Towson Divorce Mediation Lawyer
Divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved. Emotions are running high, communication is challenging, and both parties are looking to protect their interests. To ensure a beneficial outcome in this situation, it’s important to get professional legal support. When you’re ready to reach a successful resolution, you should consider working with a local Towson divorce mediation lawyer.
At Lebovitz Law, our experienced divorce lawyers provide valuable legal advice and representation. We will clarify your path, protect your rights, and help you to move forward with confidence. We have been serving the Towson community for many years, and we’re happy to work with clients in Baltimore County, Howard County, and beyond.
Towson is a beautiful part of Maryland with a proud history. Like other parts of the United States, however, divorce does affect the local community. In 2021, there were 1.6 divorces out of every 1,000 inhabitants, which represents a significant proportion of the community.
If you need a divorce mediation lawyer in Towson, we will deliver the fair outcome that you deserve.
Maryland Divorce Laws
Divorce laws differ widely across the United States, so it’s important to get advice from a local divorce mediation expert. As a refuge for Catholics in the new world but with a relatively progressive legal stance, Maryland has always had a complex relationship with divorce. Some laws can be very difficult to navigate, and professional support is absolutely critical.
Let’s look at different types of divorce, analyze the grounds for divorce, and see how long it takes to get a divorce in Towson, MD.
Absolute Divorce vs. Limited Divorce
An absolute divorce is simply called “divorce” or “dissolution of marriage” in other states. An absolute divorce effectively ends the marriage, with each party able to go their own way. If children are involved, the situation can be more complex.
In contrast, a limited divorce is actually a form of legal separation. While it allows both parties to separate, and it creates a legal framework for spousal or child support, the couple remain legally married and cannot remarry.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Maryland?
There are specific grounds needed for divorce in Maryland, which depend on the type of divorce that’s filed for. Grounds for both types of divorce are determined by statute. An absolute divorce has two types of grounds: “no fault” grounds, and grounds based on “fault”. While no proof is required for the former, as it’s based on mutual consent, it is needed for the latter.
Specific grounds for an absolute divorce based on “fault”:
- Desertion for 12 months without interruption
- 12 months of separation without interruption
- Cruelty of treatment toward the complaining party or their child
- Excessively vicious conduct toward the complaining party or their child
- Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor
- Insanity, with confinement of at least 3 years without hope of recovery
A limited divorce has four possible grounds:
- Cruel treatment toward a spouse or their child
- Excessively vicious conduct toward a spouse or their child
- Actual or constructive desertion
- Voluntary separation
How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?
The time it takes to get a divorce depends on multiple factors, including the type of divorce, the grounds for divorce, and the number of disputed issues. Administrative issues also affect timing, including the residential and work addresses of both parties, the location of the initial filing, and the court calendar. This time frame also depends on whether you reach a settlement, and whether specific grounds require a separation period.
Most divorces in Maryland are resolved within several months, but the exact time varies based on the nature of the case. When uncontested and based on mutual consent, it may take just a couple of months. If you have a contested case with no custody issues, you can expect a minimum of 12 months from the date of filing. If there are custody issues or other complexities, this time frame can be even longer.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is a legal process that’s designed to resolve a contested case. There are multiple types of family-based remediation, including annulment, establishment of paternity, child custody, child and spousal support, and divorce remediation. During the mediation process, both parties will meet a trained third party in an informal setting. Mediation may be voluntary or ordered by the court, but either way, a final agreement is not required.
Mediation programs can be beneficial to both parties in a divorce, with various methods used to replace adversarial procedures with positive resolutions. Mediation is particularly useful in situations involving children. In fact, all cases that involve contested custody or visitation are referred to mandatory mediation in the state of Maryland. Mediation can help to resolve family disputes before or after divorce under a marital settlement agreement.
Whether you live near Charles St, Providence Rd, or York Rd, it’s important to work with an experienced Towson divorce mediation attorney.
Who Should (and Shouldn’t) Consider Divorce Mediation?
Divorce can be a lengthy and stressful process, and mediation is often advised to promote resolution. This process is not always appropriate, however, so it’s important to understand why. Many personal circumstances preclude mediation, including personal issues related to lack of trust and communication, as well as historic incidents of domestic violence and trauma. While it can be highly effective, divorce mediation is not the right solution for everyone.
Is mediation a good idea in divorce? Well, it depends on who you are.
People Who Share Trust and Communication
Divorce mediation only works when both parties trust each other and communicate effectively. While mediation can help to build a good post-marriage relationship, there needs to be common ground. When both parties want similar things and can talk freely, divorce mediation can work.
People Who Want Control and Support
If you share trust and communication but lack clarity on specific divorce issues, mediation can be an effective solution. While it’s not as easy as signing an agreement, mediation gives you control over specific issues and allows you to solve complex problems with the help of a neutral third party.
People Who Want Fast and Cost-effective Resolution
If you want to resolve your divorce issues quickly, mediation can be a great tool. Divorce mediation allows you to set the pace and avoid the courts, which is faster than a contested hearing and much more cost-effective. In most situations, mediation fees are split between spouses.
People Who Have an Imbalance of Power
Whether it’s a long history of domestic violence or recent bullying during the marriage breakdown, an imbalance of power can make mediation impossible. If either party remains angry or resentful for any reason, divorce mediation is not advised.
