For divorcing Maryland couples who wish to resolve their issues quickly, fairly, and cost-effectively, mediation may be an excellent alternative. A divorce agreement forged during mediation is usually superior to giving a judge the power to make serious decisions that affect your family’s future. Mediation allows you to resolve issues important to you in your own way. It works best for couples who are truly committed to resolving their differences in a calm and resolute manner.
How does mediation work?
A Maryland divorce mediator is a lawyer trained to impartially facilitate meaningful negotiations between opposing parties. Both divorcing partners must agree to work with the mediator. During several sessions, the partners and their attorneys come to agreement on all the issues that are affected by their divorce. Issues may include these and others unique to the couple:
- Property division
- Disposition of assets and debts
- Spousal support/alimony
- Child custody
- Child support
- Visitation rights
One or both of the couple’s attorneys draft the final agreement, both parties sign it, and it is submitted to the court for final approval. The marriage is then dissolved.
Why does mediation work?
Making consensual decisions regarding topics that partners feel very strongly about is seldom easy. But the presence of an impartial mediator serving as a guide often smoothes the way. Communication is improved. Each party has an opportunity to be heard and may develop an understanding of the other’s point of view. The parties begin to see ways in which they can arrive at mutually acceptable solutions to these difficult issues. Mediators can help couples to fashion their own remedies to their own problems. Most importantly, because both parties “buy into” the solution, it is more likely to be successful and longer lasting.
The bottom line
Mediation is cheaper in legal fees than a court battle. Resolution is quicker because it takes the court less time to approve an existing agreement than it does to hold a trial. Mediation results in decisions that are more acceptable to both parties—leaving important decisions, such as child custody or who gets the house, to a busy judge is a recipe for disaster. Finally, if mediation does not work, the divorcing parties may still use the courts as a last resort.