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What Are the Pros and Cons of Mediation in a Michigan Divorce?With all the stress that already accompanies a divorce, the addition of painful, heated courtroom drama can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, mediation might be an appropriate option if you and your spouse are willing to work together to come to a more satisfactory settlement for both you and your children. Although the positive aspects of mediation are appealing at first, it is important to consider several factors before choosing to take this route over litigation. 

The Pros

First, consider everything good that can come from mediation. This process differs greatly from a court hearing in several ways as shown by the following scenarios:

  • A Collaborative Solution: If you and your spouse were to take your divorce to court, the terms of your separation would be subject to harsh legal interpretations of your relationship. This can affect the division of property and assets, child support, or parenting time and often leads to one or both parties unhappy with the result. If this is one of your primary concerns, mediate so that you can cooperate and compromise in a way that benefits you both.
  • Less Expensive: Mediation involves you, your spouse, and a mediator with the appropriate training from the state. Although this will still cost you, it will only be a fraction of what you would both end up paying in legal fees for your attorneys.
  • Neutrality: Per state law, the mediator is not allowed to pass judgments on either you or your spouse and cannot take sides in any way, allowing both of you to work out a solution as amicably as possible. With lawyers at play, the heated discussions could ruin the chances of you and your spouse maintaining any sort of positive relationship after the divorce proceedings.

The Cons

Although mediation can do a lot of good, it can pose a few risks in certain situations. Consider the following before you decide to begin your divorce with mediation:

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Oakland County divorce mediation attorneyWhen people think of divorce, they often imagine highly contested court battles between two parties looking to secure the majority of marital assets. In reality, many divorces can simply be amicable separations between two spouses that recognize that marriage is no longer healthy or functional. In these situations, alternative methods can be used to resolve the complicated matters surrounding the end of the marriage. Divorce mediation is one such method. 

What Is Mediation? 

Divorce mediation is a process in which two divorcing spouses work together with a neutral mediator to resolve the various issues that must be addressed during the divorce. Mediation can be used to resolve conflicts involving the division of marital assets and spousal support agreements. When children are involved in the divorce, the mediator should be experienced in helping parents come to a conclusion on what is best for their children. A mediator can help the couple reach workable, mutually beneficial agreements on issues such as child custody and child support

The Benefits of Mediation

Divorce mediation can represent a fairly seamless way for a divorcing couple to reach agreements on issues that could present potential conflicts. First and foremost, mediation can save you valuable time and money. Divorce litigation can take an extended amount of time and require both parties to pay significant lawyer fees and court costs. Once your divorce case goes to court, the resolution of various issues will be entirely out of your control. Mediation offers both parties a say in the final decisions that are made, which is especially critical in divorce cases involving children. Lastly, mediation offers you the chance to work with your former spouse to reach agreements. If you are sharing custodial responsibilities for your children, this can help you begin building a relationship post-divorce. For more information on the benefits of mediation, it is best to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Farmington Hills divorce mediation lawyer In many cases, the decision to get married is an easy and simple one. The decision to get a divorce, however, does not come that easily. Sometimes it can take months and even years for you to finally come to the decision that you are ready to end your marriage. Marriages do not just break -- they slowly erode and deteriorate over time, often giving off many warning signs that it is time to call it quits. Many times couples make the decision to divorce after years of unhappiness, resulting in heated and highly-contested divorces. 

Here are four warning signs that you may want to consider a divorce:

1. Your Needs Are Not Being Met

A successful marriage is one in which both partners’ needs are being met. Each partner should be doing his or her best to meet the physical and emotional needs of the other. If you notice that you and your spouse are not meeting each other’s needs or that the relationship has become rather one-sided, it may be a sign that your marriage is deteriorating.

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Posted on in Divorce

Oakland County collaborative divorce attorneyWhen you think about a divorce, you probably think of long, drawn out processes, yelling matches in the courtroom and ultimately being unhappy with the outcome. While Hollywood does a good job of painting a dramatic and intriguing picture of divorce, it is rarely like it is in the movies. The truth is, there is more than one way to get a divorce and not all of them are litigated in a courtroom as television shows would have you to believe. Two of the alternative forms of divorce -- mediation and collaborative divorce -- offer unique methods to part ways with your spouse. Collaborative divorce, in particular, offers many benefits over the traditional litigated divorce. Here are a few ways a collaborative divorce can benefit you and your family:

1. It Can Save You Money

One of the big benefits of a collaborative divorce is the financial aspect of it. Many people are drawn to collaborative divorce because you usually spend about half as much as a litigated divorce and about a quarter of what you would pay if your divorce went to trial. Collaborative divorces save you from an abundance of lawyer’s fees, court costs, discovery fees and other hidden costs of divorce.

