Family Law Mediation in Anne Arundel County, Maryland
At some point in life, everyone will need the services of a lawyer in some capacity. This is likely a stressful time in your life, and worrying about the time commitment and costs of an attorney can be overwhelming.
However, for many family law concerns, you may be able to make use of a mediator to settle your disputes in a more efficient manner. If you’d like to learn more about family law mediation and how it may work for you, reach out to Kathleen M. Kirchner Attorney At Law, to get started. An attorney at the firm understands the challenges you are facing and can help you and your family look toward a brighter future. Kathleen is able to help clients in and around the Anne Arundel County, Maryland, area as well as throughout Queen Anne's, Calvert, Prince George's, and Howard counties.
Common Family Law Issues That Can Be Mediated
Family law is one branch in the legal world that affects nearly everyone, and because of this, you should be familiar with your options on how to find help. Some of the more common issues that a mediation attorney can assist with include:
establishing a child custody agreement or modifying an existing one,
child support arrangements;
division of assets after a divorce or separation,
establishing or modifying child visitation schedules; and,
addressing debt issues in a separation or divorce.
What to Expect at Mediation
If you’ve never participated in this practice, naturally your first question will be, “What happens at mediation?” Although the exact process will vary depending on the issue you’re trying to resolve, there are some constants that will be true of most mediations.
The first thing to understand about mediation is that your mediator will not be making any decisions for you. Their role is to guide you through productive conversations, keep you on track, and help the two disputing parties come to a joint agreement on their own. This isn’t to say that the mediator won’t play an important role, though. They can inform you both of the law and how certain decisions will affect the outcome, and they can offer general advice to both of you but they will not take sides.
In most mediation sessions, your mediator will ask you to come prepared with certain documents or to have done “homework” in preparation. This will help you use your time efficiently and come to solutions quicker.
In some cases, the mediator may have a short, individual discussion with each party in private, but this is only done in an effort to help both parties come to a resolution.
Once a solution is reached, the mediator will often write up the key points and have all parties involved sign off on it. This could also include filling out the required paperwork for the courts (i.e. divorce settlement, parenting plan modification, etc.)
What to Do to Prepare for Mediation
Properly preparing for mediation is the best way to ensure a successful outcome and to save yourself time and money.
In almost all cases, you’ll be trying out mediation because you can’t resolve a dispute with another person, and you both agree to try this approach.
The first step should be to find a mediator that you both feel comfortable with and trust to fairly represent both sides and remain an impartial third party. It’s completely acceptable to meet with two or three mediators before deciding upon the one you want to continue with.
Make sure you’re aware of your mediator’s fee structure and have a plan on how it will be paid.
Once you find a mediator you want to work with, you’ll have to provide them with background information so they can properly prepare to help you. For example, if you’re going through a divorce, you’ll want to tell them what you’ve already agreed upon with your spouse and what’s still undecided. This could mean that you agree about child custody and support, but are not able to resolve issues about asset division.
In most cases, you will also need to provide documentation, and this can be prepared ahead of time. Depending on your case, this could include bank statements, joint accounts, insurance policies, retirement accounts, loan documents, and details about assets and debts.
Tips for a Successful Mediation
Always do your homework. Mediation is only a less-expensive alternative if you’re ready to put in the work that’s asked of you.
Don’t go in with a preconceived idea of the result. The more open you are to different possibilities, the better your outcome.
Be flexible, but also know where you stand, and be prepared to voice your point of view clearly and without emotion.
Treat everyone with respect. If you are not on reasonably good speaking terms with the other party and you aren’t willing to truly listen to them, mediation will be ineffective.
Be patient. You likely won’t reach a solution in your first session, so trust the process and don’t try to rush it.
Speak with a reliable family law professional to learn more tips for successful mediation and walk you through the process.
Family Law Mediator Serving Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Speaking with a trusted lawyer before starting the meditation process is vital to ensure the process goes smoothly. If you’re looking for a family law attorney in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, who provides guidance in mediation, give Kathleen M. Kirchner Attorney At Law a call to schedule a consultation and see if it’s a good fit.