I have completed both Civil and Domestic Relations Mediation training through programs approved by the Michigan State Court Administrative Office.
Mediation is a process that not only assists in resolving a matter sooner than if it were to proceed to trial, but also provides a forum where each party is allowed to explain their position and actively participate in trying to reach a resolution.
When acting as a mediator I cannot offer advice to either side or advocate on anyone’s behalf. I can; however, give each participant the opportunity to be heard. I will assist in creating a list of issues as they are raised by the participants in their opening statements and guide the discussion through each of those issues. This may involve questions raised by me, brainstorming between the parties, or what mediator’s refer to as caucuses where we can meet individually if there is something that any one of us would like to raise privately.
Any agreement reached, even if it is only on some of the issues, will be written down and signed by all participants. At that point it is a contractual agreement that can be enforced by either party.
Commonly asked questions:
Do I have to have a lawsuit pending to hire a mediator?
No. Anyone with a dispute that they have not been able to resolve on their own can contact a mediator.
What if we can’t reach an agreement on anything?
You return to the position you were in before except you hopefully now all have a better understanding of how each person involved feels about the issues which may lead to a future resolution. If you were in the litigation process, your case will proceed according to the scheduling order entered by the Judge.
Can I have an attorney present?
Yes. If you have hired an attorney and you want their input prior to signing a mediation agreement I encourage you to have them present or at least notify them of your mediation date and ask if they will be available that day to speak with you by telephone.
How long does mediation take?
There is no set time frame. A mediation may take 30 minutes or over 8 hours. It depends on the issues and the progress being made. If the participants are working well together and progress is being made we will stay as long as it takes. That said, if any participant has a time restriction, please notify us at the beginning of the mediation. A second day can always be scheduled if it will be helpful.