Mediation can Reduce Conflict in Divorce, Michigan Family Lawyer Says

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Mediated discussion can help divorcing spouses with a history of conflict reach agreements in a less adversarial, less costly setting than the courtroom, says Bloomfield Hills-based family law attorney Paul J. Tafelski.

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Paul J. Tafelski

Mediation carries the potential to remove the conflict from the divorce and get both sides working together on finding a resolution.

Disputes that arise during a divorce often reflect the fight styles that were recently identified in a University of Michigan study of marital conflict, Bloomfield Hills family lawyer Paul J. Tafelski said this week.

“Unfortunately, a couple that engages in destructive behavior during a marriage will be that way during a Michigan divorce, and that can increase the chances that there will be a hotly contested, lengthy courtroom battle,” said Tafelski, the principal of the Michigan family law firm of Paul J. Tafelski, P.C. “But those battles can end up being very costly.

“The best way to avoid that situation is to really make an effort to resolve differences through mediation, which generally provides a much calmer, less adversarial setting.”

The University of Michigan study, recently published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, analyzed how different conflict patterns can affect marriages over time. For instance, the divorce rate was particularly high among couples in which one spouse engaged in “constructive” behavior while the other spouse “withdrew.”

Not surprisingly, couples in which both spouses used constructive strategies had lower divorce rates.

“It follows that those couples would have a less-heated divorce,” Tafelski said. “However, that doesn’t mean that those are the only couples that can go through the divorce process in a relatively calm fashion. Mediation could potentially work out well for any couple.”

Mediation involves a neutral third-party who works with both spouses and their attorneys to reach an agreement on matters such as property division and child support.

The goal is to find common areas of agreement and to build on those agreements until a final settlement is reached that both sides accept as fair and reasonable, Tafelski said.

“Increasingly, you’re seeing other professionals involved in the mediation process, such as psychologists, counselors and social workers as well as accountants and financial planners,” Tafelski said. “Mediation carries the potential to remove the conflict from the divorce and get both sides working together on finding a resolution.”

The dissolution of a marriage can be a stressful and emotional experience for everyone involved, regardless of the conflict patterns that lead up to the divorce, Tafelski said.
“That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney who will pay close attention to a client’s needs and seek out solutions, such as mediation, that will help to reduce that emotional toll,” he said.

“By that same token, if an agreement can’t be reached through mediation, a spouse’s attorney must be prepared to aggressively protect the clients’ rights in court.”

About the Bloomfield Hills Law Firm of Paul J. Tafelski, P.C.
The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan family law firm of Paul J. Tafelski, P.C., emphasizes mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, but is always prepared to fight for its clients in the courtroom. Paul J. Tafelski, P.C., provides insight and expertise about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, divorce, asset division, spousal support, child custody, child support and domestic violence. Contact the firm at (248) 451-2200 or through its online form to schedule an initial consultation and discuss short-term and long-term plans.

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