During mediation, a neutral third party serves as an intermediary between parties involved in a conflict or in our case, divorce. Mediation is an assisted negotiation. It is informal, confidential, and voluntary. Linda Ostovitz, a Offit Kurman’s family law attorney, offers evaluative mediation services, which means that as the negotiations progress she is able to provide constructive feedback and guidance to help the parties move toward an agreeable resolution. If you are thinking about divorce mediation or know someone who is, please share with them the following tips to help get started:
A. Decide with your spouse that mediation is the way to proceed.
Discuss mediation as an option with your spouse. Be sure to point out the significant savings in money, time, and stress that many people report as a benefit of mediation. Build a list of questions about the mediation process for discussion with your attorney.
B. Investigate possible mediators.
Selecting the right mediator is very important. Consider the different types of mediation before deciding which one would be best suited to your situation.
C. Sources include a court-approved list.
Look for certified mediators, approved for the court and who meet all of the requirements and qualifications.
D. Get recommendations from your attorney and/or others who have used mediation.
Consult with your attorney and others who have used mediation to get some advice and recommendations. They can usually provide useful insights about the process and give you an idea about how mediation works.
E. Consult with your spouse about possible dates, and then assign one person to contact the mediator.
One of the favorable things about mediation is that the process is shaped around your schedule, not the court’s. Talk with your spouse about dates that work for both of you and then choose one person to contact the mediator to schedule your first appointment.
F. Gather relevant information prior to the first session.
Before you meet with the mediator, consider all of the relevant issues and gather as much information as possible. This might include marital property documents, bills, childcare schedules, and more.
G. Think about how you would like an agreement to look.
Start to formulate some ideas about how you would want the divorce agreement to look, what elements should be included, what is important to you? Keep a notepad and begin jotting these ideas down.
H. Proceed with an open mind.
It is important to approach the mediation process with an open mind. While you will have ideas about how you want the divorce to proceed, remember that your spouse will have ideas as well. Try to remain open-minded and think of the best and final result—does it meet your needs, your children’s needs? During the mediation process, people make decisions together on all of the marital issues including alimony, housing, retirement, custody, etc. Many people find that the stress of courtroom divorce proceedings can surface negative feelings and comments that have an impact on a relationship for years to come. In the case of people with children and close family ties, the ability to make decisions together regarding marital issues allows for a more civil separation and termination of the marriage. If you are open-minded, reasonable, interested in saving money and desirous of determining your own fate, then mediation can be a more advantageous alternative to resolve marital disputes. Contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz at firstname.lastname@example.org more information.
ABOUT LINDA SORG OSTOVITZ
Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 32 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
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