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How Does a Couple Initiate the Mediation Process in Maryland for Separation, Divorce and Family Law Disputes?

Make an educated choice when you choose your mediation professional. Even where the parties have been court-ordered to mediation, the parties may agree upon a specific separation or divorce mediator in Maryland.

The first criteria may be whether to choose an attorney-mediator or a non-attorney mediator. Only an attorney mediator is qualified to draft a formal legal Agreement for independent attorney review. Very often a non-attorney mediator is limited in his or her expertise to child-related issues. An attorney mediator who has particular experience in family law matters is an ideal choice where the parties want to resolve all of the marital issues, including child custody, support, alimony, division of property, tax issues, and division of debts, for the purposes of drafting those agreements into a Marital Settlement Agreement also variably called a “Separation Agreement” a “Parenting Agreement” or a “Property Settlement Agreement.” Nancy Caplan, Esquire is an attorney-mediator.

Every divorce mediator in Maryland has his or her own protocols for the mediation process. So how does one initiate the Mediation process with Nancy Caplan, Esquire? One party or both parties contact the mediator by telephone or email to schedule the first session and to ask questions about the process of mediation. (410) 296-2190. Very often both parties wish to speak briefly to the mediator and the mediator limits the conversation to how the mediation process is conducted and avoids specific dispute issues. Many times the parties jointly attend Nancy Caplan’s monthly seminar at Maryland Divorce Mediation & Legal Services offices and move forward from there to schedule the first session of mediation. Both parties must agree to attend the mediation session and the parties must agree in advance relating to how at least the first session shall be paid.

Nancy Caplan, attorney-mediator, uses email to communicate with the parties whenever practical, and the parties should provide the mediator with an email address to be used for this purpose. Upon confirmation of the appointment date and time, the parties shall receive the participation and fee agreement contract for their review in advance of the mediation. The scheduling appointment email shall also provide a guide for financial preparation so that the parties are productively negotiating at the initial appointment. The parties will be presented with an opportunity to provide separate confidential mediation statements directly to the mediator.

Many times the parties seek a non-substantive initial consultation session to discuss the process of mediation, and to meet the mediator and to have an interpersonal interaction with Nancy Caplan prior to commencing the negotiations. This is not required and is charged at Ms. Caplan’s normal hourly rate. As a no-cost alternative, Ms. Caplan highly recommends attendance at her monthly seminar offered to the public almost every month. This informal seminar allows anyone a chance to hear about Ms. Caplan’s mediation process, and to meet Ms. Caplan in person. The seminar discusses the procedural aspects of mediation and the divorce process in general. All attendees may ask general questions about the topics of family law mediation, such as alimony, child custody, child support, property division, and allocation of debts.

Nancy Caplan, Esquire, with Maryland Divorce Mediation and Legal Services conducts mediation during regular business hours, evening hours and occasional weekends if there is a hardship or if the parties are traveling from more distant counties to take advantage of the unique process offered by Ms. Caplan. After setting the date and time, Nancy Caplan, Esquire will provide detailed mediation preparation instructions and will also provide the fee structure and mediation agreement prior to the first session.

You can contact Nancy Caplan, Esq. by telephone, (410) 296-2190 or by email, to schedule a consultation. Mediation sessions usually are conducted in person however, where hardship exists, telephone/Skype consultation and/or divorce mediation/family mediation by telephone/Skype can occur.

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