People with Limited Assets or Issues
If both parties are leaving the marriage on similar financial terms, and there are no children involved, it may be possible to end the marriage without mediation. In this situation, you just need an attorney to put a divorce agreement in writing.
People with Secrets
If either party has a secret that could potentially impact the divorce, mediation is not recommended. Whether it’s unknown family money, children from a previous partner, or a serious illness, divorce mediation is not effective without full disclosure.
Maryland Divorce Mediation Preparation
If you’re interested in engaging with a divorce mediator, it’s important to be prepared. First, you need to choose a mediation professional, and both parties need to agree on a specific individual. You need to choose between an attorney mediator or a non-attorney mediator, with only the former qualified to draft a formal legal agreement for independent review.
A specialist family law mediator is the ideal solution, especially if they have experience with child custody, child and spousal support, division of property and debts, and related issues. These issues need to be dealt with before you finalize a Marital Settlement Agreement, Parenting Agreement, or Property Settlement Agreement.
After conducting research, you need to contact your chosen mediator. Either party can make initial contact, and a mediation session is then scheduled.
Upon confirmation of the first appointment, both parties will receive the participation and fee agreement contract. Prior to the meeting, they will have an opportunity to provide separate confidential mediation statements directly to the mediator. If requested by either party, a non-substantive initial consultation session is available to discuss the mediation process. Every divorce is different, with meeting numbers and resolution timelines highly dependent on the nature and complexity of the case.
Common Misconceptions About Mediation
There are many misconceptions associated with divorce mediation. Before we analyze these misconceptions, it’s important to highlight a typical mediation scenario. During mediation, both spouses meet with a neutral third party, who can assist with any issues relating to the divorce. From child custody and parenting to property and finances, the details of mediation depend on the specifics of the case. The terms of mediation are always controlled by the married couple, and the end goal is always to reach agreement.
The following misconceptions are common:
- I’ll be forced into an agreement. When you engage a professional mediator, you will be presented with multiple options. The end goal is to find win-win solutions, some of which you probably haven’t considered. The mediator will never pressure you to reach agreement, however, and if it’s voluntary rather than court-ordered, you can stop at any time.
- There is no one to represent my interests alone. Working with a mediator is not an exclusive arrangement. You still have an opportunity to consult with counsel and speak with third-party experts between sessions. You will also be encouraged to do your own research — hundreds of books, articles, and websites are available on Maryland divorces, child custody, and other legal issues.
- The process will lack any real resolution. People often think the mediation process will break down and deteriorate into arguments. This is not necessarily the case, as professional mediators are trained to respect both parties and resolve difficult conflicts. A competent mediator will not allow abusive behavior, with good communication skills and a calm attitude having a positive effect on all parties in the room.
How to Go About Choosing a Divorce Mediator in Towson
Once you’ve decided to engage a mediator for divorce, it’s vital to do some research. Write notes to gain clarity on specific issues, ask questions about their process, and compare services based on specializations and professional expertise. For example, if you seek resolution for child custody and parenting issues, it’s important to work with a mediator who has experience in this area.
If you’re looking for an experienced divorce mediation attorney in Towson, MD, you can trust Lebovitz Law.
The Divorce Mediation Process
Divorce mediation is a relatively straightforward process, with various steps taken place before, during, and upon agreement.
Before mediation, it’s important to choose a service, initiate the service, and provide background information to the mediation professional. For example, you may be asked to complete a mediation statement outlining personal information and divorce-related issues. You might also be asked to sign a mediation agreement, which helps to enforce confidentiality.
The mediation process involves meetings between the married couple and a third-party mediator. This normally takes place in person at a convenient local address, but it can also occur online. Private one-on-one discussions between the mediator and either spouse are sometimes part of this process. Attorneys representing either party can also be present at mediation. In a typical meeting, the married couple will speak on specific issues, and the mediator will ask questions and summarize points.
The Post-Mediation Agreement
If some or all of your issues are resolved during mediation, you will be asked to sign an agreement. If topics have not been resolved during mediation, you must agree to resolve them at a later date or ask a court to decide during a court hearing. Depending on the service, mediators can help you to file divorce paperwork with the court. If the court approves your settlement agreement, it becomes part of the final divorce decree.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing Divorce Mediation
Do You Both Want a Divorce?
Divorce mediation is not marriage counseling, and both parties need to be on the same page. If both parties don’t want a divorce, a mediation divorce lawyer is unlikely to help.
Do You Know What Your Assets and Debts Are?
It’s important to have a clear picture of your finances before you start the mediation process. Secret financial arrangements or lack of disclosure can make mediation impossible.
Can You Communicate With Your Spouse?
Honest communication is the cornerstone of divorce mediation. While you’re likely to disagree on many issues, you need to speak about issues openly in the spirit of collaboration.
Are You Both Flexible?
Successful divorce mediation requires a flexible mindset. Both parties need to listen closely, speak clearly, and be prepared to compromise in order to achieve resolution.
Experienced Divorce Mediation Attorney in Towson, MD
Are you looking for an experienced divorce mediation lawyer in Towson, MD? At Lebovitz Law, we offer a trusted mediation process based on decades of experience and a deep understanding of Maryland law. Firm owner Richard Lebovitz is a member of the Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and State of Maryland Bar Associations, and he’s also a proud member of the Maryland Association for Justice.
If you need expert support to resolve your divorce and move on with your life, Richard and his team are ready to help. Please contact Lebovitz Law for more information.