Grand Rapids Mediation Attorneys
Persistent and Attentive Family Litigators with Years of Experience
Our lawyers are persistent litigators with years of experience. But often an immediate court battle isn’t the answer. In divorce cases there is almost always an opportunity, given by the court, to engage in a facilitative process in which both sides sit down with a neutral third party who is also a lawyer, and negotiate the kind of fair agreement that everyone thinks a judge will impose if litigation were to continue.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary settlement process designed to resolve the issues of child custody, parenting time, child support and spousal support, and property division.
Both parties meet separately, then together, with a neutral mediator who is an experienced family law attorney. The job of the mediator is to facilitate a settlement of as many issues as possible.
How is Mediation Beneficial?
The parties can reach an agreement on everything and avoid a trial. Or, the parties can agree on some issues but agree to litigate the issues they disagree on, which saves money on both sides. In some cases the parties may ask the mediator to make written recommendations, and/or provide a framework for future discussions.
Mediation can resolve the dispute faster and allow a Judgment of Divorce to be entered sooner in cases where both parties agree on most things. It often costs less than a trial, and can avoid the costs of hiring experts and taking testimony. Unlike trial, the mediation process is confidential and so is the agreement. Therefore the parties often use it to maintain better control over the outcome of their disputes.
Other Settlement Methods
Mediation is voluntary, and can be ordered by the court, but the result of mediation is not binding on either party. Arbitration, on the other hand, is voluntary, but the parties can agree to be bound by an arbitrator’s decision.
Conciliation by the Friend of the Court is also an option. In some counties the judge makes it mandatory. Conciliation is less formal than mediation. The FOC works with both parties though the interview process to try to resolve custody and parenting time disagreements, then it makes its recommendations to the judge presiding over the case.
Conciliation usually happens early in a divorce case, prior to issuance of a temporary order for custody, parenting time and child support. The judge then either adopts the recommendation in the form of a temporary court order, or modifies the temporary order after argument by both attorneys. Both parties have the right to object to the order and have a separate hearing about the objections its inaccuracies in front of the judge.
We cannot stress enough the importance in a divorce case of this temporary order. If you are facing a hearing for a temporary order, call (616) 229-3002 for Legal Advice Today.
Our attorneys at Scozzari Graham, PLLC, have represented countless clients in mediation processes with very favorable results, and the senior attorneys are available at selected times to serve upon request as mediators of legal disputes in their areas of expertise.