Friend of the Court
Mediation is the process that occurs when the disputing parties meet with a neutral third party who is trained to assist the parties with effective communication. The mediator does not make decisions, or issue recommendations to the court. The Friend of the Court offers two kinds of mediation.
Statutory Mediation (MCLA 552.513) was established under the Friend of the Court Act that governs the process.
- This is a confidential and voluntary process to resolve issues of custody and parenting time.
- The parties may request this mediation directly from the Friend of the Court by writing a letter and the Friend of the Court will schedule the parties in when there is agreement from both parties to participate.
- A Friend of the Court employee who mediates the case cannot investigate or enforce this case in the future.
Court Rule Mediation (MCR 3.216) was enacted by the Supreme Court to provide Domestic Relations Mediation to all cases that the court felt would benefit from the service.
- This process is confidential but the court can order the parties to attend.
- All issues can be mediated including custody, parenting time, property, debts, assets or spousal and child support.
- The court must order the parties into mediation and specifically identify the Friend of the Court to provide the service, or the parties will be expected to pay for the services of a private mediator.
- If the parties agree, and the mediator is willing, the mediator can become an evaluative mediator and issue a recommendation to the parties and their attorneys.
For more information see the Mediation Brochure.