Mediation is a relatively newer method used by the court system to resolve complex domestic disputes. Rather than leaving the final outcome to the Court, meditation allows couples facing divorce to find much more peaceful means of resolution and have much more control over the outcome by working to shape solutions that work for them.
Divorce mediation is highly encouraged by our legal system and is completely confidential. This means that anything that is discussed or offered by the parties for settlement purposes cannot be used against them in court. Every issue of concern between the parties may be addressed during mediation, including parenting time, custody, spousal support and distribution of property.
The mediator does not impose a solution or bully you into an agreement, but instead helps both parties create their own solutions by allowing the parties to constructively discuss the issues. These solutions can be tailored to different, unique situations and such solutions may not be attainable through arbitration or divorce court.
Unless Court ordered both parties must agree to work with a particular mediator. The mediator is usually hired and paid by both spouses. The mediator may or may not be an attorney, and does not represent either party in the divorce. Instead, the mediator is a neutral facilitator who is trained in the process of working with both sides to a divorce.
The mediator’s purpose is to identify solutions that meet the needs of each person involved in the divorce. The mediator discusses and clarifies the issues in conflict, and explores the options for settlement with both parties. Both sides are heard and allowed an opportunity to make suggestions and various proposals for settlement. There could be one or many mediation sessions to discuss all the issue that the parties wish to discuss before a comprehensive resolution reached.
If the parties are able to reach an agreement most mediators will draft a “memorandum of understanding” that articulates the mutual agreement. Ultimately one side drafts a divorce settlement agreement based upon the memorandum and both parties have an opportunity to review and to sign and the same is presented to the Court to be entered as an order.
Unfortunately there are cases when mediation may not be appropriate, such as situations where domestic violence, mental illness, or substance abuse is involved. Most courts issue a domestic violence screening form that is filled out by the parties and the parties attorneys if they are represented to determine whether the matter is appropriate for mediation or not.
The attorneys at Gordon & Hess, PLC are state approved mediators in domestic relations mediation and can help you resolve your case whether as acting as your counsel or as the actual mediator between the parties. If you need a Mediation attorney in Grand Rapids or anywhere in West Michigan contact Gordon & Hess, PLC.
Please contact Gordon & Hess, PLC now and schedule a free ½ hour confidential consultation to meet face to face and discuss the mediation process and issues you are or soon may be facing or if you are already represented by attorney and are in need of a qualified mediator have your attorney contact the office to discuss how we can assist you.
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