Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process in which an impartial third party sits down with the parties to work out equitable and workable agreements. Mediation can be used in many different kinds of disputes or problem situations. The mediator does not take one side or the other, but helps the parties focus on solutions that address the needs of all. The parties retain full control over all decisions and agreements. The mediator helps develop options and explore the alternatives, but does not impose decisions on the parties.

Divorce Related Services

  • Separation agreements: Parents can work out an interim agreement which allows them to take care of their children's needs, protect them from emotional storms, and provide for some transition financial stability during the early stages of the divorce process.
  • Divorce agreements: A constructive alternative to the adversarial process, mediation helps the couple create a parenting plan for their children, compile financial information, work out budgets and agreements for property settlement and support.
  • Parenting agreements: Parents are guided through the process of creating an appropriate parenting plan for their children's needs, while their lawyer or mediator handles the financial and property matters.  This is especially useful when special parenting decisions may need to be considered such as with: young children, children with disabilities, parental illness or parents with different parental styles or communication difficulties.  
  • Collaborative law: When clients have signed a collaborative law agreement with their attorneys, Center affiliates may assume the responsibility of Divorce Coach, Parenting Consultant or Mediator as part of the interdisciplinary team (more information about collaborative law).
  • Post judgment disputes: Mediation offers a neutral environment for parents to clarify issues they may have about their children following divorce. Typical concerns include scheduling changes, new partners, developmental changes and communication.

Other Mediation Services

  • Prenuptial agreements: Mediation offers a place in which decisions about pre-marital assets can be fully discussed and tailored to meet the unique needs of each family.
  • Separation agreements for unmarried couples: For couples who have joint property and/or shared parenting, mediation gives an opportunity to separate constructively, to maintain privacy, and to create a written agreement tailored to their personal situation and needs.
  • Business partnership disputes: In businesses where partners work together closely they may encounter differences which become stalemated and highly charged emotionally. Mediation offers a process to air differences, to clear up misunderstandings, to gather information, and to solve problems constructively.
  • Family decision making across generations: Mediation can help families resolve such issues as the care of elderly parents, sibling concerns around inheritance, guardianship issues following a death in the family, or other emotion-laden decisions impacting a family.

For more information about steps in the mediation process when parents separate, please click on the “Steps in the Mediation Process” document on your left.  For specific information about the family court system in Washtenaw County, please visit

Affiliated Professional:

  • Ellen Barahal Taylor, Ph.D.