In western Michigan, many counties require parties to go through mediation to help resolve their case. I'm often met with questions and fears from clients about mediation and how it works. Mediation can be used for family law cases, estates and many other types of cases. Let's look at some of the common questions.
Will I have to be in the same room as my ex or the other party? No. While some mediators may have you in the same room, I have found it is more successful to use "shuttle diplomacy" and almost always do so with my clients. This means that both parties (and their attorneys) are in separate rooms away from each other, using their attorney and the mediator to "shuttle" between the parties to reach a resolution. Many times, the parties won't even see each other at all.
We're never going to agree on anything, is mediation pointless? No! A very large percentage of mediations end up with settlement agreements. Mediation leaves the parties in charge of their legal issues instead of allowing a Court to decide. After looking at the risk of taking your case to trial, it often makes sense to reach a mutual resolution through mediation rather than allowing a Judge to make a decision you may not be happy with.
Can I go to mediation alone without an attorney? Yes, you can, but it is important to know what a mediator is and what it isn't. See my separate article on this here. A mediator cannot offer you legal advice or represent either party. If you don't know the law and what a Court would likely do with your case, how will you know if you are agreeing to a fair settlement? Always consult an attorney and preferably have an attorney with you at mediation.
We're going to use a mediator instead of an attorney since we have an uncontested case, but I have some questions about what to do. I get this statement often in my private practice. Often, a client will come to me thinking they are just both going to "share" a mediator to resolve their case and since they both want the divorce, there is no reason to have an attorney. A mediator is not able to provide legal advice or advise either party. Sometimes I have met with clients that have agreed on something in mediation, not knowing that what they've agreed upon may not be what the law says they are entitled to receive. Again, mediation is meant to happen WITH an attorney representing you, a mediator cannot advise and finish your case for you.
Ready to speak to an attorney? Attorney Allison Greenlee Korr is an attorney and mediator in Kalamazoo, Michigan, handling cases in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and all surrounding counties, call today for a consultation. 269-381-4471