Considering Divorce in Michigan? Mediation May Be an Option

When you're considering divorce, you probably think of heated battles, endless arguments, and conflicting emotions as the details of your marriage play out in a courtroom. However, there are alternatives to traditional divorce that are considerably less anxiety-inducing. Divorce mediation is an option for ending your marriage under Michigan law and, though the proceedings are not suitable for all couples, the process is worth considering. You should discuss your situation with an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer, but some general information may help you determine whether mediation is a possibility for you and your spouse.

Mediation Under Michigan Divorce Law

Mediation is essentially a way to settle without going to trial for divorce proceedings. The process usually starts as you and your spouse pick a third-party, typically an attorney that handles mediation cases. Then, you each prepare a mediation summary that outlines the details of your divorce and a proposal to settle all matters of disagreement.

On the date of the mediation proceeding, you and your spouse appear with your attorneys to discuss outstanding issues. The mediator, who is familiar with your respective stances after reviewing your summary, will try to encourage agreement. When spouses still disagree on certain issues, the mediator may prepare a statement on what settlement would be equitable.

If you both agree to various divorce terms, the mediator either makes a recording of the settlement or prepares an agreement for the client's signatures. In a case that's pending in court, the agreement is entered into the record; however, for cases not yet before a divorce court, the agreement is still binding. Any violation of the divorce agreement that results from the mediation process can carry legal consequences.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Divorce Mediation

In determining whether you should consider divorce mediation, you should always consult with an attorney with experience in divorce cases. However, balancing the pros and cons of the process will help you set the framework for a discussion with your lawyer.

PROS

  • You can dissolve your marriage in less time than a court proceeding;

  • There's confidentiality, because the mediation itself doesn't become part of the court record;

  • You have more control by being able to compromise on the issues where you agree, as opposed to Michigan law directing the outcome of your case; and,

  • Your costs are considerably lower when you don't handle all divorce matters in court.

CONS

  • You cannot always settle all matters including custody of minor children;

  • If you believe your spouse is hiding assets, mediation may not be an appropriate venue; and,

  • The presence of any abuse may make it impossible for a divorce to be completed by mediation.

Consult with a Qualified Michigan Divorce Lawyer

Times can be difficult when your marriage is coming to an end, but you can avoid an unpleasant court battle if the circumstances are appropriate for you and your spouse. Mediation may be an option, but it's best to discuss your situation with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney before making the decision. Please contact Bloomfield Hills, MI lawyer Michael A. Robbins for more information on alternatives to traditional dissolution of marriage.