Common Questions on Alternatives to Litigation
Can you negotiate a divorce settlement without going to court?
Absolutely, the goal is to give parties the opportunity to resolve the highly sensitive and personal issues associated with family law on their own and with guidance.
How do you prepare for the negotiation to increase its chances of success?
Preparing for negotiations is critical to settlement. Equal level of preparation is given to custody and access negotiations but often done through direct discussions with clients to get a full picture of the family status quo.
What are the alternatives to litigation and how does one decide which option to take?
There are various alternatives to litigation which include negotiating a marital settlement between parties with or without counsel, mediation, and collaborative divorce. Having an attorney you can trust to talk through all your options and provide you with information to make a thoughtful and educated decision is the best way for a person decide what is the best option.
What is mediation and how does it work?
Mediation is when a neutral third party is hired by both parties to assist them in crafting a settlement agreement. It is an opportunity for parties to decide how they want to divide assets and property, split time with their children, and work out individual financial obligations.
What makes a divorcing couple ideal candidates for meditation?
In most divorce cases filed in Maryland, the Court orders parties to mediation. The Court in general prefers that parties reach their own settlements without Court intervention if and when possible.
Can you mediate a case with major power imbalances between the couple?
Most cases with a history of domestic violence are not candidates for mediation due to the power imbalance of the parties however, there are times where modifications, custody, access, and property/asset divisions can be addressed in mediation with counsel even with a history of domestic violence and/or abuse.
How long does a typical divorce mediation process take?
Mediation sessions vary from case to case. In general there are at least two sessions, one dealing with property and asset division and one to deal with custody, access, child support, etc.
Can you mediate specific issues without having to mediate the whole case?
The mediation process is one which serves the interests of both parties involved. A mediator’s top concern regarding individual issues include property distribution, post-divorce planning, legal and physical custody, and much, much more. In some cases parties can reach an agreement while still requiring Court intervention on other issues.
Can you mediate a high conflict divorce?
It is actually very beneficial for high conflict divorce cases to participate in the mediation process. This allows both parties to focus on areas with limited or no conflict, which in turn can make approaching other high conflict issues a bit easier to navigate.
Is collaborative divorce more or less expensive than litigation or mediation?
Both collaborative divorce and mediation can save people going through divorce substantial amounts of money which would otherwise be spent preparing for trial, litigation, and court appearances. In the interest of reducing expenses and saving money, we recommend that you utilize either of these methods.
Does collaborative divorce always work, or does it fail sometimes?
Any negotiation process has its chances of setbacks. Collaborative divorce may not work for everyone, although those who are able to reach a collaborative agreement typically tend to be satisfied with the outcome as well as the money saved from avoiding litigation.
Contact the Rockville and Frederick family law attorneys of Fait & DiLima, LLP today to schedule a consultation and discuss your legal needs. Email our firm or call 301-888-6384. We have offices in Rockville and Frederick; both are conveniently located near the courthouses.
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Dorothy R. Fait & Marjorie G. DiLima are Published Authors of Divorce In Maryland: The Legal Process, Your Rights, and What to Expect (2017)
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