REVISED JUDICATURE ACT OF 1961 (EXCERPT)
Act 236 of 1961
600.5072 Court order to participate in arbitration; conditions; domestic violence exclusion; waiver; child abuse or neglect exclusion.
(1) The court shall not order a party to participate in arbitration unless each party to the domestic relations matter acknowledges, in writing or on the record, that he or she has been informed in plain language of all of the following:
(a) Arbitration is voluntary.
(b) Arbitration is binding and the right of appeal is limited.
(c) Arbitration is not recommended for cases involving domestic violence.
(d) Arbitration may not be appropriate in all cases.
(e) The arbitrator's powers and duties are delineated in a written arbitration agreement that all parties must sign before arbitration commences.
(f) During arbitration, the arbitrator has the power to decide each issue assigned to arbitration under the arbitration agreement. The court will, however, enforce the arbitrator's decisions on those issues.
(g) The party may consult with an attorney before entering into the arbitration process or may choose to be represented by an attorney throughout the entire process.
(h) If the party cannot afford an attorney, the party may wish to seek free legal services, which may or may not be available.
(i) A party to arbitration will be responsible, either solely or jointly with other parties, to pay for the cost of the arbitration, including fees for the arbitrator's services. In comparison, a party does not pay for the court to hear and decide an issue, except for payment of filing and other court fees prescribed by statute or court rule for which the party is responsible regardless of the use of arbitration.
(2) If either party is subject to a personal protection order involving domestic violence or if, in the pending domestic relations matter, there are allegations of domestic violence or child abuse, the court shall not refer the case to arbitration unless each party to the domestic relations matter waives this exclusion. A party cannot waive this exclusion from arbitration unless the party is represented by an attorney throughout the action, including the arbitration process, and the party is informed on the record concerning all of the following:
(a) The arbitration process.
(b) The suspension of the formal rules of evidence.
(c) The binding nature of arbitration.
(3) If, after receiving the information required under subsection (2), a party decides to waive the domestic violence exclusion from arbitration, the court and the party's attorney shall ensure that the party's waiver is informed and voluntary. If the court finds a party's waiver is informed and voluntary, the court shall place those findings and the waiver on the record.
(4) A child abuse or neglect matter is specifically excluded from arbitration under this act.
History: Add. 2000, Act 419, Eff. Mar. 28, 2001