Divorce Mediation

Howard County Family Law Attorney

Cary Jacobson is a highly qualified, professional attorney who is extremely reliable, efficient and thorough. She took the time to explain options and legal language in non-legal, easy-to-understand terms and was also a very pleasant and fair individual to work with.

If you and your spouse or co-parent are in the process of dissolving your relationship and need assistance in communicating and negotiating an agreement as to child custody, financial support, property division or other issues, mediation may be a good option for you.

Mediation is the process wherein a neutral third party, a mediator, facilitates communication and negotiation between parties in an effort to resolve divorce-related issues including property division, custodial access, child support and spousal support. All communications that occur within the mediation are strictly confidential and cannot be used if the case eventually goes to court. Therefore, mediation is a safe environment to communicate and attempt to amicably resolve disputes.

Mediation allows you, the participants, to craft an agreement that works best for your and your family. Additionally, mediation can save your family money, time and the emotional turmoil that protracted litigation in the court system will cost. Parties who participate in reaching their own agreements in mediation are also more likely abide by the agreement than if the court issues an Order because it is custom tailored to meet your family’s needs instead of being a boilerplate solution.

divorce mediation lawyer - jacobson family law - Maryland - cary jacobson

If you and your spouse or co-parent are in the process of dissolving your relationship and need assistance in communicating and negotiating an agreement as to child custody, financial support, property division or other issues, mediation may be a good option for you.

Mediation is the process wherein a neutral third party, a mediator, facilitates communication and negotiation between parties in an effort to resolve divorce-related issues including property division, custodial access, child support and spousal support. All communications that occur within the mediation are strictly confidential and cannot be used if the case eventually goes to court. Therefore, mediation is a safe environment to communicate and attempt to amicably resolve disputes.

divorce mediation lawyer - jacobson family law - Maryland - cary jacobson

Mediation allows you, the participants, to craft an agreement that works best for your and your family. Additionally, mediation can save your family money, time and the emotional turmoil that protracted litigation in the court system will cost. Parties who participate in reaching their own agreements in mediation are also more likely abide by the agreement than if the court issues an Order because it is custom tailored to meet your family’s needs instead of being a boilerplate solution.

Jacobson Family Law is committed to keeping the drama out of divorce and other family law conflicts.

Cary Jacobson has been a mediator since 2008 and has assisted numerous couples in reaching agreements. If mediation is the right choice for your and your family, Cary Jacobson will work with you to effectively communicate with one another and explore options that you may not have considered.

mediate member - jacobson law firm - Maryland - cary jacobson
mediate program - jacobson law firm - Maryland - cary jacobson

FAQs

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process – a voluntary, non-adversarial, process involving a trained, impartial third party (mediator). The parties, not the mediator, make the agreement. The mediator has no power to render a decision or to force the parties to accept a settlement. Because the voluntary settlement that the parties reach is designed by the parties themselves, it is more likely to be carried out without the need for external enforcement or further litigation.

Do I need an attorney to represent me if I select Divorce Mediation?

No, there is no requirement that an attorney represent you if you choose mediation. However, it is strongly advisable to have your own attorney because a mediator cannot give you specific legal advice. Your attorney’s job is to protect your best interests via the legal advice provided so that you can make your own educated, fully-informed decisions.

What are the advantages of Divorce Mediation?

There are numerous advantages of mediation, including:

  • You are in control of the outcome.
  • No settlement can be imposed upon you (as happens in litigation).
  • Mediation is private and confidential.
  • Mediation is less time consuming than litigation.
  • You have the services of an experienced person who can aid your negotiations, and assist in achieving a quick settlement.
  • Mediation is less expensive than litigation.
  • You may be able to explore alternative solutions that you may not have considered or are not possible or available through the courts.
  • Mediation can help maintain or re-establish a positive relationship between the parties once the dispute is resolved. This is especially crucial if the parties are going to continue a co-parenting relationship.
  • If the Mediation is unsuccessful you have neither prejudiced or sacrificed any legal rights nor delayed significantly any ultimate settlement by the legal process.

What are the stages of the mediation process?

