Answers to frequently asked questions about mediation

Many people find themselves facing the threat of litigation over a particular legal issue. They may have tried negotiating a resolution with the other side, but without any guidance, these discussions can quickly lead to frustration. They might feel that their only option is to take their chances in the courtroom.

Some parties may wish to consider mediating their disputes. Mediation is a more structured way of trying to find an agreement on a dispute between parties. Below, we have listed some of the common questions concerning mediation, and some of the ways that the process can help individuals.

What is mediation?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where parties work together with an independent third-party mediator to find a solution to a legal problem or problems. Each side is able to present their needs and concerns, and the mediator will facilitate discussion on the items that need to be addressed.

The process helps individuals focus on finding an agreement. Mediation can be used to address many different legal issues in Michigan, including:

  • Business disputes between co-owners
  • Issues concerning contracts between businesses
  • Probate matters, such as the contest of a will
  • Family law cases, including discussions about the division of marital property as well as child custody and parenting time plans

How is the mediator selected?

Both parties are allowed to express input into the selection of the mediator. They should focus on finding an individual who has experience with the unique issues that they are facing. This could help the process move much more quickly, and allow each side to truly concentrate on coming to an agreement.

Can I have my own attorney present?

Yes. Each party in mediation is allowed to have an attorney to help them understand the issues being discussed. Clients can ask any questions that they may have, which allows them to be able to focus on the matters that need to be resolved. The attorney can also offer advice about the solutions being proposed, and help clients determine if the agreement is in their best interests.

How long does the process take?

The length of the sessions will depend upon the progress being made. The parties can continue to meet until they feel that further discussions are unnecessary. They may try to resolve all issues at one time, or they may schedule several meetings to address specific concerns each time.

What advantages does mediation present over litigation?

The mediation process is much different from litigation, as both sides are able to provide input in the hopes of reaching an agreement. The parties are not presenting their case to someone who will issue a ruling. They are instead engaging in dialog with one another, through an independent third party who may propose solutions that both sides can accept.

Litigation is often very unpredictable. The court can make a decision that leaves both sides unhappy. In mediation, the parties work together to find an agreement that allows each side to pursue interests that are important to them. This process can help individuals and businesses save time and money.

Find out if mediation is right for you

If you have additional questions about mediation, you should speak to an attorney who has experience with these kinds of matters. Your attorney will be able to analyze your specific situation, and help you determine if mediation is the best option for your case.