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Mediating a Divorce in Maryland

Divorce is never easy, and it rarely occurs without hard feelings on both sides. While a divorce cannot become final in Maryland without court approval, the path to this approval does not have to be an expensive court trial. One alternative to trial is mediation between the parties. If successful, mediation can be less acrimonious, costly, and time-consuming, which allows the parties to move on to the next phase of their lives.


What is Mediation?

When two parties in a dispute work with a neutral third party to negotiate a resolution, this is known as mediation. Unlike a trial or arbitration, mediation is entirely within the parties’ control. The mediator is a facilitator who uses their skill, ingenuity, and knowledge to help the parties reach an agreement. The mediator may propose solutions, but both parties have to agree for a mediation to succeed. This makes mediation a much more empowering process since the parties are not at the mercy of a judge’s opinion and can craft an agreement that suits their particular needs. Mediation also puts both parties on equal footing since neither party can move forward without the other party’s agreement.


Who Participates in a Mediation?

As a legal matter involving significant rights and responsibilities, mediation should not be taken lightly. A mediator with considerable experience in family law matters can make the difference between success and failure. Some people choose to work directly with a mediator, while others elect to hire a family law attorney who can help advocate for their position in the mediation.


How Does it Work?

While the parties and the mediators can set up mediation in any manner that best works for them, there are some standard practices. Generally, mediations take place in person, with the parties occupying separate rooms while the mediator goes back and forth between them with proposals and counters until an agreement is reached. This process can take anywhere from a single morning to multiple sessions. It is standard practice to put this agreement in writing at the mediation so that everyone can sign before memories fade. That signed document is then finalized and presented to the court for approval.


What are the Advantages of Mediation?

A divorce trial takes a lot of time and money to prepare for and complete. In addition, trial dates are not easy to come by, which can cause further delay. Finally, a judge will decide the many issues in a divorce, and the parties have to live with them. While preparing for mediation is necessary, it is far less expensive to complete. The parties collaborate with the help of the mediator and counsel to develop solutions that fit their specific needs. If there are children, this collaboration is an excellent place to start the continued cooperation required for co-parenting. And, importantly, mediations are entirely confidential. This allows people to keep most aspects of their private life out of the public eye.

Mediation does not work for everyone. Where there is domestic abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, or serious acrimony, the parties may be unlikely to reach a mutually agreeable outcome. However, this alternative to a divorce trial is an excellent option to consider if possible.

Thank you for reading our blog! 

If you need legal representation in Maryland or the District of Columbia, consider contacting Malech Law. With over 25 years of experience, we are committed to providing excellent service to our clients. Our accolades include the 2024 Family Law American Association of Attorney Advocates recognition, being a finalist in the 2024 Best of Bethesda Readers’ Pick for Best Family Law Practitioner, and winning the same award in 2022. We’ve also been honored with the Lawyers of Distinction Award for Excellence in Divorce and Family Law for the past five consecutive years. At Malech Law, we approach every case with respect, empathy, and a dedication to excellence. Contact us today for professional legal assistance.

Visit Malechlaw.com or call (202) 441-2107.

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