Mediation: How to Take Control of Your Family Law Case
In my family law practice, I repeatedly hear from clients that the thing they fear the most is “losing control” over the outcome of their case. There are fears about the children’s schedule, how much money they will have off of which to live, and what the future will look like after litigation.
If a case goes to trial, the judge will hear evidence and listen to testimony before deciding the issues and reducing them to a Court Order. There is no guarantee that you will get the outcome you desire or that the Court made the “right” decision under the circumstances. This is why many litigants are turning to mediation as a way to resolve their family law disputes.
Mediation is a confidential process in which a neutral third party—the mediator—facilitates a discussion in the hopes that an agreement can be reached. If an agreement is reached on any issue, then it will be reduced to writing to be reviewed by each party’s lawyers. If everyone approves of the terms of the agreement, it can be signed and entered as a Court Order. You can mediate in the hopes of resolving all of your issues, or just one specific issue.
During mediation, you have control over the process and the potential outcomes. Depending on the issues, mediation can take place over several sessions. The people in mediation decide the topics and the order of the discussions. But, if you cannot reach an agreement in mediation, then you just resume the regular court process. Anything said in mediation is confidential and cannot be used as evidence at trial. The mediator also cannot be called to testify as a witness for either side regarding what was—and was not—said during the mediation.
In Maryland, all custody cases (except for those involving abuse) are required to attend mediation. In addition to child access, parties also choose to attend mediation to resolve issues of financial support and division of property. The ultimate goal of mediation is for parties to take control over the outcome of their case and avoid lengthy and expensive litigation. And, for those facing a one-year separation to file for divorce, a mediated agreement would allow them to file in court much sooner under “mutual consent” grounds.
I am a trained family law mediator who can bring my experience, honesty and empathy to disputes. I am skilled at helping parties find creative solutions to their issues and to help them focus on what is most important. I also represent many clients throughout the mediation process.
If you are interested in mediating your family law dispute, please contact the Law Office of Laurie M. Wasserman LLC at 410-842-1070 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We practice in jurisdictions throughout the State of Maryland.