Michigan’s court system allows for both mandatory and voluntary mediation. In the end, is there any significant difference? Probably not.
The Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution addresses this point in the Reporter’s Notes to section 2.07(b). Regardless of whether mediation is undertaken by agreement of the parties or by order of the court, the rate of settlement is not affected. Pearson, “Ten Myths about Family Law,” 27 Fam. L.Q. 279, 286-87 (1993). Mediation produces high levels of satisfaction in the participants. Parents are glad they tried mediation and would recommend it to a friend. This level of satisfaction is not related to whether mediation was mandatory or voluntary. Pearson & Thoennes, Divorce Mediation: Reflections on a Decade of Research,” in Mediation Research: The Process and Effectiveness of Third-Party Intervention (Kressel et al., 1989).