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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.

Malech Law is located in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. For more than 25 years, Mr. Malech has provided aggressive and effective representation for his clients in Maryland and the District of Columbia. This year, he was selected as the Best of Bethesda 2022 Readers’ Pick for Best Family Law Practitioner. He has also been given the Lawyers of Distinction Award Recognizing Excellence in the Area of Divorce and Family Law for the past three consecutive years and has just been recognized as a Family Law Top 10 Attorney for 2021 by “Attorney and Practice Magazine.”

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

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