Divorce mediation is a time-limited confidential process in which both you and your spouse meet with a neutral third person (the mediator) who helps you decide on the financial issues of property, spousal support, child support and the division of parenting responsibilities;
Where your children will live.
When your children will spend time with each parent.
How parenting decisions will be made.
The goal of mediation is to give you and your spouse a place to talk about the terms of your agreement and allow you to keep the process of settlement in your control. In litigation, decision-making is turned over to a Judge or Master, who will make the decision for you. Mediation may include the parties’ attorneys, if represented, or the parties may participate in mediation without attorneys. Choosing to Mediate can be a stepping stone to your future
The Maryland People’s Law Library (www.peoples-law.org) offers these guidlines when deciding whether or not to choose mediation.
Consider litigation when:
There is a history or current threat of violence in the family. You cannot talk or negotiate freely if you fear for your safety.
Animosity between you and your spouse is so great you could not sit in the same room together. If being together triggers severe migraines, better to leave the direct communication to an attorney.
Your partner refuses to disclose financial information. Good faith negotiation cannot occur if one person is withholding vital information.
You or your partner are unwilling to discuss, even with a third person, the choices available.
Your partner is unlikely to keep regular appointments.
Consider mediation when:
You are concerned about your children’s well-being. Research shows that when there is less parental conflict during and after the divorce, children adjust more easily and are more likely to meet their potential as they reach adulthood.
You are considering joint or shared custody. Mediators are trained to address a wide range of issues and situations.
Despite intense hurt or anger, you want to keep the process as civil and peaceful as possible. Mediation offers an opportunity to improve and keep the lines of communication open for future cooperation as parents.
You are unable to spend thousands of dollars in court costs and lawyers’ fees.
You want to maintain some control and dignity during a very difficult time. During a separation, your self-esteem can get pretty battered. The winner/loser mentality of the litigation process often aggravates those feelings. Mediation on the other hand, rests on the premise that each person has legitimate concerns.