Mediation in Divorce Proceedings in Maryland and DC
What is Mediation?
Mediation is when a neutral person assists disputants in reaching settlement.
What are the Forms of Mediation Used in Divorce and Family Law Cases in Maryland and DC?
There are several forms of mediation commonly used in Maryland and DC. These forms include:
- Two parties meet with one mediator. Generally, each party has separate counsel advising him or her outside the sessions as the mediation occurs, or, at a minimum, prior to the execution of a final document.
- Two parties meet with two mediators (co-mediation). Again, each party usually has separate counsel advising him or her outside the sessions as the mediation occurs, or at a minimum, prior to the execution of a final document. A two-mediator model can help neutralize dynamics that could undermine mediation, such as when parties are — consciously or unconsciously — vying to win over the mediator from a position of neutrality to one in which the mediator is “on their side.”
- Two parties, each with their lawyer in attendance, meet with the mediator. This is a very common form of mediation. It is often used when the parties have been unable to settle disputed issues with only the assistance of their attorneys, through negotiation. It is also often used if litigation is pending.
- Two parties meet with one mediator and never consult with attorneys. There are significant legal rights and obligations that must be addressed when family law issues are at stake. Each party should consult with their own independent counsel. It is unwise to settle a family law matter without obtaining proper legal advice. Even if the mediator chosen is an attorney, the mediator is not acting as an attorney and cannot give legal advice to either party.
It’s important to understand that a mediator is not a judge and does not make decision for the parties. Nor is mediation about one party convincing the mediator that he or she is right, so that the mediator will go back and convince the other party that they should “give in.” Nor is it about proving which side is legally right or wrong.
Instead, mediation is focused on one thing – helping the parties develop a mutually-agreeable solution to the issues at stake.
This is not legal advice. Please read our "disclaimer" to understand why this information is not a substitute for legal advice.