10 Benefits of Mediation

Mediation is a positive alternative to traditional court proceedings, especially in the family law arena which deals with sensitive and complex issues.  Mediation is an out-of-court process that involves a neutral, third party [the mediator] who facilitates a conversation between spouses to help them reach a mutually satisfying resolution.  Below are 10 key benefits of the mediation process.

  1. Cost-effective.
  2. The parties control the discussion and outcome.
  3. The mediator can provide more time and attention; the parties are not just another case number to be called by the Judge after sitting for hours in the courtroom.
  4. The parties do not have to feel pressured or rushed into a decision.  The parties can control the tempo and the timeline based on their unique circumstances.
  5. Mediation leads to detailed and well-thought-out resolutions.
  6. Allows for greater stability post-divorce, as parties will often have a step-by-step game plan for handling issues that arise and/or they agree to return to mediation.
  7. The parties can agree to invite various professionals to the mediation sessions to help explore options.  For example, the parties may want a mortgage lender on hand to discuss refinancing options or a CPA to discuss tax consequences of certain transactions.
  8. Confidential and private.  If a resolution is not reached at mediation, conversations that took place during the mediation cannot be used against either party at a later date in Court.  As for privacy, mediation often takes place in the attorney's or mediator's office and when an agreement is reached, a private Mediation Agreement is drafted and signed by the parties and it does not have to be filed with the Court. 
  9.  Encourages creative problem solving unique to each family, not cookie-cutter solutions/agreements.
  10. Preserves Relationships. Mediation encourages a respectful restructuring of the family, helping the parties to think about goals versus positions.

Attorney Jessica Pospiech Heltsley enjoys her role as a mediator.  She has helped many couples successfully restructure during their divorce process and, ultimately, save a lot of time, money, and stress.  If you are interested in hearing more about mediation and Jessica's process, please do not hesitate to reach out: (734) 531-8554; jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com.

 

Co-Parenting Tips for Divorced Parents

Practicing exclusively in family law, I have seen many co-parenting relationships spiral out of control, but I have also seen many parents succeed.  Most rewarding, I have worked with clients who, at our initial meeting, tell me there is no hope of co-parenting with their soon-to-be ex-spouse, but later find out that with the right mindset and communication tools, it can work for the sake of their children.  The parents transform and work together in ways they couldn't imagine at the start of their process.

In my opinion, based on what I have seen, one of the hardest parts of a co-parenting relationship is putting aside the hurt, anger, or other feelings that adults experience during the divorce process.  It is certainly important to address the emotional aspects of a divorce and there are many options for clients as they move through the process (e.g. therapy, life coach, yoga, other self-care regimens, etc.). The key is to avoid working through these feelings in the presence of the children.

When children see their divorced/separated parents communicating respectfully, attending sport/extracurricular events in the same building, and appreciating one another as a parent, children can thrive.  Do not just take it from me.  I came across this wonderful article, "Co-Parenting Tips for Divorced Parents" at Helpguide.org and it provides some wonderful tips for those who are interested in a successful co-parenting relationship.  It all starts with a desire to make it work, knowing that each parent will learn along the way; we are all human and make mistakes, but putting the kids at the forefront will be worth your while.

How is your co-parenting relationship?  If you have a success story you'd like to share, I'd love to hear about it!  Please feel free to reach out: (734) 531-8554; jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com.

Tax Changes and Divorcing Couples

There are many news articles out there discussing how the new tax legislation will affect divorcing couples.  Many articles claim that the number of couples choosing to divorce this year will increase due to the changes that affect alimony, which do not come into effect until January 1, 2019.  While I am not a tax expert, I continue to stay up-to-date with how legislation can affect my clients.

Here is the link to an article explaining the key changes that affect divorcing couples: What Does the 2017 Tax Law Mean for Divorcing Couples?

Couples facing divorce are usually dealing with the fear of the unknown.  Changes in the tax legislation can add to that fear, making some couples feel like they need to rush to Court and hurry through a settlement.  However, there are other options.  Couples can choose a more dignified divorce process, the Collaborative Divorce Process, that allows them to sit down and problem solve with a team of professionals, which can include a financial neutral and tax experts.  Restructuring one's family is not something that should be thrown together overnight, but rather, it should involve detailed, well-thought out solutions, unique to each family's situation.   Find comfort in having a team of professionals there for you to help you think creatively and plan for the future.  If you're interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to contact me and schedule a consultation about your divorce options: (734) 531-8554; jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com.

