What is mediation? 

Mediation is when a neutral third party helps to people or groups of people to get to the bottom of the issues that bring them there, talk through the issues and try to come to a resolution on those issues.

What kinds of cases are mediated? 

Any type of case can be mediated.

What issues are dealt with in mediation? 

The list is endless.  However, the primary issues presented are who should have physical custody of the children, how much parenting time the other parent should get, amount of child support, amount of spousal support, or how personal property or real estate should be divided.

What if the issues aren’t just legal? 

The issues between two people that lead them to mediation are rarely just legal.  Especially in divorce or custody situations, there is a history between you that goes back years and that will always come into play in mediation. 

What if we have been ordered by the judge to go to mediation? 

The judge may tell you the name or one or more mediators to choose from when they order you to do mediation or they may tell you to agree on a mediator.  The judge will required you to attend at least one session with the mediator to see what issues can be resolved. 

What if we will never be able to agree? 

Many times people think that mediation is pointless because they will never be able to agree on anything or they have never agreed before.  However, when a neutral person gets involved and tries to get down to the bottom of the issues and what each person’s position is, and why they have that position, you would be surprised how agreements can be reached.  There have been many a people who have walked into mediation thinking no agreement will be reached, and they have been pleasantly surprised.  People often end up realizing that they maintain more control over the outcome by reaching an agreement then leaving the matter up to the judge.

What if we go through mediation and are unable to reach an agreement? 

Sometimes the parties are unable to reach an agreement between them. If that occurs, the procedure from there will depend on the nature of the court proceedings, if any, and what other matters are scheduled through the court.  Your attorney would better be able to advise you of this.  If you have been court ordered to mediation and are unable to reach an agreement, the mediator would notify the court that the mediation session occurred but no agreement was reached.

What if an agreement is reached? 

The mediator will place the agreement in writing for both parties to review and sign.  Often that will occur around the same time that the agreement is reached so that the final agreement will be memorialized.

What if neither of us have attorneys? 

You can attend mediation whether you or the other party are represented by attorneys.  In those cases, it can be helpful to have a mediator to explain any legal issues.

If we don’t have attorneys, can a mediator help us prepare the papers we need for the judge? 

Unfortunately, the mediator cannot help you prepare legal documents.  That will have to be left up to attorneys or forms the court may have available.

What if both of us have attorneys? 

The attorneys are welcome to be present or not, if they believe that their presence may hinder an agreement.  Most often, when parties have attorneys they are present during the mediation process.

What if one of us has an attorney and the other does not? 

The attorney is welcome to be present, but should be aware that may cause the other party to feel as if they have no control over the situation and could make it difficult to come to an agreement.

What if my attorney does not come to the mediation but I want their advice during or after? 

You can ask at any time to discuss an issue with your attorney.  There may be times that the mediator suggests that you do so.

How much does mediation cost? 

The costs of mediation are on a sliding scale based on the income of the parties.  An initial amount, or a deposit, must be paid up front before the mediation can begin, and if the mediation goes past that deposit, the hourly rate of the mediator must be paid.  Often, we try to gauge the difficulty of the situation between the parties and how much time may be necessary to review documents, briefs on issues or to be set aside for mediation itself to determine the deposit amount in addition to the income of the parties.

Who pays for the mediation? 

The mediation may be paid by one party or the other, or often split between the parties.

Who sets up the mediation? 

If you are represented by an attorney you should have your attorney contact The Nichols Law Firm at (517) 432-9000. If you do not have an attorney, either party may contact The Nichols Law Firm to do so.

How long does mediation take? 

It depends on the complexity of the issues and the relationship between the parties.  Some people are able to come to an agreement within a few hours.  Other times it can take several sessions ranging in time from 4-8 hours each.

A minimum deposit will be requested of two hours time and that may increase depending on the nature of the issues to be addressed at mediation.  The rate paid per hour will be based on the following scale:

If the parties are splitting the cost of mediation:

  • Parties combined income less than $50,000            $50/hour
  • Parties combined income between $50,001-75,000    $60/hour
  • Parties combined income between $75,001-100,000    $70/hour
  • Parties combined income between $100,001-150,000    $85/hour
  • Parties combined income $150,001 and above        $100/hour

If one party is paying for the cost of mediation:

  • Party’s income less than $30,000                $50/hour
  • Party’s income between $30,001-50,000            $60/hour
  • Party’s income between $55,001-75,000            $70/hour
  • Party’s income between $75,001-100,000            $85/hour
  • Party’s income $100,001 and above                $100/hour

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.