What is Divorce Mediation / Family Mediation in Maryland?
If you mediate with attorney and mediator, Nancy Caplan, Esquire, no retainer will be required. You will pay on an hourly basis. At Maryland Divorce Mediation & Legal Services, you may schedule a morning, afternoon or evening appointment.
Divorce mediation settlement negotiations are non-binding negotiating discussions had by parties who have legal issues needed to be resolved. Mediation is conducted in a private setting under the supervision and guidance of the neutral mediator. Discussions had in mediation are confidential. This means that what is discussed in the mediation is not intended to be brought up in any court proceeding if you cannot settle the case. This allows the parties to freely discuss possible solutions to the changes brought about by separation, divorce or child custody disputes. When the mediator is also an attorney, the attorney-mediator will often draft the Marital Settlement Agreement, which is also variously called a Separation Agreement, or a Property Settlement Agreement. Where minor children are in involved, the parenting issues are also part of the Marital Settlement Agreement. If the parties were never married this agreement relating to children is called a Parenting Agreement. The parties share the costs of the mediator for the negotiations and for the drafting of their settlement agreement.
In the traditional attorney-led negotiations parties pay retainers to their lawyers and the lawyers may begin settlement negotiations and/or file a lawsuit against the opposing party. Adversarial negotiations between lawyers are most often conducted by exchange of letters, by telephone without parties’ present. By contrast, in Divorce Mediation, the parties are present and sitting at the settlement table where negotiations are handled in a less adversarial and more diplomatic tone. The negotiating parties are prepared by the Mediator in advance to bring in their financial information which is shared, just as it will be required to be shared in an attorney-led negotiation, but without the legal wrangling associated with production of relevant financial information. In Divorce Mediation, lawyers may be present at some or all of the negotiation sessions, but often are not present to reduce costs and adversarial interference. If you mediate with Nancy Caplan, Esquire, you can tailor your negotiation process to meet the couple’s specific needs, concerns and preferences.
The neutral divorce mediator / family mediator does not judge the parties, does not offer legal advice to the parties and does not bring personal opinions or biases to the negotiations. The mediator provides the structure for addressing relevant issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, and the use of or division of debts and property such as the family home, personal property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, to arrive at a fair, practical and final Agreement. The mediator assures that each party is heard, and may assist the parties to generate useful and creative options for agreement. The process is voluntary which is why at Maryland Divorce Mediation & Legal Services you will never need to commit to a future session if you find mediation is not right for you. The divorce mediator / family mediator cannot reveal the substance of the negotiations and must keep all communications confidential, subject to a few exceptions by law.