Does Your Lawyer Encourage Healing?

When you think of an attorney, what defining qualities come to mind?  How about peacemaker, problem solver, or counselor?  Some people assume that in order to be a successful attorney, one must be aggressive and zealous.  However, it is very possible for an attorney to advocate for their client while simultaneously encouraging a respectful tone and atmosphere among the legal disputes.  This is especially the case with family law issues.  

Attorneys specializing in family law are dealing with some of the most intimate and sensitive issues in people's lives.  The attorneys should not be there to exacerbate the issues and differences between the parties, but rather, to help the parties cope with feelings of hurt or anger and to collaborate with the appropriate professionals for specific issues (e.g. therapists, financial advisers, etc.)  Attorneys are educators regarding the law but they should also be guiding their clients to the right resources.  The end goal is to help a family restructure in such a way that they feel confident about their future and their children's future.  

I've had clients meet with me who were scared of their previous attorney.  They were afraid to call the attorney and "bother" them and they were also afraid of how much the attorney would upset their spouse - "stirring the pot" so to say.  It is extremely important that you feel comfortable with your attorney.  Family law matters will often last for several months or even years; that is a long time to commit to a relationship with someone you're afraid to approach. 

While it might seem difficult to view your attorney in this light, I challenge you to think about the personality traits you'd like your attorney to have as they guide you through a difficult and emotional process.  What traits do you envision?  How do you want to feel after interactions with your attorney?

Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

              P: (734) 531-8554

              E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

Divorce Does Not Need to Destroy Holiday Celebrations

When going through a divorce, it is usually hard for parents to imagine spending any holiday time away from their children.  Most parents will agree to a holiday parenting schedule that alternates major holidays on an annual basis.  For example, 1 parent receives Christmas Eve in even-numbered years and Christmas Day in odd-numbered years, and the remainder of school break is divided equally.  Sometimes this is the only "fair" way to divide the time that both parents want every year and it is often used as a "default" schedule in the event of a disagreement.  

What if your family has special traditions or travels for the holidays?  The beauty of utilizing methods such as the Collaborative Divorce Practice is to give parents the opportunity to have a genuine and detailed discussion about schedules with their children.  When parents can sit down and discuss their feelings and take the time to listen to each other, results can be amazing.  Implementing this mutual respect also encourages parents to work together to make changes to the schedule when necessary.

It is important for parents to take advantage of the quality time that they do receive each year and to encourage the children to have fun with the other parent, as well.  Children should never feel "bad" for having to leave a parent during the holiday.  They should be able to enjoy time at each home.  If the children feel like their separated parents support the schedule, they will have good feelings about it, too.  

If you're considering divorce but worry about the parenting time schedule, holidays, and important details of raising your children with a soon to be ex-spouse, find out more about the collaborative process.  Divorce is stressful enough.

Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

              P: (734) 531-8554

              E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

17th Annual Collaborative Professionals Networking & Educational Forum

IACP stands for International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and I am a proud member of this group.  Every year, the IACP holds an International Forum where collaborative professionals from all over the world join together for networking and educational experiences.  This year, the Forum was held in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I had the pleasure of meeting professionals from all over the United States, Canada, Europe, and China.  It's hard to put into words the energy and inspiration that I felt while attending this event.  These collaborative professionals and I truly believe in the Collaborative Practice.  We see the many benefits and life-changing moments that this process can bring to our clients during difficult and emotional times in life.

The Collaborative Practice is an out-of-court process for handling divorce and family law matters. Parties will work with a team of collaboratively trained professionals in an atmosphere much more conducive to the emotions parties experience during these difficult times.  This process focuses not only on the divorce, but on the future and toward positive restructuring the family. The parties can utilize neutral professionals such as a divorce coach, financial specialist, and child specialist to help with the various issues.  Each spouse will also have their own collaboratively trained attorney to represent them.  At the end of the day, the clients are making the decisions about their family, not a Judge.  The process also promotes an atmosphere of mutual respect, maintains confidentiality, and requires open and full disclosure so that the clients can make informed decisions.

