If you and your spouse are going through a divorce in Maryland but are unable to resolve certain issues such as how your assets are going to be divided or custody or visitation with your children, your divorce will be classified as a contested one. When a couples’ divorce is contested, it can make the process more difficult and delay finalizing the divorce. If the parties have initiated the divorce process through the court system, nearly all contested cases get referred to court ordered mediation while the case proceeds on a trial schedule. Hence, you should inquire about the mediation process once you anticipate your marriage is coming to an end.
The American Bar Association (ABA) defines mediation as “an attempt by a disinterested third party, called the mediator, to bring about an agreement on contested issues.” Although mediation may not be required in every divorce case, it can help you and your spouse avoid having to take your case before a judge who will resolve the outstanding issues at a trial. In most cases, this will be expensive, traumatic and intimidating which is why it is helpful to settle the issues outside of the courtroom. Aside from removing the pressure of having to face a trial, mediation carries other benefits:
- “Mediators often create unique agreements that deviate from the norm because the agreements are tailor-made by the couple to fit their circumstances and desires. Judges are restricted in the decisions they can make due to statutes that control their authority. When your case winds up before a judge because you couldn’t reach agreement, you might find that the outcome isn’t what you or your spouse wanted.
- The mediation dialogue is confidential so until a final agreement is reached, usually in writing, there is no harm in participating in the process.
- Because mediation is known to be less stressful than litigation, it often makes the divorce process easier on the children. The ABA also highlights that mediation can benefit children as they get to “see their parents cooperating, even when they disagree with each other.”
- Mediation “will almost always be less expensive than litigation,” therefore, if you are on a tight budget, you may want to speak with a divorce attorney to find out if it is something you should consider doing if you and your spouse are in disagreement on one or more matters.
- You and your spouse maintain control over the outcome of your divorce while the two of you are engaged in the mediation process.
Is mediation a good option for all couples going through a contested divorce?
While mediation might be the helpful in getting your family-related mattes resolved, it isn’t for everyone. The ABA recommends that those who do not have a respectful relationship with one another or have a history of domestic violence should not participate in mediation. Before assuming mediation is or is not a good choice for you and your spouse to get over the hurdles that continue to hinder you from settling your divorce, it is best to speak with one of our Rockville, MD divorce lawyers first. In all circumstances, whether you want to consider mediation or not, knowing your rights and getting sound legal advice on the possible outcomes of your divorce early in the process can help prepare for an acceptable outcome.
Ready to connect with a MD divorce lawyer to find out if mediation is a good option for you?
If you would like to schedule a consultation where you will be given the opportunity to sit down with one of our reputable lawyers with decades of experience in family law and divorce to find out if mediation is right for you, simply call us at 301-251-6600 so we can set up a time for you to come in. At Barkley & Kennedy, we understand how difficult life can be when doing through a divorce, which is why we are here to answer any questions you might have as well as provide you with the legal representation you need to get your divorce settled.
You can reach Barkley & Kennedy at:
51 Monroe Street, #1407
Rockville, MD 20850