Facilitative Mediation Defined

D&O offers its own alternative to litigating a separation or divorce through its facilitative mediation program, called Advocates for Families. This program was developed in response to the rising divorce rates in Michigan and the seemingly increasing adversarial nature of the litigation process. In short, the program allows couples to resolve family disputes in a non-adversarial environment that fosters communication, cooperation, honesty and respect. The program’s goal is to reduce conflict that is inherent in the litigation process and help couples effectively communicate and negotiate their own resolution of the issues surrounding a separation or divorce, as opposed to the court imposing one upon them. These resolutions are then incorporated into an appropriate Court approved document.

Our Mission

To empower families by providing them with a respectful and dignified approach, in a non-adversarial environment, that allows them to develop a family plan that manages the relationships of the parents and their children after a separation or divorce.

Our Process

Step One: Each party meets separately with the mediators to determine whether mediation is appropriate.
Step Two: The parties provide facts, identify potential issues in dispute and set individual goals for mediation.
Step Three: The mediators review the process with the parties and discuss the facts, disputed issues and individual goals.
Step Four: The mediators help the parties identify their needs and options for resolving the disputed issues.
Step Five: The mediators facilitate the resolution of the parties’ disputed issues.
Step Six: The parties develop a family plan based on the resolved issues.
Step Seven: The parties arrange for the Court’s approval of the family plan in the form of a Judgment of Divorce.

The Benefits

  • Mediation eliminates the uncertainty of litigating the issues in court by allowing the parties to control the outcome.
  • Mediation helps families preserve their relationships and resolve issues in a more harmonious and private manner.
  • Mediation provides the parties with an environment that allows them to create a family plan that is workable, realistic and fair.
  • Mediation can be significantly less costly than traditional litigation because the parties resolve their own issues.
  • Parties who create their own family plan through mediation are more likely to honor the terms of their agreement and avoid future disputes.

Our Mediators and Their Qualifications

Kimberly R. Denoyer
Kim has been practicing law in Michigan since 1997, including the practice of family law. Kim is specifically trained to resolve family disputes through facilitative mediation and specializes in early stage mediation (prior to the filing of divorce). She also has been through her own divorce and understands firsthand the benefits of cooperative parenting after a divorce. As a result, she is committed to offering a “family focused” approach that preserves family relationships and prevents the depletion of the marital assets that often results from litigating. It is her genuine hope that she can change the “traditional” way family disputes are resolved in the legal field, one family at a time.

Keith J. Ostrowski
Keith has been practicing law in Michigan since 1997, including the practice of family law. In addition, Keith is specifically trained to resolve family disputes through facilitative mediation and specializes in early stage mediation. By way of his own divorce, he experienced firsthand the devastating effects that divorce litigation has on the entire family. He is dedicated to using his own personal experience to help families avoid the emotional and financial turmoil caused by the litigation process.

Mediation Experience

Ms. Denoyer and Mr. Ostrowski were selected by the Michigan Supreme Court, State Court Administrative Office, Family Services, and Friend of the Court Bureau to serve as mediators in the Wayne County Domestic Relations Mediation Project.  Ms. Denoyer and Mr. Ostrowski participated in the program for approximately three (3) years and regularly assisted in resolving domestic relations cases for the participating judges in the Wayne County Circuit Court.

Ms. Denoyer and Mr. Ostrowski performed well over a hundred mediations through their involvement in the Wayne County Domestic Relations Mediation Project and their own private practice.  Their specialty is in bringing couples to agreement prior to the filing of divorce to decrease the conflict, protect children and preserve the family’s financial resources that are typically depleted once divorce litigation commences.

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