Turn to a Bethesda Divorce Mediation Attorney for an Easier and More Affordable Solution
Maryland divorce mediation is a voluntary process whereby each spouse agrees to explore an alternative to a lengthy and costly courtroom battle. By doing so, each side hopes to come away with a result which is equitable and fair, and considerably less stressful, time-consuming and expensive. A trained Bethesda divorce mediation attorney, Mr. Bernstein has the experience necessary to deliver positive outcomes from mediation. Learn more about how we can help you pursue divorce or family law mediation in Maryland here.
Sometimes, a third party is all that is needed to keep things as amicable and smooth as possible. Mr. Bernstein has extensive experience with divorce mediation in Maryland. His insight and negotiation capabilities have allowed many couples to forgo messy entanglements and the negative consequences that brings on yourself, your family and your finances.
Why Choose Divorce Mediation?
Consider this common scenario: You and your spouse are working through your divorce. You are both committed to finding an amicable resolution, but you are having trouble coming to terms. Nothing you suggest quite works for your spouse, and nothing your spouse suggests quite works for you.
In this scenario, divorce mediation could be a good option.
Divorce mediation offers a way to overcome disagreements during a divorce without either spouse feeling like he or she is getting the short end of the deal. It also allows divorcing spouses to move forward without the additional costs, delays and time constraints of litigation. Crucially, since mediation is voluntary, either spouse can terminate the process at any time if it no longer seems worthwhile.
While some couples use mediation to resolve all of the issues involved in their divorce, divorcing spouses can also use mediation to address specific issues. For example, if you and your spouse are in agreement regarding your parenting plan and financial support arrangements (i.e., child support and alimony) but you both want to keep many of the same marital assets, you can use mediation for purposes of property distribution only. This is just one example of numerous possibilities.
Divorcing spouses can use mediation at any time and for any reason they deem necessary; and, in this way, mediation offers maximum flexibility for overcoming challenges during the divorce process. If mediation helps you and your spouse come to terms, you can finalize your divorce and move on. If it doesn’t, you still retain all of your other options for finding a path forward.
In divorce mediation, you and your spouse retain full control of the outcome. The mediator’s role is not to make decisions for you but rather to help you and your spouse find a mutually acceptable path forward. The mediator (who is typically a family law attorney or retired family law judge) will offer possible solutions based on his or her experience. If the mediator believes that important information is getting lost or overlooked, he or she will help ensure that you and your spouse are giving due consideration to all relevant factors.
What Is Divorce Mediation and Why Should I Care About It?
Divorce mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution. It offers divorcing spouses an opportunity to reach an out-of-court agreement on any issues on which they cannot come to an agreement on their own. Unlike traditional divorce negotiations, it is not an adversarial process. Rather, a neutral third-party mediator — who does not represent either of the parties individually — helps the spouses work through their disagreements to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution. It is ideal for spouses who generally are on good terms and want to work together to reach an agreement but who each have one or more sticking points that are preventing them from getting to the finish line.
The mediation process is facilitated by a divorce mediator. Divorce mediators do not necessarily need to be attorneys, but divorce mediation tends to be more successful when the mediator is an experienced Bethesda divorce mediation attorney. Attorneys who have experience navigating the divorce process are more familiar with what courts can and cannot do and how the courts are likely to respond to the proposals in a mediated separation agreement. They also generally have a deeper knowledge of the complexities and nuances of the laws and how they may apply to the issues at hand.
During mediation, the mediator will take the following steps, among others:
- Define the issues to be mediated
- Set ground rules (and enforce them)
- Structure the discussions and keep them on track
- Establish the positions of each party
- Identify each party’s underlying interests and concerns
- Offer suggestions when the parties reach an impasse
- Explain any legal issues that may arise
- Find areas of agreement
- Seek concessions from each side
- Clear up misunderstandings
- Caucus with each party privately, if necessary
At the conclusion of a successful mediation process, the mediator (if he or she is an attorney) will prepare a draft mediated agreement between the parties that sets out what they have agreed to. Each party may then have their own attorney look over the agreement. If everything looks good, the parties will sign the mediated agreement and submit it to the divorce court, where it will then be incorporated into the divorce decree.
You should care about mediation because it can make your divorce significantly smoother, faster, and less expensive. Even if you think mediation is not for you or you have tried it and it failed, hiring a divorce attorney who is also a divorce mediator can have benefits. Attorneys who mediate disagreements have keen insights into human behavior, particularly how an individual’s unstated needs, wants, and motivations influence their demands. They may be more capable than the average attorney of putting themselves in the other side’s shoes and anticipating their next move. If those are skills that you would like to have on your side during a contested divorce, please consider contacting a Bethesda divorce mediation attorney.
Divorce Mediation FAQs
What Issues Can Be Resolved in Mediation?
Virtually any divorce-related issue can be resolved in mediation. This can include alimony, child custody and visitation, parenting plans, child support, and property division, among many other issues. While divorcing couples can agree to most of these terms outside of court, certain issues like child custody and child support must be approved by the court.
How Much Does a Divorce Mediator Cost in Maryland?
There is no standard rate for divorce mediators in Maryland. Because each divorce is different, the cost of each divorce mediation will be different. The cost of hiring a divorce mediator will depend upon a number of factors, including:
- Your divorce mediator’s billing structure and hourly rate
- The number of issues to be mediated
- The complexity of the issues to be mediated
- Whether child custody, child support, and visitation are issues to be mediated
- The extent, nature, and value of the assets being mediated
- The number of sessions required to come to an agreement
While divorce mediation comes with costs, keep in mind that resolving issues through mediation generally is more cost-effective than resolving them through litigation.
What Is the Downside of Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is often presented as a potential cure-all for divorcing couples’ problems, at least when compared to litigation. However, conflict and disagreement inevitably arise even in collaborative settings like divorce mediation. There are a few notable downsides of divorce mediation, namely:
- Divorce mediators cannot provide legal advice to either party
- Divorce mediators cannot make formal discovery requests, making it easier for parties to hide assets during mediation
- If the mediation is not successful, the parties will have to start over and resolve the issues through litigation
- The parties may disagree about the divorce mediator’s approach
- The parties may not fully trust one another
- The parties may disagree over whether mediation is necessary
- One party may feel that the other party has too much power in the negotiations
- The parties may have doubts about the divorce mediator’s neutrality
- Mediation does not guarantee a fair outcome
- Mediation is not an alternative to legal representation; you still need to hire your own attorney in addition to a mediator
While divorce mediation is not perfect, many of the downsides of divorce mediation are also downsides of litigation. If you’re unsure whether divorce mediation is the right option for you, you should consider talking through your concerns with a Bethesda divorce mediation attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your situation and determine whether you, your spouse, and your circumstances are a good fit for divorce mediation.
Is Mediation Required for Divorce in Maryland?
Mediation is not required for divorce in Maryland; it is strictly voluntary. However, the court may order mediation under some circumstances, such as when there is a dispute as to child custody and visitation. But while the court can order the parties to undergo mediation, it cannot order them to reach an agreement. If you have been ordered by a court to attempt to resolve any issues through mediation, please consider speaking to a Bethesda divorce mediation attorney.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Bethesda Divorce Mediation Attorney Today
If you are considering a divorce and would like to know how you can use divorce mediation to avoid unnecessary costs and disputes, we encourage you to schedule a free initial divorce consultation. To request an appointment with Bethesda divorce mediation attorney Brandon Bernstein in person or remotely, please call 240-395-1418 or tell us how we can help online today.