The Role of Mediation in Family Law Cases

Courts often require parties to attend mediation before going to trial. This is commonly due to litigation docket overloads. The process is much smoother when those involved understand the role of mediation in Family Law cases. 

Family Law Mediation Process

Mediation is the first attempt at a resolution before a trial in Family Court. Both parties in the case are represented by their respective attorneys. Before the final mediation, the discovery process should have taken place. The respective parties must bring the same documentation as though they were attending the actual trial. This includes all relevant budgets and records.  

At this time the case is presented to a third-party mediator as opposed to a judge. Most commonly, the parties with their respective lawyers are placed in two separate rooms. This allows the mediator to review the issues one at a time.  

Required for Domestic Relations Mediation

  • A trainee must successfully complete 48 hours of approved Community Dispute Resolution Program training.
  • He or she is required to observe an approved mediator conducting two domestic relations proceedings.
  • The mediator must bring one domestic relation proceeding to conclusion under the observation of an approved mediator.
  • A graduate degree or juris degree in conflict resolution.

The Mediator’s Role in Family Law

The goal of the mediator is to facilitate a settlement in hopes of eliminating the need for a formal hearing. The arbitrator tries to discover an amicable solution to resolve all the legal issues. There is no need for a judge or jury if the parties involved agree on the decisions.  

The appointed mediator is an impartial individual who is responsible for leading the negotiations. The purpose is to reach an agreeable and just settlement for both parties. No single solution fits all cases across the board. Every situation is unique to those parties. A skilled arbitrator must be a lateral thinker and tailor resolutions which suit all those involved.   

The are several protocols which are applicable to Family Law mediation. The mediator must keep all information from these proceedings confidential. If the mediation fails, no one can use these sensitive details in court if a trial must take place. The mediator cannot be compelled to testify.  

Mediation acts in the stead of court proceedings. The mediated resolution is irrevocable and legally binding. It is crucial that both parties understand the details of the agreement. It is essential to go into mediation proceedings with as much information as possible.

Experienced Legal Representation

A large percentage of Family Court cases are resolved with mediated settlements. It is important to choose an attorney who has experience in navigating mediation procedures. A legal representative provides expert advice during the mediation settlement and in court, if the mediation should fail.   

Brian F. Abramson has 23 years of litigation experience in Michigan. He offers expert legal representation for Family Law, Estate Proceedings, and Criminal Defense. Brian’s impeccable reputation is well known with professional colleagues, previous clients, and judges across eastern Michigan.