Mediation is a requirement for any contested custody or divorce case in Frederick, Maryland.
Divorce Mediation is also the best possible way to resolve custody and divorce cases
In Frederick, Maryland mediation is a necessary step to completing a contested divorce or custody case. At a point early in the case, the parties will receive a court order which identifies a mediator whom they should contact to satisfy their mediation requirement . The judge will not grant you court time until you have: a) engaged in a mediation and b) can identify when and with whom you did the mediation.
The mediator must be “qualified” for the court to deem the mediation requirement satisfied. While most qualified mediators are lawyers, a “qualified” mediator does not have to be a lawyer. It is easy to find out if a mediator is “qualified” with the court in the jurisdiction where you have your case.
Many people have attempted to resolve their differences before they even file with the court. When that is the case, sometimes the court will accept that as satisfaction of the mediation requirement. If the court does not accept your previous mediation or orders you to participate in mediation, you will receive an order as described above.
In some cases, the order will include the expense of the mediator and even the date and time of the initial mediation session. If one or both of the parties is under a severe economic burden, he or she may apply to the court for a waiver of the fee. The court has the authority to waive the fee if parties use the court mediator and sometimes the court will even pay a private mediator or order a private mediator to waive the fee.
You should have a lawyer when you open your case. If you are the defendant you should get a lawyer as soon as you get served with the custody or divorce case. Either way your lawyer can advise you if using the court’s reduced fee “in-house” mediator is in your best interest. If not, your lawyer may recommend at “private” mediator (usually an experienced divorce or custody lawyer.) Some courts will permit any qualified mediator to handle the case. Other courts will specify that the mediator must be a lawyer for all or part of the mediation.
A mediator may handle the discussion as a comprehensive matter. Sometimes you may wish to use the mediation on an “al la carte” basis for example handling one part of the divorce, like child support. In such a case, you may ask the court to decide on a different issue such as property division like the adjustment of retirement plans.
At the time of this article the expense of mediation is $50 per hour for “in-house” mediation and up to $200 for private mediation. In house mediation takes place on the lower level of the Frederick Courthouse and private mediations customarily take place at the mediator’s office. Two sessions are scheduled of not less than two hours each. Many people look to mediation with guarded optimism. Some look to it as an opportunity to resolve a few outstanding issues. Some look at it as just a speed bump.
Mediation as with anything, it is sometimes what you make of it but it is a requirement you must fulfill. If you view it from the point of view that you want to do the minimum to get through you need to 1) attend, you need to 2) pay and you need to 3) exercise good faith. The problem: “good faith” is like “good breath” everybody thinks they have it and thinks that the other guy does not. The general idea is to be engaged or at least look engaged in the process.
Timothy Conlon, Esquire for The Custody Place.
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