The Collaborative Practice is one option for parties going through a divorce in Michigan.  To find out about the other options and to decide if the collaborative approach is right for your family, meet with a collaboratively trained professional to find out more.  You can locate collaborative professionals in Michigan at www.collaborativepracticemi.org.  Also, please do not hesitate to contact my office to learn more:

Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

              P: (734) 531-8554

              E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

 

Minor Children & Post-Divorce Changes

I had the opportunity to speak with some adults who were children of a divorce.  A common theme that was reflected on was the number of changes the individual experienced after their parents' divorce.  The adults that I spoke with remember feeling as if they weren't always the #1 priority in their parents' lives during and immediately after the divorce.  For example, one person commented that they felt one of their parents was more interested in finding a new romantic partner than spending quality time with the children.  The individual, as a child, still needed time to wrap her head around the idea that her parents were divorced, let alone start to meet potential stepparents.  While it's certainly not wrong or uncommon for individuals to move on romantically after a divorce, timing can mean everything when children are involved.  Perhaps the adult feels ready to date, but the child may not be ready to meet anyone new right away.   It's important to be extra sensitive to children's feelings during and after the divorce and to make sure you're checking in on them often.  Of course, every child is different - age, maturity, and level of conflict during the divorce, can all play a role in how families restructure.    

A common phrase is that "children are resilient."  Even if that is true, it's important to stay in tune with your children's feelings. The children may "seem" to be doing "fine" but there might be deeper issues or feelings that are not being addressed.  It's important to recognize when it might be beneficial to enroll children in counseling to help them cope with all of the changes and the stress of the divorce.  In the Collaborative Divorce Process, neutral child specialists can be retained to meet with the children and find out how they are handling the divorce and to learn what the children would like to see happen.  There are other methods and professionals to help the children during the divorce process, as well, and you should meet with an attorney to discuss these options.

Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

              P: (734) 531-8554

              E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

Make Child Support Payment in Cash - New PayNearMe Option!

Want to make a cash payment toward your child support obligation?  Now you can, statewide!  Check out the link below to learn more about the new PayNearMe option that allows parents to pay child support with cash at any 7-Eleven or Family Dollar Store. 

https://www.3rdcc.org/Documents/Administration/General/PressReleases/PR_PayNearMe_Child_Support_Payment_Option.pdf

Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

              P: (734) 531-8554

              E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

Divorcing Couple Mistaken for Best Friends

This morning I was sitting outside of the courtroom next to a man and woman who were waiting to be officially divorced by the Judge.  I knew this because their conversation clearly discussed exchanges and transactions associated with divorce (e.g. visit to Secretary of State to transfer title of vehicles and discussions about parenting time exchanges and their children).   However, had I not heard the actual details of the conversation and only focused on the tone, non-verbal communication, and facial expressions of the people, I would have thought they were best friends discussing their latest adventures in life together.  The amount of respect these individuals had for one another was fascinating and refreshing.  I knew right away the couple had to have utilized the collaborative practice for their divorce, or at least mediation.

Sure enough, once in the courtroom, it was made clear to me that they did in fact utilize collaborative divorce attorneys and, based on what I observed, their children’s future is in good hands even with separated parents.  The power of collaborating through your divorce process never ceases to amaze me when you observe the benefits firsthand.  These individuals committed to a process that focused on quality solutions.  They were able to resolve issues with one another in a manner that did not damage their children.  It’s amazing to think about the future you can create for your family when respect and honesty are at the forefront of a process and parties are able to directly participate in finding solutions.  The process is still likely to involve intense discussions and disagreements; however, when emotions are navigated through a calm and honest atmosphere, solutions can be found and relationships can be restructured and repaired.  Had the parties immediately resorted to filing motions and planning attacks against one another in the courtroom when divorce discussions got hard, I’m sure I would have been listening to a much different conversation in the court hallway this morning.

If you are considering divorce and think the collaborative practice might be a good option for your family, please do not hesitate to contact me for more information.  Educate yourself on the different methods for handling a divorce and if it is at all possible to salvage respect with your spouse and protect your children from the often damaging effects of divorce, you should at least find out more.  

Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

              P: (734) 531-8554

              E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

Collaborative Divorce Positively Restructures Families, Protects Children, and Diffuses Fear of the Unknown

Whether you’ve personally been through a divorce or not, I’m sure there are many words that come to mind when you hear the “D” word: fear, high conflict, damaged children, stress, blindsided, misunderstood, disrespect, etc.  The list goes on and on.

Does the divorce process HAVE to generate fear and negative feelings?  Absolutely not.  More and more divorcing couples are starting to realize that, while divorce will always remain an emotional and life-changing event, it does not have to destroy a family.  A Collaborative Divorce completely changes how a family proceeds through their divorce.  This process takes away the threat of Court and provides a safer and less stressful environment for resolving conflict.  This safe environment involves a series of meetings guided by collaboratively trained professionals including lawyers, mental health professionals, child specialists, and financial advisers to negotiate settlement.   The key to a Collaborative Divorce is the profound respect provided to both parties and their interests/values, as well as the professional support to manage the emotional landscape.  If children are involved, parties have the ability to write the story of their children’s divorce and protect them from the damaging effects of high conflict.

Choosing the collaborative process does not mean that the parties are walking into the divorce 100% agreeable on all terms.  Emotions can still be high, conflicts exist, and there are often deep feelings of hurt and distrust.  However, the good news is that this process will deal with the hurt and conflict in a respectful manner, allowing the parties to address their emotions with the help of a divorce coach.  Imagine being intimately involved in crafting creative solutions for your family and finding some closure to the pain you feel during the divorce process.   THAT is what helps a family positively restructure post-divorce.  THAT is what diffuses fear of the unknown and endless Court battles in the future which often lead to less closure and increased conflict.  When parties are in control of the settlement process, they understand and appreciate the intricate details of their agreement and can move forward accordingly.

The most important thing to understand is that YOU HAVE OPTIONS.  Make sure you contact an attorney who will describe the various divorce options available to you and your spouse – i.e. litigation, mediation, arbitration, or Collaborative Divorce.  The reality is that only about 2% of divorce cases actually go to trial, so give yourself the ability to dictate the tone of your divorce and do not assume that it has to be a litigious Court battle based on conflicting positions.

Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

              P: (734) 531-8554

              E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

Divorce and Abandonment

It is a common misconception that if you leave the marital home during the divorce process, you will face issues with “abandonment.”  Often times, it is a spouse throwing around this word to instill fear, but without any real understanding of what it means.

Once a divorce case is filed, although it is often awkward and a little uncomfortable, both parties have the right to remain in the marital home until the divorce is finalized.  However, it is not uncommon that at some point in time it becomes unbearable for parties to continue living together. Sometimes, there are serious safety concerns (physical abuse, substance abuse issues, etc.) that require one spouse to leave the home.

Despite what your spouse may threaten, if you do leave the home during the divorce process, the marital home still remains an asset to equitably divide.  However, this usually means that the two of you will continue sharing all household expenses in the same manner that you were prior to the filing for divorce. Therefore, prior to moving out it is important to consider this financial dilemma.  Some individuals are fortunate enough to have family members or friends nearby to stay with, free of charge, while the divorce settlement is negotiated.  Even though the home is still considered a marital asset, it is important to consider the length of time that you will be out of the home, as this may affect who is ultimately awarded the home in the divorce and you may want to make arrangements to gather your personal belongings to avoid items being destroyed or disappearing.

It is another misconception that by moving out of the marital home during the divorce process, you will be “charged” with abandonment for leaving your children.  If you have children, the best option is to work out a temporary custody, parenting time, and support agreement prior to moving so that you and your spouse ensure that the children maintain a healthy relationship with both of you.  If you cannot work out an agreement regarding your children prior to moving, then contact an attorney immediately.  You want to ensure that you are having some sort of contact with your children pending the divorce to protect yourself with respect to custody and parenting time issues.  This situation should not to be confused with the State of Michigan charging a parent for criminal neglect and abuse of a child (see Michigan’s statute MCL 750.136bfor definitions).

Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

              P: (734) 531-8554

              E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

    Information Needed To Run Child Support

    The child support amount recommended by the Michigan Child Support Formula is presumed accurate.  The formula is based on the needs of the child and the actual resources of each parent.  Therefore, it is important that you provide your attorney with detailed information to input into the formula for an accurate result.

