alternative dispute resolution is arbitration. In family law arbitration, a third party neutral acts as a judge and issues rulings. In contrast to mediation where the parties must agree to any settlement, arbitration is binding on the parties and the third party neutral will make all final decisions regarding the outstanding issues. In addition, an arbitration award is subject to very limited review or appeal.
In both mediation and arbitration the parties may choose to relax the court rules and procedures and create an informal environment for presentation and resolution of their issues. The parties’ selection of the arbitrator and the designation of the issues and provisions for the arbitrator’s powers within the arbitration agreement enable the parties to structure their proceeding to meet their specific needs. The limited right of review in arbitration also offers parties greater certainty for finalization than do other proceedings.
If you have questions about a divorce matter, including child custody or support obligations, or with any other issue arising from a family relationship, please contact Elkouri Heath at (248) 344-9700 for a free consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.