2. You Can Complete the Divorce on Your Own Timeline

Another benefit of a collaborative divorce is that you can take the process as slowly or as quickly as you would like to. Obviously, the longer you take to settle your divorce, the more you will end up paying. But you have the ability to focus more time on topics you find to be more serious, rather than having to make a rash decision because you were rushed. On average, collaborative divorces take about 18 weeks to finalize, which is about a fourth of the time it usually takes to complete a traditional divorce.

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MI mediation lawyerMany couples still think that the only way they can get a divorce is by going the traditional way of litigating the divorce. Traditional divorce involves both spouses getting their own attorneys who argue for them on their behalf about various topics like child support, property division and even who gets to keep the dog. This can cause much stress for both spouses and their kids, which is why many couples have been looking at forms of alternative dispute resolution, one of them being mediation. Because it is a fairly new and accepted practice in the legal community, people still have their misconceptions about the divorce mediation process. Here are three common myths about divorce mediation and the truths behind them.

Mediation Does Not Work if You Both Cannot Get Along

Divorce mediation can actually help couples who are combative. The mediator is there to help keep you and your soon-to-be ex on track when you are discussing and making decisions about important issues. It is the mediator’s job to steer you and your ex in the right direction when conversing - rather than letting you and your ex hash it out, they will make suggestions on possible solutions for your arguments.

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Posted on in Divorce

MI divorce lawyerAny divorce is not going to be easy to prepare for. In some ways, a mediated divorce can be even more difficult to prepare for. Because of the cooperative nature of divorce mediation, you have to put your feelings aside so that you can effectively work with your soon-to-be-ex to come to a divorce agreement that you both are comfortable with. Divorce mediation has many benefits that come with it, but that does not mean it is easier to do. Here are a few ways you can prepare for your divorce mediation:

Gather All of Your Important Documents

Like most things, being prepared will serve you well. When you come to your mediation sessions, be sure to have copies or originals of all of your important documents, which can include:

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Posted on in Divorce

MI divorce lawyerWe all know what happens in a traditional divorce - the husband and wife spend months on end arguing about who gets the house, where the kids will live and how their property will be split between the two. A litigated divorce can be stressful for you, hard on your wallet and traumatizing to the kids. It is important to understand that you do have other options. Divorce mediation is one of those options and has become an increasingly popular route for many divorcing couples because of the multitude of benefits it offers.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Many people do not actually know what divorce mediation is and therefore, do not know of its benefits. Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves a neutral, third-party - often a lawyer - who helps the couple make decisions about their own divorce. Unlike divorce litigation, there is only one mediator for both spouses, but the key to mediation is that the mediator is not able to advocate for one party over the other. The mediator is simply there to bring light to issues that need to be settled and guide conversations to keep them civil and productive.

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Posted on in Divorce

Novi, MI divorce mediation lawyerAfter you have made the decision to pursue a divorce, it is not uncommon to feel uneasy about airing your marriage history in open court. To avoid this, many couples find mediation to be a more effective and far less stressful and expensive way to settle the outstanding issues in their divorce. In addition to working with a resourceful family law attorney, it is critical to understand what is necessary to prepare for a mediation session. 

What You Need To Do To Get Ready

Mediation is often considered the low-key route to divorce, the process still has the ability to make people nervous, and this understandable. No matter what you call it, the end result is still the same, and to many, the end of one’s marriage can be nerve-wracking and emotional. Here are a few tips to consider when preparing for mediation sessions:

  • Get all your financial files in order. Spend time in advance of mediation making sure you have copies of bank records, statements, receipts, and records of all debts, loans, and assets that hold financial value to both you and your spouse. 
  • Make sure your emotions are in check. While mediation is supposed to be a less stressful path to divorce, depending on your relationship with your spouse, it is not uncommon for emotions to bubble to the surface. Do your best to control yourself and avoid outbursts, as they can be quite counterproductive.
  • Be ready to negotiate. You should enter mediation with the mindset of someone who wants to work toward a compromise, not argue. A little give and take will go a long way in resolving things quickly. 
  • Prepare a budget. Know your income and expenses, and enter mediation with a budget that accounts for your financial needs. Be realistic, but be sure to account for everything you (and your children) will require on a monthly basis. 

A Good Thing To Know In Advance

If, during the course of the mediation session, you have a question or concern you wish to share with your attorney, it is perfectly acceptable to ask to speak privately with your lawyer. Do not wait to ask questions and fully understand the legal ramifications of your decisions until it is too late. 

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