    The following is a list of some of the most important information that you should gather prior to meeting with your attorney to run child support numbers:

    • Your gross annual income and opposing party’s gross annual income;
    • Provide most recent tax return, W-2’s, 1099’s, year-to-date paystubs, bonus information, and other income information.  If income varies year-to-year for either party, it is helpful to review the 3 previous years’ of income to determine an average.
    • Any monthly health care costs provided for the minor child(ren) by you and/or the other party (note: it is important to obtain information that illustrates what your monthly payments would be if you just covered yourself versus what you pay to add the child(ren) – the difference in those amounts is what you will receive credit for in the formula);
    • The number of overnights that each parent exercises (note: in some situations, this is still an unknown number as the parties are still working on a parenting time arrangement, the formula can be run with a few different options to get an idea of the child support amount);
    • The monthly/annual amount of work-related daycare expenses paid by either party.
    • Information regarding mandatory retirement plan contributions as a condition of employment.
    • Any other mandatory withholdings as a condition of employment (e.g. union dues).
    • Amount of alimony paid to spouses from prior marriages.

    Every situation is unique and sometimes the income information is more complex, like in situations where a party runs their own business or bonus and overtime payments vary drastically month-to-month.  However, the above list is a good starting point when discussing child support.  It is important that you share your specific circumstances with an attorney, as the information can largely affect how the numbers are ran.  As a parent, you want to ensure that the minor child(ren) are receiving adequate support while at each parent’s household.

    Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

                  P: (734) 531-8554

                  E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

    Social Media Safety

    At the beginning of any divorce or custody matter, I talk to my clients about appropriate use of social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).  While I don’t necessarily recommend completely shutting down all of your social media pages, I DO recommend that you withhold from writing any posts on your own page and writing comments on other people’s pages. Reason being, I have seen social media used against parties far too often in the emotional and contentious divorce and custody world.  Whether your post was a joke, lighthearted, or a mistake, it might be used against you.

    While the article below does not involve individuals going through a divorce or custody dispute, it’s an interesting read about the consequences of posting negative information on Facebook about another individual.

    Woman Puts Vulgar Posts About Ex-Friend on Facebook

    It’s understandable that we are all excited to utilize Facebook’s newest emojis (Facebook’s New Emojis), but be extremely cautious about your activity on social media pages, especially when you are involved in a pending divorce or custody matter

    Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

                  P: (734) 531-8554

                  E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

    Hello From The Other Side

    Communication with the ex.  I know; you’d rather not.  However, if you two have children together, it is often unavoidable and it is necessary for the children’s well-being.  For this blog post, I am specifically referencing e-mail & written communication.  I advise clients to treat communication with their ex as if it were a business relationship.  Try not to let your emotions take control of the keyboard and really focus on the topics that need to be discussed.  If you sense the other party is trying to get under your skin (and trust me, they know how to do it), as long as the e-mail is not dealing with an emergency involving your children or you are required to respond by a certain deadline, step away from the computer and take a breather before responding.  Do not be afraid to reach out to your attorney for advice on how to handle any specific communication.

    If you or your ex are tempted to send several e-mails throughout the day, rather than bombarding each other’s inboxes, I suggest that you keep an open Word Document/notepad nearby and jot down all of your thoughts/questions/concerns throughout the day. At the end of the day, just compile one, detailed e-mail.  This will eliminate a lot of back and forth and it will also give you peace of mind that you are not forgetting any important topics to discuss.

    Sometimes it is imperative that parties have specific details in their custody and parenting time orders regarding communication methods and etiquette.  For example, one common tool that is often ordered or agreed to is use of a website called “Our Family Wizard” (https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/).   A one-year subscription to this service is $99.00 per parent, or you can purchase a two-year subscription for $179.00 per parent.  This tool essentially allows parties to keep a detailed record of e-mails sent and received and even allows attorney/Court access to the e-mails if a party permits this feature or it is ordered by the Court.  The e-mails are easily printable for attachments to Court documents and/or for use at an evidentiary hearing.  The website also allows parties to exchange documents, maintain an expense log (for children’s expenses that are shared between the parties), and to maintain a shared calendar, which is useful when planning vacations and monitoring the children’s extracurricular and academic activities.  The website provides additional information regarding the many benefits that it has to offer.

