Mediation vs. Litigation in Michigan Divorces: What’s the Difference?
Given the chance to choose the easy way or the hard way, most would pick the first option. When it comes to a Michigan divorce, though, there may be no easy way to resolve the issues involved. But this does not mean there are no good options for handling your divorce.
Two of the most popular options in Michigan are mediation and litigation. Each method is vastly different, however. Knowing the differences between these two processes can help you decide which path your divorce should take.
Mediation Looks for Compromises and Agreements
Mediation is a method whereby you and your spouse attempt to resolve some or all of your divorce issues with the help of a mediator. The mediator’s role is to foster discussion between the two of you and help you and your spouse come to an agreement on the issues in your divorce.
Mediation in Michigan is voluntary, although a judge could order you and your spouse to attend mediation in your case. Mediation may be a good choice for your case if:
- You and your spouse are open to compromise and reaching agreements
- You and your spouse can have civil and productive conversations
- You and your spouse have been open with your finances
- You and your spouse would like to avoid contentious court hearings
Conversely, mediation may not be successful in your divorce case if:
- You and your spouse have stopped talking or cannot communicate effectively
- You or your spouse are each committed to your opinions and positions
- You suspect your spouse may not have been truthful regarding assets and income
The mediator will attempt to help you and your spouse reach agreements on issues such as asset division, child custody and visitation, and alimony. However, neither you nor your spouse is legally obligated to accept any proposed agreement.
Litigation in Michigan Divorce Cases
If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on any divorce-related issues, those issues will need to be litigated in court. Litigation simply refers to the process of presenting arguments to the court and allowing the judge to decide what should happen with that specific issue.
Litigation can be costly and time-consuming. However, it may be the right choice for your situation if you and your spouse are not on speaking terms or cannot compromise. It may also be a good option if you feel there are special circumstances that should be taken into account when deciding issues.
Unlike mediation, orders of the court are enforceable and are to be followed, even if you do not agree with them.
Seek Help from a Qualified Michigan Family Lawyer
While legal counsel is not needed for either option, having the right family lawyer by your side can make a world of difference. Your attorney can provide advice about proposed agreements and effectively present your case to the judge in litigation.
If you need experienced and skillful legal representation in your Michigan divorce, reach out and speak with us at Gucciardo Family Law.
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