In divorce mediation, the parties and their attorneys meet with a neutral mediator, who facilitates the negotiation between the parties and helps them reach a settlement.
In all divorce cases in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb Counties, the courts require the parties to mediate their divorces prior to going to trial. Mediations are usually handled in one of two ways. The most common approach in Michigan is for the parties to sit in different rooms and the mediator to go back and forth between the parties in a form of “shuttle diplomacy.” Less common is facilitative mediation. In facilitative mediation, the parties are together in one room and the mediator facilitates the discussion between the parties and helps them move toward a settlement.
In contentious divorce cases and in cases with issues related to custody and visitation, we recommend retaining a mediator earlier in the case than required by the courts. We feel that bringing the parties to the table early in the case helps prevent increased animosity. And it can save the parties time and money by narrowing the number of issues in dispute. Finally, the parties can continue to use the mediator to help resolve the remaining areas in disputes, reducing the likelihood that the parties end up in court.