Divorce mediation is a convenient alternative to the conventional court process in a Michigan divorce. For many couples, mediation is an amicable way to get through their split and save them time and money. It’s important to understand exactly how divorce mediation works and what the options are before you attempt to go this route to finalize the matters in your divorce proceedings.
1. Know what a mediator does.
A mediator is an impartial third party in an informal environment who helps divorcing pairs come to their own solutions about how to break apart the married life they built together. A mediator’s skills are diplomacy, calm, and fairness across the board, to both parties. A mediator is not partial to one spouse or the other. They are wholly impartial and a great asset when couples who truly believed they could get along during their divorce suddenly discover that they need help being civil and fair.
2. Amicability is key.
Many divorces are mutual and amicable. Some divorces are not. You need to know which category you fall into before you attempt to make mediation work for you. If you and your partner are prepared to work together and be diplomatic about all divorce matters, from who gets the house to who gets the dog to how parenting time pans out, then mediation could work.
But it’s important to admit if you know you won’t be able to be diplomatic about all Michigan divorce matters. If you already know there will be multiple sticking points that will make it impossible to have fair and adult disagreements with a reasonable conclusion, mediation may not be the right choice.
3. A mediator is not a lawyer.
A mediator will never be able to replace the legal expertise of a Michigan divorce attorney. By law, mediators cannot give legal advice – even if the mediator is or once practiced as an attorney. A mediator can help you draft parenting plans and other documents, but divorce is still a legally binding contract and you will want a lawyer to review any documentation you develop and you will still have to go to court to finalize your split.
4. Your divorce lawyer may or may not recommend mediation.
Some Michigan divorce lawyers like to add mediation to the divorce process to save themselves time and save their client money. With the help of mediation, a divorce can often be completed more quickly – but only if mediation is advisable and works. If you opt for mediation and the process fails, you’ll have to start all over – and that costs both time and money, not to mention a lot of emotional and mental strain.
5. Mediation can be emotional.
Mediation is all about talking, agreeing, disagreeing, and coming to an amicable decision about the major matters of your ending marriage. That’s a big deal. If you would prefer to keep divorce as businesslike as possible and eliminate an excess of emotion or feelings, the legal process of divorce may be a better choice.
6. Mediation does not automatically save you money.
Many couples pursue mediation because they think this option will save them money. You might come out on top in this department – but you might not. Saving money is not guaranteed. Plus, a mediator cannot give you legal advice about the fairness of your divorce agreement. You want to make sure that whatever financial decisions you come to are financially fair and smart – a mediator does not pass judgment in these areas or offer legal advice.
Is Divorce Mediation Right for Your Split?
Think of a mediator as a referee – they know the rules and are present to enforce them and keep the peace, but you as a couple are expected to know the rules too and come to an amicable decision about the major elements of the marriage that you’re breaking apart.
Learn more about Michigan divorce and mediation. Contact the family law attorneys at Femminineo Attorneys in Macomb, MI, to schedule a meeting.