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oakland county divorce lawyerMost divorcing couples know that taking their divorce case to trial should be used as a last resort. In many cases, a trial takes away the freedom of decision for many couples, leaving that decision to be made by the judge presiding over the case. Michigan encourages couples to try to work things out amongst themselves before seeking help. If a couple is unable to cooperate to make decisions pertaining to the divorce, the judge will likely order the couple to attend mediation services before they can proceed to trial. Mediation can be a beneficial tool for many couples who experience adversity from one another, but there are also other ways you can proceed with divorce in Michigan, including arbitration.

Understanding Divorce Mediation

Unlike other states, Michigan does not require couples to attend mediation before they can take their case to trial. Either spouse can ask the judge to order mediation or the judge can independently order a couple to attend mediation to settle their differences. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that may help couples come to an agreement about divorce terms. During mediation, the mediator conducts the session by helping couples stay on topic during conversation and by suggesting solutions when necessary. Mediators, however, cannot make any final decisions for the couple. Mediation itself is also not a legal process and is sometimes used in conjunction with litigation.

Arbitration is an Option

Arbitration is similar to litigation, as the process during litigation is typically very similar to a court hearing, though it does not usually take place in a courtroom. During arbitration, both spouses attend, ideally with their attorneys, and hash out issues through a process similar to that used in court. Each side will get the chance to present evidence, call witnesses and convey arguments in a less formal setting than in court. Arbitration provides less flexibility for couples when deciding issues, as the arbitrator will have the power to make decisions for the couple and those decisions will be legally binding.

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Farmington Hills divorce attorney mediation

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families have had to get used to new ways of doing things. Whether this means working remotely, helping children attend school virtually, staying home whenever possible, practicing social distancing, or meeting up with people online rather than in person, things have changed significantly in many people’s lives. In some cases, these changes may have caused relationships between married couples to deteriorate, leading them to consider divorce. However, the same factors that led to this situation may also make the divorce process more difficult. Concerns about infection may affect court proceedings, and reaching a resolution on divorce-related issues can be tricky when the parties and their attorneys are maintaining social distancing. Fortunately, virtual divorce mediation is one solution that can help spouses resolve their differences and complete their divorce during this uncertain time.

How Does Virtual Mediation Work?

During divorce mediation, spouses will typically sit down together in the same room as a mediator, and they will go over all of the issues that need to be resolved before they can legally end their marriage. The mediator will act as a neutral third party, helping the spouses understand how the law applies to their situation and offering suggestions on how they can reach mutually acceptable agreements on issues such as asset division, child custody, and spousal support.

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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

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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