This article will help you understand:
- What mediation is.
- If mediation is something you should consider for your situation.
- What is necessary for mediation to be successful.
What Is Mediation And How Does It Work?
The process of mediation in Maryland, also known as alternative dispute resolution, is an opportunity for divorcing couples or parents in custody cases to come together with a third-party neutral mediator. This mediator can help them discuss their issues to reach an agreement and avoid going to court for a judge to determine the outcome of their contested issues. Mediation is meant to be a good opportunity for parties to have an open conversation, lay out the facts that are relevant to their issues, and try to come together and make an agreement.
Is Mediation Always Successful?
Unfortunately, the process of mediation in Maryland is not always successful.
Mediation is an excellent tool when parties go into it with an open mind, a willingness to openly discuss their disagreements, and try to reach an agreement, but this does not always happen.
This being the case, mediation is always very low risk. Mediation will not eliminate your ability to have a trial if you have a contested court case. Instead, it is simply an effort that you can make to reach an agreement and avoid a trial. If it does not work, the worst case scenario is that you attempt to seek resolution with it and still can go to court and litigate as necessary.
Is Mediation Something I Should Explore For My Situation?
Mediation is best suited for certain types of parties and cases.
Regarding what kinds of parties are best suited for meditation, it is excellent for people who:
- Already know that they, for whatever reason, want to avoid litigation;
- Do not have a lot of highly contested issues;
- Have a relatively simple divorce or custody case where only a few details must be decided.
In these instances, the mediator may be a little push in the right direction both parties need to come together to reach an agreement.
In terms of cases, mediation is best for cases that are not overly complex or do not have highly contested issues. Good examples include:
- Separation or divorce;
- Custody schedules or child support;
- Division of (minimal) assets.
Mediation is not appropriate for cases where there are:
- Allegations of domestic violence;
- Drug and alcohol abuse issues;
- Abuse or neglect of a minor child.