Commonly, mediations are broken down into five stages:

Introductions: The mediator introduces him or herself and the parties, discusses the objective of the mediation process, and lays out the ground rules for how it will be achieved.
Statements: Both parties get a chance to present their view of the issues without interruption from the other side. The statement is not necessarily a recital of the facts, but it gives the parties an opportunity to frame the issues in their own mind.
Information Gathering: This may occur with all parties present, or it might be conducted with the mediator engaging the two sides separately, known as a caucus. The goal is to move both sides toward agreement, issue by issue.
Negotiations: Once all relevant matters are on the table, the mediator typically brings all the parties back together to begin brainstorming and negotiating terms of an agreement.
Closure: When an agreement is reached by the parties, the mediator will draft the settlement agreement for the parties and their attorneys to review. Upon approval, the final settlement agreement will be signed by both parties.

Can my lawyer attend Divorce Mediation with me?

Yes, lawyers may attend mediation so that you can ask them for legal advice during the mediation. This can often times streamline the process for parties so they do not have to schedule follow-up sessions after they go back to speak with their attorneys.

However, there is no requirement that lawyers attend mediation. You will have an opportunity to have your attorney review any agreement reached in mediation before it is signed and becomes binding.

How much time does it take to mediate an agreement?

Most mediation sessions last between 1-2 hours. A “typical” mediation between parties averages 2-8 hours of mediation (broken into 2-4 separate sessions). Once an agreement is reached, the mediator will then draft the Settlement Agreement, which may also take between 2-8 hours, depending on the complexity of the terms. Therefore, parties should expect to pay for 4-16 hours for the mediator. Note: every matter is different and could take more or less time than the “typical” mediation.

How much does Divorce Mediation cost?

Most mediators charge by the hour. Therefore, the cost will range depending on the complexity of your particular case and how you able to reach an agreement.

If we reach an agreement in Divorce Mediation, do we still have to go to Court?

Yes, if you and your spouse reach an agreement in mediation, you will still have to go to Court to finalize the divorce process during an uncontested divorce hearing.

Is mediation only for people who get along reasonably well? What if my spouse and I cannot stand to be in the same room together?

No, mediation is not only for people who get along well. Mediation can be safely conducted with the parties either in separate rooms, via video conferencing or by phone (also known as online mediation), if necessary, in order to be productive. Mediated negotiations often reduce and de-escalate conflict between the parties.

Does Mediation cover all Issues in a Separation, Divorce or Family Dispute in Maryland?

Yes, mediation can address all issues arising in a separation or divorce including: child custody, child support, spousal support (alimony), and property division. For unmarried couples, mediation is often used to address child custody, custodial access and child support.

If an agreement cannot be reached on all issues, mediation can assist parties in narrowing the issues in dispute.

Can the Court order parties to attend Divorce/Family Mediation?

Yes, the courts often Court Order parties to attend mediation if there is a dispute concerning child custody or access. Additionally, if parties agree, they can be Court Ordered to attend mediation to resolve financial and property division issues.

What do I need to do to prepare for Divorce Mediation?

Most family law and divorce mediations require preparation of income, expense, asset and debt information, including but not limited to tax returns, pay stubs and statements from accounts.

Income Information: Be prepared to have your three most recent tax returns and wage statements available in order to calculate your income.
Expense Information: Be prepared to have in idea of your 12 month average expenses. Additionally, in order to calculate child support, you will need the expense information relating to major Child expenses, such as work-related child care expenses, health insurance costs for the Children, uninsured medical or educational expenses of the Children, such as private school and other major children expenses.
Health Insurance: Calculating the cost to cover each person on a policy of health, dental or vision insurance requires a breakdown of the costs to cover the primary insured (i.e. the Employee-only costs), and the break-down of the other family components (i.e., Employee plus 1 child, plus 2 children; Employee plus spouse). In a Child Support case, it is necessary to know the costs to cover the Children.
Debts: Debts include mortgages, home equity lines of credit, student loans, credit card debts, car loans, etc. Prior to mediation, you should know how your debts are titled.
Assets: An asset is the property you own, such as: a home, vacation home(s), timeshare, cars, trucks, boats, bank accounts, investment accounts, furniture, furnishings, collections, jewelry, businesses, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, college accounts, etc. It is important to know how each asset is titled and account number, if applicable.

How do I get started with Divorce/Family Mediation?

Schedule an appointment with Jacobson Family Law for mediation and we will provide you with the Agreement to Mediate for your review prior to your scheduled mediation.

Learn More About What We Can Do For You.

Jacobson Family Law serves clients across Annapolis, Columbia, Ellicott City, Towson, Owings Mills, Baltimore, and Frederick. To speak to an attorney, call 443-917-1517 or schedule an appointment.