Obtaining a divorce can be a long, contentious and expensive process. However, if you and your spouse are able to communicate in a respectful manner throughout the process, then there are many benefits to using mediation instead of litigation to resolve the issues involved in your case.
During the mediation process, the parties meet with a professional mediator to work out a mutual agreement regarding property, finances, child custody and other concerns. Once signed by both parties, the agreement is legally binding.
Here are some of the benefits of using mediation versus litigation in divorce:
- You determine the outcome. In court, the facts are argued by the attorneys and decisions are made by the judge. Choosing divorce mediation allows you to have control over your destiny, instead of placing it in the hands of a third-party judge who doesn’t live with the outcome. Mutually agreed upon decisions tend to produce greater buy-in and support than court-ordered pronouncements.
- You save money. The cost of mediation is considerably less than the amount typically spent on litigation, where final costs are determined by any number of factors brought about during the trial process. In mediation, you have a better idea upfront of the total cost. In addition, the fees for mediation are typically split between the parties, so that each party has a vested interest in making it work.
- You preserve the relationship. By its very nature, the mediation process is collaborative, not adversarial. Attorneys come to court prepared for a fight in order to best advocate for their client’s interests. Many times, unflattering things are said or brought to light. Once the divorce is finalized, these things cannot be unsaid or unshared. This situation often creates long-lasting resentment and hostility. The mediation process is focused on problem-solving techniques and not winning versus losing. This usually leads to improved relationships and outcomes for everyone. Although you will cease being Husband and Wife you will never cease to be Mom and Dad.
- You set the timetable. Litigating a divorce can take a long time, and you are at the mercy of the court when it comes to scheduling. Often the longer a trial continues, the more contentious it becomes. When you work with a mediator, you schedule mutually convenient times to meet and come to a resolution.
- You can address issues that a court cannot. During a trial, you will not have the opportunity for discussion of all of your concerns; instead, your attorney will represent your interests. This is a good thing in many ways; it is how the legal system is meant to work. But a divorce isn’t just about the law: there are many emotional issues involved, for the spouses and their children. During mediation, the parties talk about what they want and why. These topics are not limited by the court during mediation.
If you are preparing for a divorce, consider the benefits of using a mediator and determine if it is workable for your circumstances.
It is important to note that even if the mediator is an attorney, the mediator does not represent you or your spouse, so plan to hire an experienced family law attorney to represent your specific needs and interests — either during the mediation process or after for a review of the agreement before it is signed.
If you have questions or would like information on other family law topics, please contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz, Offit Kurman, P.A, at (301) 575-0381 to schedule a consultation.
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.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. With over 120 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our eight offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Northern Virginia markets, as well as the Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City metropolitan areas. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.
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