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Advantages of Divorce Mediation Over Litigation

Some divorce cases turn into bitter, stressful and expensive court battles that can last for months or even years. However, most divorces can be resolved without a struggle if the spouses reach an agreement on essential matters, such as child custody, child support, spousal support and property division. One effective tool for forging such an agreement is divorce mediation.

In mediation, a neutral third party guides the couple through negotiations using a variety of techniques. The mediator encourages the spouses to come to the table in good faith for discussions focusing on important issues that otherwise would have to be litigated. Mediators help the spouses put anger and hostility aside and work out solutions that will allow them to move on with their separate lives once the divorce is finalized. Mediators also encourage the parties to be flexible. This permits a negotiated settlement that works for both sides, even though neither is likely to get everything they want.

To avoid litigation as much as possible, the Michigan courts have made mediation part of the divorce process. The Rules of Court instruct judges to refer domestic relations cases for mediation or other types of dispute resolution. Divorce mediation is non-binding, so any recommendation of settlement terms can be rejected by either side for any reason. A spouse may insist on the court holding a hearing on one or more disputed matters. However, all but the most obstinate spouses will likely find mediation preferable to litigation. The distinct advantages of mediation include:

  • Time — The divorce process most often proceeds much more quickly with mediation, which is not dependent on court schedules or judges’ time constraints.
  • Cost — Mediation is almost always much less expensive than litigation, since attorneys’ billable hours are less and expert witnesses are rarely needed.
  • Formality — Mediation proceedings are much less formal and mediators are flexible in crafting solutions to disputed issues. However, as mediators cannot give legal advice, each spouse should engage a qualified family mediation lawyer to best protect their interests.
  • Control — With non-binding mediation, the parties have complete control over the outcome. If they cannot come to an agreement, then they may still have their day in court.
  • Confidentiality — Divorce mediations in Michigan are strictly confidential. Members of the public are not permitted into the mediation sessions and the records are not made public.
  • Future relationship — If the parties can cooperate in mediation, they may well get along better going forward. This can be significant when the spouses will interact after the divorce, such as in raising their children together.

Based in Sterling Heights, Dawson Family Law, PLLC is one of Michigan’s most respected domestic relations law firms. Our legal team helps each client through difficult circumstances to achieve positive results. If you need counsel for a divorce or other family relations matter, feel free to contact us or call 833-671-4445 for an initial consultation.

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