A stereotypical divorce involves months or even years of argument between the two parties. Television and movies portray the couple as squabbling over minute details while making every possible attempt to “win” the divorce. In reality, few divorces end in this way. In fact, both parties may wish to shorten the overall process by entering into a separation agreement. These agreements can serve to simplify divorces, as well as to provide alternatives to absolute divorce in the forms of a simple separation agreement that carries legal effect without ever going to court.
An experienced Frederick mediation lawyer could help you if you are open to alternative forms of dispute resolution. Mediation offers a powerful way to avoid conflict in open court and can save you significant time and money if you are willing to compromise. A seasoned divorce attorney could provide more information on the benefits of mediation.
When Mediation May Be an Option in a Divorce
While family courts in Frederick do operate in a way that places two spouses at odds with one another, this does not mean that the two parties need to fight with each other. True, courts do exist to settle disputes. However, they also serve an administrative function. Two people cannot end a marriage without running the case through the Family Court. Even if the two people agree on how that marriage should end, the Court must still play a role.
Most mediation sessions occur after one spouse files for a divorce. Regardless of the filing spouse’s motivations for asking the court for a divorce, the other spouse will have the chance to be heard. Common issues in divorces include the distribution of property, the payment of alimony, payment of child support, and the care and custody of minor children. The two spouses may agree, or at least be close to agreeing, on one or all these matters.
As a result, Md. Code, Family Law §7-103 (a)(8) says that parties may end a marriage by mutual consent if they agree on all matters that concern the divorce.
In fact, couples that agree as to all these matters may submit a completed agreement to the court along with a petition for a divorce. This can greatly shorten the entire divorce process, and only one of the parties will only have to appear in court once to finalize a divorce. A dedicated Frederick mediation attorney could help people who wish to enter into mediation sessions to come to terms on separation agreements that will accompany a divorce.
Using Mediation to Stay Out of Court
While mediation can play a powerful role in divorce matters before a Frederick Family court, it can also help to avoid the courtroom altogether. When spouses agree that they can no longer live together, they can take steps to end their relationship. However, the mere fact that they are married carries legal complications and obligations.
Once again, some of the big issues are property distribution, alimony, child support and child custody. A mediation session may yield a separation agreement that serves as a contract between the two spouses as they go their separate ways.
If both parties agree to the terms of this agreement, it holds full legal weight. If one party believes that the other has breached the contract, they can sue for enforcement in a civil court. When done properly, a separation agreement that is the product of a mediation session can allow two people to make a clean break without ever going to a Frederick Family Court. A knowledgeable mediation lawyer in Frederick could help people to press for their rights in these mediation sessions and to help create a mutually beneficial break that does not include a divorce trial.
How a Frederick Mediation Attorney Can Help
Mediation plays a significant role in many family law disputes. Especially in cases involving the breakdown of a marriage, a court has great power to distribute assets, order the payment of alimony, and make decisions concerning the care and custody of minor children and order child support. Oftentimes, spouses wish to retain control over this process and can meet on common ground to answer these key questions.
A Frederick mediation lawyer may be able to help you to enter into productive mediation sessions both in court and in separation agreement talks. They can work to identify realistic goals, to develop a strategy to meet those goals, and to present ideas in a productive way intended to foster a cooperative spirit. Ultimately, mediation can help to shorten time in court and to maintain healthy relationships after separation. Contact a Frederick mediation lawyer today to learn more.