Why Mediation Should Come First In A Maryland Divorce
Divorce is one of the most emotionally exhausting and stressful of all life experiences. That is why our Maryland divorce attorneys advise clients to opt for mediation when possible. Mediation may be less stressful and you may be able to obtain a final divorce judgment sooner than in a regular divorce.
Mediation is also less expensive but equally effective in resolving disputes in a divorce case. Learn more about mediation below, then our Maryland mediation attorney at Shah & Kishore will be pleased to address your questions.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation involves you and your spouse meeting with a trained, third-party mediator to discuss and resolve significant divorce issues. Your’s and your spouse’s attorney can also attend and participate in the mediation. Mediation sessions often happen in an informal in-person setting, but online mediation may be available in certain circumstances.
A mediator can assist you in reaching an agreement on significant divorce issues that the two of you are struggling with and need to be resolved to finalize your divorce. Common areas of disagreement are child support, child custody, and property division. The mediator will not render a decision or provide you with legal advice but will facilitate negotiations to help the parties arrive at the best resolution for your particular circumstances.
Why Should You Mediate Your Divorce?
Judges may order couples to try mediation before going to court, but you can mediate yourself before filing for divorce. Choosing mediation for your divorce has several options over fighting in court:
- Mediation costs significantly less a majority of the time than going through divorce litigation through the Maryland court system.
- Mediations can result in an overall settlement without going to court.
- Mediation is confidential, and there is no public record of what was said.
- Mediation lets you reach a resolution based on arrangements and specific solutions that you and your spouse believe are in the best interest of each of you and your family collectively instead of having a judge impose a solution upon you and your spouse.
- You can attend mediation and still ensure that you obtain legal counsel who will provide you with advice and make sure any claims you may have in the divorce are being obtained fairly through any mediated resolution between you and your spouse.
- Mediation encourages amicable communication between spouses, which can set the stage for keeping things civil in the future.
Successful mediation which encompasses a comprehensive agreement on all issues will normally allow you to file an uncontested divorce complaint and will allow the court to expedite a brief uncontested divorce hearing. This process will save you money and will allow you to obtain a divorce much sooner than if you went through a contentious litigated divorce case through the court system in Maryland.
Who Should Consider Divorce Mediation And Should Not?
For some couples, working with a mediator can be the perfect choice to get a divorce with less conflict. Shah & Kishore divorce attorneys can mediate your divorce if you hire them in that capacity. Some situations that mediation can be effective is when:
- The primary concern of both parties is the children’s well-being.
- You are thinking about joint or shared custody.
- You cannot afford the thousands in legal and court costs
Mediation can work for many divorcing couples, even those with many issues to solve. While mediation may be a good choice for many couples, it will not work for everyone, including if:
- You have been domestically abused: Mediation is not an option if you have experienced domestic violence or fear for your or your child’s safety. But if there was abuse and it was months or years ago, you might find it empowering to attend a mediation session. Also, your mediator will take precautions to ensure the mediation occurs safely.
- Your spouse is untrustworthy or deceitful: If you think your partner hides assets, wastes money, or lies, mediation will probably not be effective. Negotiating only works if both parties are truthful.
- You think your spouse wants to delay: The mediator does not issue a binding decision. So, if your spouse wants to delay the divorce, they can agree to mediation to just waste time.
If the conditions above do not apply, mediation is worth considering. However, you could worry if the mediator will encourage you to accept something that you do not want. Remember that a professional mediator will be there to keep things on track and may help you think of solutions that you did not consider. Also, if the mediation is voluntary and not court-ordered, you can stop the process any time you are not comfortable.
Also, you will have the chance to consult with your divorce attorney between mediation sessions and bring that information to subsequent sessions. Last, while there could be conflict during mediation, the mediator will not allow mudslinging or name-calling. Even if you think that mediation will not be productive, it often is worth trying.
How Do You Get Started With Divorce Mediation?
Unless the family court judge orders you and your spouse to attend mediation, the process is voluntary. So, you and your spouse will need to agree to mediation. If your spouse agrees, the next step is to locate a skilled divorce mediator.
When the judge orders a mediation session, you will meet with the mediator appointed by the court in most cases. But if you try mediation alone, the two parties possibly through their respective counsels can find a mediator they agree on. You can often find excellent mediators through personal recommendations. For instance, you can ask a lawyer, marriage counselor, or divorced friends for mediator referrals. You also can find a mediator through these sources:
- Local courthouse
- State court administration office
- Online mediation companies
- Your County or State Bar Association
Contact Our Maryland Mediation Attorney
Mediation is an option if you prefer a friendly, flexible, and less expensive alternative to divorce. Contact our Maryland mediation attorney at Shah & Kishore to help you with your divorce issues. Please call (301) 315-0001 today to discuss divorce mediation.