Mediation is a process by which all parties (and their attorneys) meet with an independent neutral third party to reach an agreement on the issues in dispute.
In a divorce, courts are now ordering spouses to attend mediation to allow the parties to reach an agreement on the contested issues between them instead of having a judge decide the issues.
What Happens in Divorce Mediation Court?
Even if a comprehensive agreement addressing all matters between the two parties cannot be reached, reaching an agreement on some issues is still very helpful and will cut down on your litigation expenses. Mediators in a divorce proceeding will help spouses work through issues, including:
- Division of real and personal property
- Division of assets, allocation of liabilities
- Child custody
- Child support
- Visitation schedules
- Division of retirement assets, taxes, and any other marital issues that need to be addressed and resolved before one can get divorced and have no further financial ties or connections to their spouse.
It is normal for parties to often get frustrated, overwhelmed, or emotional during the mediation process. It is the job of the mediator to re-focus the parties and to keep them on track to the topic at hand. Because the mediator is neutral and doesn’t take sides, the mediator can assist the parties in thinking outside of the box and can suggest creative solutions to complex problems.
Why Use Mediation for Divorce?
One of the many benefits of reaching an agreement during mediation is that the parties dictate the terms that work best for them. In the past, a judge would dictate the ruling solely based on the arguments presented by the attorneys.
Another benefit to mediation is that the issues discussed with the mediator are confidential. A mediator cannot be called as a witness in a divorce trial to testify about comments made, even if admissions. As such, the parties are free to express their concerns without having their personal issues made part of the court record.
Meet with Maryland Divorce Attorneys
Before attending a mediation session, you should sit down with your attorney and discuss any remaining issues between you and your spouse and the result you would like to achieve. Keep in mind that the more flexible and open-minded you are, the more likely you are to reach a resolution. There are many ways to arrive at the same conclusion and being susceptible to each path will allow you to be more productive.