Going through a divorce can be extremely emotional for all parties involved. When there are children, real estate and/or investments involved, it is extremely beneficial to utilize the family law mediation process to expedite the process and save money.
If all parties involve can agree to commit to mediation, then it is possible to come to a fair agreement often times within 2-3 meetings. For those situations where children as well as complicated investments are involved, we often have meetings dedicated to child custody and meetings devoted to financials. For circumstances with intricate investments, we will often bring in highly vetted financial experts.
Keeping Calm During Mediation
As family lawyers with a combined 45 years of experience, we understand it can be difficult for all parties to stay focused when it comes to discussing child custody and financials. Before emotions from either party get uncontrollable, we will often split the parties into separate rooms in what’s called caucusing.
This method is used typically to fully understand where each side is coming from and gives each party an opportunity to speak their mind, without alienating the other party. Caucusing provides an opportunity for everybody to calm their emotions and focus on the next steps. This also provides mediators time to explain that this is a paradigm shift and the roles that each party played during their marriage, will now be different.
The parenting plan before it is submitted to the court is basically a contract and is still enforceable. Once the custody order is entered, we would submit the parenting plan to the court as a consent order (agreement of the parties). Once it has become a court order, then it can be enforced by contempt.
Each family that we deal with is different, so there is never a clear cut answer for a parenting plan. If both parties want custody, then we start by understanding why each parent wants custody.
Both parents have equal rights. One will not have an advantage over the other when determining custody. Decisions by the courts depends more on the roles each played in the child’s life. Ultimately, Maryland courts want what is in best interest of the children and look to see who has been their primary caregiver(s).
Today a lot of parents unlike generations of the past, have been equally involved in the lives of their children. If the parties can’t come to an agreement, then the judge will make the decision and then often times no party comes out happy.
Expedite Your Divorce
If parties can achieve an agreement with a mediator, then they can get through the divorce process faster with substantially less expense. We encourage all parties to be fair and for parents to always put their children first.
The only way each party can have a schedule that they can live with, is if they can put their differences aside and come up with an agreement that is going to offer flexibility for both parents and children. If parties choose to spend thousands of dollars bringing custody and financial decisions to litigation, then again they are not going to be happy with the judge’s decision. If both parties can stay calm and focus on the plan, then they can get through the divorce process faster, as well as save thousands of dollars in attorney fees and maintain a more stable and loving environment for their children.
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