Mediations and Facilitations

When a neutral, knowledgeable 3rd party can bridge a divide

What mediations and facilitations have in common is that using these methods results in more people understanding and resolving their issues without needing to go to court. Parties will be in knowledgeable, experienced hands if a Kelly Law Firm attorney is chosen for a mediation or facilitation.

How do mediation and facilitation in Michigan differ?

Mediation is focused on getting parties in a dispute to agree on a settlement or course of action. Sometimes the parties to a disagreement will elect to try mediation. Increasingly, however, judges require parties to try mediation as a method of reducing the court’s caseload. Issues in a divorce, for example, frequently are decided through mediation.

Sometimes a mediator is mutually selected by the disputing parties. Other times, the attorneys representing each party will select as mediator an an attorney from another practice, someone who heretofore has had no involvement in the case or with their clients. In either situation, maintaining neutrality is a key principal for the mediator as he or she guides the parties to explore settlement options.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement during mediation, the matter will be decided in court. However, mediation often succeeds in resolving disputes because the opposing parties appreciate having more control over the settlement, it can allow them to explore options unavailable in court, it can take less time than a trial, it can cost less money, and it can allow more of the settlement details to remain private.

facilitation is a process that parties choose when facing an issue that is complex or not clearly understood or one that either is or could be a subject of controversy. A facilitation is often occasioned by a question rather than by a disagreement. To enlist a facilitator might be a preventative strategy.

For example, if a city had a large, abandoned industrial property with environmental problems, the legislative body might hire a facilitator to help research and guide the discussion of alternatives for transforming the property.

Or, siblings might hold a facilitated discussion on whether to keep the old family vacation cottage and, if so, how to maintain its upkeep and pay the taxes.

In a facilitation, the parties determine the agenda and the goals and agree on a process for decision making. The facilitator employs his or her skills to keep the process on track, to encourage communication, to keep records, and to promote collaboration and consensus.