Divorce Mediation & Arbitration in Grand Rapids
A family law mediator is a lawyer who is specially trained in helping couples resolve their differences during a divorce. Having an unbiased party facilitate the conversation can help both parties come to a mutually beneficial agreement. In fact, statistics show that 85% of couples are able to reach agreements through mediation. David Sarnacki has decades of experience in divorce mediation, arbitration, and case evaluation. His comprehensive knowledge of Michigan divorce law and his mastery of dispute resolution skills can help you and your partner avoid the timely, expensive, and emotionally difficult ordeal of litigation. Contact us today to get started.
The Sarnacki Law Firm is committed to helping clients navigate their divorce through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Services we offer include:
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is the art of finding a workable solution to a dispute. It helps you get results you can live at a cost you can control. Since your future is important, it is essential to always use a mediator who knows divorce, custody, and family mediation.
It starts with a meeting between the parties and a trained, neutral mediator. The process involves defining the problems and issues, exploring options, and finding resolutions that meet everyone’s needs. Mediation gives you the opportunity to speak, to be heard, to understand the options, and to maintain control over the divorce process. With mediation, you get to choose the resolution, freely and voluntarily — not a judge.
Arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution that allows couples to avoid having to go to court. As with mediation, arbitration involves the appointment of a neutral third-party, who tries to get the couple to come to some sort of agreeable compromise. Unlike with mediation, however, if the couple cannot come to an agreement, then the third-party decides on a binding resolution, not the divorcing parties themselves.
In many ways, arbitration is very similar to litigation, except that the couple themselves can decide on who the arbitrator is, and it involves much less of the formalities, expense, and time of going to trial. It also allows couples and their families the privacy that open court cannot afford.
Mediation is quicker than fighting in court; it is quicker to schedule and quicker to complete. The number of sessions required to reach a final agreement depends on the complexity of the case and the areas in dispute. Some people resolve their difference in one or two sessions, while others may need five or six.
The cost of mediation depends on the number of sessions, the hours spent working towards an agreement, and the rate being charged by the mediation. The good news is that all of the cost is devoted to problem solving. Unlike with litigation, parties share the cost of the mediator, rather than each having to pay their own attorney to represent them in court.
If you reach a resolution(s), the hard work is done, and the mediator will prepare a written agreement. You then will either have your attorney prepare the court order or you will prepare the order yourself. If you need assistance, we can provide you with the name of a mediation-friendly attorney or a referral to the Legal Assistance Center. If you don’t reach a complete agreement, you may have reached some agreements and paved the way for others. Regardless, you have the option of going to court on the remaining issues or returning to mediation at a later date. You can return to mediation no matter how many court hearings you have gone through.
The mediator must be neutral. While they may offer legal information to the parties as a couple, they cannot do so for one party alone. The mediator is NOT your personal attorney. If you have particular concerns and wish to discuss them in confidence, you must consult with your own attorney. We can help you find a mediation-friendly attorney if you need one
Divorce mediation may not be appropriate in instances where:
Having a trained and experienced mediator is essential for getting the outcome you want through divorce mediation. Please contact our office to get started. We will schedule your first session at a time that works for both parties, then review the mediation agreement. We’re confident that you’ll find divorce mediation a great alternative to fighting in court.