Mediation

 

 

GENESEE COUNTY PROBATE COURT OVERVIEW OF PROBATE COURT MEDIATION

Mediation:  Michigan Court Rule 2.411
 

What is mediation?  Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party facilitates communication between parties, assists in identifying issues, and helps explore solutions to promote a mutually acceptable settlement.  A mediator has no authoritative decision-making power.

How are mediators selected?  Parties may select their own mediator.  If the parties do not select a mediator, the case will be sent to the Genesee County Dispute Resolution Center in Flint, MI.

How is mediation scheduled?  The Court will contact the Dispute Resolution Center and notify them of the names and phone numbers of the parties involved in the mediation.  The mediator will immediately contact the parties to schedule the mediation.

What happens during mediation?  The mediator will explain the mediation process, and discuss with the parties and counsel (if any) the facts and issues involved.  The mediation will continue until (a) a settlement is reached;  (b) the mediator determines that a settlement is not likely to be reached; (c) the end of the first mediation session; or (d) until a time agreed by the parties.

What happens at the end of mediation?  Within 7 days after the completion of mediation, the mediator will advise the court, stating only the date of completion of the process, who participated, whether settlement was reached, and whether further proceedings are contemplated.  If the matter is settled through mediation, any written agreement will be sent to the Court.  Within 21 days after the settlement has been reached, the attorneys will prepare and submit appropriate documents to conclude the case.  If no attorneys are involved, the Court may prepare the appropriate documents to conclude the case.

Is mediation confidential?  Statements made during the mediation, including statements made in written documents, may not be used in any other proceedings, including trial.  Any communications between the parties or counsel and the mediator relating to a mediation are confidential and shall not be disclosed without the written consent of all parties.

Is anything not confidential?  The mediator's report to the court, information necessary for the court to administer and evaluate the program, and information necessary for the court to resolve disputes regarding the mediator's fee may not be confidential.  In addition, if the matter is resolved and reduced to a written agreement the agreement may be provided to the court.

What kinds of cases may be sent to mediation?  Michigan Court Rule 5.143 states that the Probate Court may submit to mediation "one or more requests for relief in any contested proceeding."  Matters such as appointment of a guardian for incapacitated individuals, issues concerning title to personal or real property, and claims against estates.

When may a case be sent to mediation?  At any time, after consultation with the parties, the court may order that a contested matter be submitted to mediation.  Michigan Court Rule 2.410(C)(1).  Matters may also be sent to mediation after the parties agree to attend mediation.

What if I don't want to go to mediation?  Within 14 days after entry of an order referring a case to mediation, a party with objections to the order must file a MOTION TO REMOVE CASE FROM MEDIATION.  The motion must be heard no later than the date set for mediation.  Michigan Court Rule 2.410(E).

What if I fail to attend the scheduled mediation?  The parties with authority to settle the matter must be present at the mediation.  Failure by those required to attend the mediation to be present constitutes a default pursuant to Michigan Court Rule 2.603.  In addition, failure to attend a mediation could be grounds for dismissal under Michigan Court Rule 2.410(D)(3).

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