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What is the Difference Between Mediation and Collaborative Divorce in Maryland?

Unless the case involves extreme animosity or domestic violence, most parties going through Maryland divorce will have two options for resolving disputes.

  • Collaborative divorce under the state statute on collaborative law, a process in which the parties voluntarily participate; and,
  • Mediation, which the parties could choose or the judge will order when appropriate under the circumstances.

With either option, the objective for the parties is to agree on property division, alimony, child custody and visitation, and support. However, the path to achieving this goal is different when going through mediation versus collaborative divorce. One or the other might be suitable for your circumstances, and a Baltimore County mediation lawyer can provide personalized details. A summary of each type of proceeding is also helpful.

Overview of Divorce Mediation

During this proceeding, the parties and their attorneys attend a session that is overseen by a licensed mediator. This person is a neutral party who has special training for resolving disputes and facilitating productive discussions between divorcing spouses. The mediation professional reviews the facts at issue in the dispute and listens to each party’s position, often getting them closer on compromise.

  • Pros: Mediation is informal and less stressful than going through a disputed hearing, i.e., a trial, on divorce issues. The quicker time to resolution also means lower legal fees. If the parties cannot reach an agreement on all issues, they can still go to court and have the judge decide.
  • Cons: There are costs to retain the mediation professional, though these are nominal compared to litigation.

How Collaborative Divorce Works

With this process, the parties and their lawyers work together over a series of out-of-court conversations to resolve divorce issues. Collaborative divorce starts by negotiating and entering into an agreement that details the proceedings. You have considerable flexibility in setting the stage for collaborative divorce, as well as when addressing property division, spousal support, and issues related to minor children.

  • Pros: Legal fees are also reduced for collaborative divorce, since the discussions take place in a law office or even over the phone. The parties deal with each other at an arm’s length, through their respective lawyers, so animosity and intense emotions are less likely to thwart the process.
  • Cons: If collaborative divorce is unsuccessful, you will have to start from scratch to work with the traditional divorce process. The agreement may require confidentiality, preventing you from bringing certain conversations into court. The parties’ lawyers are usually required to withdraw before going forward with court action.

Consult With a Maryland Mediation Attorney About Options for Resolving Divorce Disputes

For more information on these two options for resolving divorce issues, please contact the Law Office of William F. Mulroney. Our team is knowledgeable about both mediation and collaborative divorce, so we can help you weigh the pros and cons. Please call (443) 352-8433 or visit our website to set up a no-cost consultation at our offices in Owings Mills, MD. Once we assess your circumstances, we can guide you in making the right decision on resolving disputes.

400 Redland Ct #110 A, Owings Mills Maryland 21117

Phone: (443) 352-8433

Fax:  (443) 660-7176

The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. I invite you to contact me and welcome your calls, letters and email. Contacting me does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not send us any confidential information before becoming a client. Such responses will not create a lawyer-client relationship, and whatever you disclose to us will not be privileged or confidential unless we have agreed to act as your legal counsel.

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