David R. Bruegel, P.C.David R. Bruegel, P.C. brandDavid R. Bruegel, P.C.
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Child Support, Alimony and Divorce Conciliation

We All Need A Champion

Michigan counties provide through their Friend of the Court offices conciliation meetings with an official that will meet with both spouses, when a divorce complaint has been filed, to address the complicated and emotionally wrenching issues of child support, custody, spousal support (alimony) in an office setting, using the software developed to determine answers.  Both spouses attend at the same time, unless allegations of domestic abuse have been made, in which case the meeting can be with one spouse at a time.

Lawyers often also can attend.  I always do, if the county permits it.  I am not supposed to talk, but presence by itself can provide support, and if I am polite and gentlemanly, the conciliator usually will ask me at the conclusion of asking questions of the parties, if I, as counsel for one of the parties, have any questions or comments.

This is my opportunity to offer politely whatever was missed by my client or emphasize a particular point: often one that is highly emotional and sensitive, that my client finds very difficult to impossible to say, in front of the other spouse.

I always also comment favorably on the job done by the conciliator, which usually is well deserved and doesn't hurt in helping to have my client appear and be more positively viewed than without the compliment.

Most important of all, however, is preparation.  That is always the situation in law.  Preparation.  Preparation.  Preparation.

It's like Location. Location. Location, in real estate.

I sit down in my office, often at the end of the day, turn the lights down, if that helps my client and me to relax a little, and talk over what a conciliation meeting is all about, how to handle tough comments made by the other spouse, how to react and speak, so as to gain credibility and trust in the veracity of the comments, with the conciliator.  We really aren't talking about "sales" here; we are talking about how do you properly and effectively deal with a person, the conciliator, who very often sees persons in divorce, with kids, and huge issues, emotions, anger, etc.  Especially important when you remember that conciliators might see six or more such couples each week, for as long as they have been working in that job with the Friend of the Court.

Think about it. How would it feel if YOU were doing that job?  What would work for you?  How would you like matters presented and handled to help YOU get through the hour and a half meeting?

That is always the key.  Care about the person receiving the message.  What is the experience like for THEM?

I don't think too many lawyers think like this and not sure they take the time, maybe in a somewhat casual moment, to war game any presentation.

I have been doing that for nearly 39 years of law practice and, tell you what, it works.  It helps my client.

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David R. Bruegel, P.C.

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155 W. Maple St.
P.O. Box 316
Mason, MI 48854

Phone: 517-833-4196
Fax: 517-676-6035
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