A divorce can be costly, emotionally tolling, and take up most of your time. There is no denying that going through a divorce can take a toll on your emotions, become time-consuming, and emotionally draining. The process can be grueling, especially if there is a lot of tension between the parties and unresolved issues are at a standstill.
If you wonder how you can move the process forward cost-effectively and with a resolution, then you should consider mediation.
As an attorney who has handled multiple highly contested divorces, one way that I recommend moving your divorce case forward is to attend mediation. Unfortunately, I find that people misunderstand how mediation can help them. What you need to remember is that mediation is the chance you have to reach an agreement where you have a say in some of your life’s most important decisions. Decisions like how long you can live at your marital residence, how your assets and debts will be divided, how much money you will have to live off of while you transition into two homes, what type of custody schedule works for your kids taking into account their well-being, your work schedules, and their schooling. These are major decisions that if you leave solely up to a judge who has a few days (if you’re lucky) to hear your entire case, may not make a finding that you are happy with. Not to mention, once a judge has to decide, you no longer have any say in the outcome.
So let’s debunk some myths to help you decide if mediation is right for you:
Myth #1. Both of you need to be on good terms to go to mediation.
I have resolved some of the most contentious cases in mediation where the parties cannot speak to each other or be in the same room. That is what is unique about mediation. In almost every mediation I have attended (and my preference), the parties caucus individually, and the mediator travels between the rooms to exchange offers and settlements. This allows you and your attorney to openly and freely discuss your concerns with the mediator and allows the mediator to get to the heart of the issue and see what the parties can agree on. The mediator will keep your talks focused and moving forward.
Myth #2. You don’t need an attorney for mediation.
Even though a primary reason to attend mediation is to save money and not incur litigation expenses, not having a lawyer present is not something you should not do. You can and should retain a lawyer for mediation. In Maryland, you can retain an attorney on a limited scope basis to attend mediation. You should only agree on something after knowing how that decision will legally impact you moving forward. Once an agreement is reached, it is binding upon you. You want to ensure you are protected and know your legal responsibilities.
Myth #3. We have to solve all of our issues in mediation.
In a perfect situation, the parties can resolve all issues and avoid going to trial. But the reality is sometimes everything can’t be agreed upon, and parties still have to get a judge to decide. But mediation can cut down your litigation fees tremendously even if you can’t resolve it all.
Settlement of any issues between you means you don’t have to pay your attorneys to prepare for trial and present evidence supporting your position on that issue. You can cut down on how many days you will be in court and how long your attorney will take to prepare for trial. Going to trial for one or two unresolved issues will cost much less than going to trial, and the judge has to decide on ten issues.
Mediation is an excellent tool for divorce settlement.
This is not to say that it won’t be challenging, as you both will have to give and be transparent with the mediator to settle. But having a say in the outcome of your finances and what your life will look like moving forward should be a huge incentive to try and resolve all issues you can. If you are going through a divorce or need representation for attending mediation, please get in touch with me at 301-563-6685 and schedule a consultation.
About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The Firm practices family law, estate planning, and probate throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia, and represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country. The Firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone and is there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The Firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and its attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at andalmanflynn.com or call 301.563.6685.