Prince Frederick Mediation Attorney Serving Southern Maryland
A divorce or child custody dispute may alter the family dynamic, but it doesn’t put an end to all family relationships. Family ties endure, and even divorced spouses are bound to see each other from time to time and interact at life events like weddings, funerals, and graduations. A stressful divorce can do lasting harm to those relationships, sometimes for years, but not all family law matters need to be approached with a scorched earth, winner-take-all attitude. In fact, it’s possible to iron out the issues in a divorce amicably and collaboratively, even if the spouses aren’t committed to part the best of friends. Family law mediation can help you get what you want without a fight, and the Prince Frederick mediation attorneys at Meng Law can help you through that process with dignity, respect and a positive outcome that meets your needs. Learn more about divorce mediation below, and contact Meng Law for help with family law mediation in Southern Maryland.
How Mediation Works
In litigation, each side stakes out a position and presents evidence to the court to support that position. Evidence must meet certain legal standards to be admitted. At the conclusion of a trial, the judge makes a decision that most often favors one party’s position over the other’s.
In mediation, each side is urged to refrain from taking a position but to instead focus on their interests. The parties are encouraged to communicate those interests fully and are not bound by the rules of evidence in what they can or can’t talk about. A trained mediator helps the parties communicate with one another or shares their interests on their behalf and helps them reach a resolution. There are many different ways mediation can be conducted, and the mediator will choose a style that works best for the particular situation. At the conclusion of a mediation, the mediator draws up an agreement (or the parties draw up an agreement together), and that agreement is submitted to the court for approval.
Advantages of Mediation
Mediation is quicker – It may take months to schedule a trial on a court’s busy trial docket, and busy attorneys may spend months conducting discovery, building their case and asking for extensions from the court as needed. Mediation can be scheduled rather quickly, and the mediation itself may only take a day or two, depending on the issues.
Mediation is less expensive – Since it is accomplished quicker, there are less attorney fees and other costs associated with a trial, such as the preparation of exhibits or securing testimony from paid expert witnesses.
Mediation is more informal – The parties are encouraged to explore their interests and create a custom result that meets their specific needs. Litigation results in a winner and a loser, but a successful mediation is “win/win.”
Parties are personally invested in the outcome – When a judge imposes a resolution on a dissatisfied party, that party is less likely to comply with the court order, and even years after the divorce parties may find themselves back in court time and again seeking enforcement of alimony or child support or compliance with the custody arrangement. When the parties create their own solution in mediation, it is more likely to meet their needs, and they feel personally invested in the success of the solution they created.
What happens if Mediation is unsuccessful?
Mediation is a non-binding process. Neither party can be forced to compromise or accept a resolution in mediation, and if the mediation is unsuccessful, the parties can still proceed to litigate their case in court. Because of this, it is important to know that the information shared in mediation is confidential and cannot be used in court. This fact about mediation can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage. On the one hand, parties may leave mediation with some issues resolved or narrowed and with a better understanding of areas of common ground or how far apart they are. On the other hand, having to litigate after mediation could mean that the entire process takes longer and costs more than it would have otherwise. Also, mediation is not likely to succeed unless both parties are committed to the process. Some parties may enter mediation with no intention to succeed but merely to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case.
Call Meng Law for Family Law Mediation in Southern Maryland
Mediation can be utilized by parties in a divorce or any family law matter, either by agreement or if ordered by the court. Under Maryland law, any case where custody or visitation is contested must go to mediation first, absent any allegations of domestic violence. It’s good to understand mediation and be prepared for mediation in your family law matter and to hire an attorney who can both mediate and litigate your divorce as needed. In Southern Maryland, count on the Prince Frederick mediation attorneys at Meng Law to approach your divorce, child custody dispute or other family law matter with wisdom, strength and an eye toward the most efficient and satisfactory resolution that meets your needs. Call 410-535-5500 to schedule a consultation.