    Whether or not parties are utilizing Our Family Wizard, there are various provisions that can be included in a Court Order to try and limit/avoid communication disputes, as well.  For example, the parties can agree to communicate via e-mail/text message only, unless it is an emergency.   Parties can set deadlines for responding to e-mails (e.g. within 48 hours) and limit the topic of communication (e.g. children’s issues only).   The type of provisions that are necessary really depend on the parties and their circumstances, so it is important that you discuss any past or predicted communication difficulties with your attorney.  The more detail in an order the better; the goal is to keep the children out of the middle and allow co-parenting to occur in an effective manner.

    *These tips may not be applicable in every case.  In some situations, parties are prohibited from communicating to each other due to safety concerns/domestic violence, and/or pursuant to a Personal Protection Order or No Contact Order in a criminal matter.  It is important that you consult with an attorney regarding your specific situation.

    Pospiech Family Law & Mediation, PLLC is focused on finding resolutions that help your family move forward.  Attorney Jessica L. Pospiech provides a calming influence and gives her clients the care and attention that is so necessary for families facing difficult and emotional circumstances.  Ms. Pospiech ensures that she is readily available for her clients’ questions and concerns.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  

                  P: (734) 531-8554

                  E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com

    Why Mediation?

    Many people facing family law issues have heard the term mediation, but it’s not always clear what this process involves and why it can be beneficial.  If you are ordered to attend or agree to attend mediation, schedule a meeting with your attorney to go over the details of what to expect in your specific case.  If you are not represented by an attorney, contact your mediator to get a better understanding of his or her process and expectations.

    In general, mediation is a method for settling disputes outside of the courtroom.  It is a somewhat informal process that allows parties (with or without an attorney representing them) to meet with a neutral third party who will help facilitate discussions to resolve outstanding disputes.  It is important to understand that this neutral third party does not represent either party and cannot provide legal advice.

    Mediation is extremely beneficial for family law issues since they involve sensitive and emotional topics (e.g. divorce, custody, parenting time disputes, child and spousal support, property division, LGBTQ issues, etc.).

    Here are some benefits of mediation:

    • Voluntary participation – Even if you are ordered to attend mediation, you are not required to stay for any certain period of time and you are not required to reach an agreement.
    • Decreases overall cost – While mediation seems expensive in the moment (i.e. you’re paying a mediator’s hourly rate in addition to your own attorney’s hourly rate) it can save costs in the long run by avoiding several court dates and extensive trial preparation.
    • Active role in planning your future – At mediation, you play a lead role in planning your future.  No one knows the intricate details and unique characteristics of your family better than you, so you should be involved in crafting agreements that work for you and your family, especially when children are involved.  Statistics show that parties are more likely to follow an agreement that they crafted themselves than one decided by an unknown third-party (i.e. Judge or Friend of the Court).
    • Tool for organizing information – Often times, attending mediation prior to filing your divorce or custody matter, or shortly after filing, is helpful to determine what information/documentation needs to be gathered and exchanged between the parties in order to help the mediation process run smoothly.  There is nothing wrong with attending more than one mediation session.  Mediation is about helping parties make informed decisions.  Exchanging information does not have to be contentious, but rather, it can be helpful for both parties and mediation can encourage this amicable exchange.
    • Opportunity to explain your feelings  – Most disputes in family law are not solved with a mathematical equation.  Sometimes a person just needs to know their feelings are being heard and understood – whether or not the other party agrees or feels the same way.  These are the type of discussions that you don’t often have in the courtroom hallway, but rather, at mediation where people can be honest and open about what they are experiencing mentally and emotionally.  When a person has the opportunity to get some of their thoughts and feelings off of their chest, it can help them move forward and start to discuss the legal issues that must be sorted through.  Mediation allows that time to express and reflect on your emotions.

    Attorney Pospiech serves as a domestic relations mediator for your family law issues.  Her hourly rate is $175.  Please do not hesitate to contact our office to request additional details about Ms. Pospiech’s mediation process and availability.  

                  P: (734) 531-8554

                  E: jessica@mifamilylawfirm.com