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How does divorce mediation work?

Divorce mediation is a process that allows couples who are getting divorced to work through decisions that need to be made about their future. Unlike divorce court where the judge makes the final ruling, the divorcing couple goes through the decision-making process together to arrive at solutions that will be beneficial for both.

Since couples may not initially start out agreeing, the mediator will meet with the couple in a series of mediations that are generally one to two hours long. During the first meeting, the couple works with the mediator to determine which issues need to be addressed and what order these issues should be discussed. This first meeting concludes with each party in agreement as to what information both parties need to gather and then share in future meditations.

The information needed for mediation can vary, but typically includes financial information and opinions made by experts. As an example, an appraiser may do an appraisal on the couple's house and then give his opinion as to what the value of the property is or an accountant may evaluate the couple's financial holdings and give his or her opinion as to their financial worth.

During subsequent meetings, the couple then works with the mediator to find compromises that meet both couple's needs. The mediator's job at this point is generally to give examples of how other couples and the court system have handled similar divorce issues that the couple now is facing.

Once both sides have reached an agreement that they are satisfied with, the mediator drafts a legal agreement between the two parties for them to review or share with their individual attorneys as needed.

Individuals who are going through a divorce may find it beneficial to discuss their situation with an experienced Michigan attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Mediation FAQ" accessed Jan. 27, 2015

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