COLLABORATIVE, MEDIATION AND LITIGATION AS YOUR DIVORCE OPTIONS
Divorce Lawyer in Maryland Explains Collaborative, Mediation and Litigation As Your Divorce Options
There are several ways in which a couple may seek divorce in Maryland. Many people imagine that divorce consists of stressful court scenes in which each spouse accuses the other of misconduct and a bitter fight ensues over who should get the beanie baby collection. While this is the case for some of the more antagonistic couples, there are other options when conditions are quite so unfriendly. Every situation is different so it’s best to contact a divorce lawyer in Maryland who has experience handling a wide variety of cases.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is the process through which the details of a divorce are figured out. A neutral moderator serves as a sort of referee and guide. The moderator guides the negotiations by keeping a couple on topic and ensuring each individual is heard but is meant to be impartial and is only there to keep the conversation on track and to assist in the decision-making process. The couple may decide to have attorneys or not.
This divorce is best suited for spouses who are on relatively good terms and do not have too much disagreement regarding the separation of their assets and child custody. Although a divorce attorney is not necessary, it’s always a safe bet to have a skilled divorce lawyer in Maryland by your side.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
A collaborative divorce is one in which each spouse has his or her own divorce lawyer in Maryland trained in collaborative law to assist with the divorce. It is a step more complicated than a mediated divorce since lawyers and other professionals are involved. The details of the divorce are worked out over several meetings with each spouse, their attorneys, and other professionals as needed. An agreement is made for each spouse to be completely honest in disclosing all relevant information and for each spouse not to use any revealed information against the other. This form of divorce is a good way for couples to maintain a relatively peaceful relationship during the divorce and to foster respect and communication. Other professionals that may join meetings during the process include:
- Financial advisors
- Divorce coaches
- Child specialists
Divorce will be hard on both parties. Going through the divorce process together can be a way to end a marriage with less conflict and stress.
What is Litigation?
A litigated divorce is one that is initiated by one spouse suing the other for divorce. This divorce is the most complicated and least harmonious as each spouse has their own divorce lawyer in Maryland and the court decides the details of the divorce after hearing from each side.
Which Divorce Option Should I Choose?
There are several aspects to consider when deciding which path to take when going through the divorce process. Most people are focused on how much the divorce will cost, how much time it will take, and whether they will be happy with the end result.
Divorces are notorious for being extremely expensive. Most of this expense is due to lawyer fees. This means a mediated divorce is almost always the least expensive, especially when lawyers are not necessary. A collaborative divorce is more expensive than mediation because it involves lawyers and other professionals, but litigation is the most expensive as attorneys have much more to do regarding paperwork, discovering evidence and creating arguments with it, and generally preparing for trial. Contact an experienced divorce lawyer in Maryland who can give you guidance in the best solution for your situation.
Though there is a new law called “divorce by mutual consent” which allows some couples to divorce without delay, many couples will not qualify and will be required to live 12 months apart or to prove one spouse was at fault. To qualify for a divorce by mutual consent, the couple must:
- Have no minor children in common
- Have signed a written agreement which lays out the alimony and property rights of each spouse and is submitted to and approved by the Court
- Agree to the written agreement provided to the Court
- Appear at the uncontested divorce hearing
Once this period to qualify for divorce has occurred, the time it takes to go through the divorce process depends on the relationship of the couple. Mediation and collaborative divorce are generally on a schedule with a set number of meetings that cover all necessary topics. It also is quite flexible as you set your own schedule and can take as much or as little time figuring out the details as is necessary. With a litigated divorce, it is very likely to take significantly longer. Preparation for court can be an extensive process in which arguments are developed based on evidence that can be obtained against the other spouse. Court itself also takes a long time and you are at the mercy of the Court’s schedule, which is notoriously delayed. Depending on how cooperative the couple is, the more the couple disagrees, the longer it will take to sort out the details of the divorce. Every situation is different and it’s best to consult with a divorce lawyer in Maryland who has experience conducting all sorts of options.
With mediation and collaborative divorces, the couple can control the divorce proceedings. Unlike with Court, you can be as creative as is necessary to meet the needs of your family. The level of control that the couple has in mediation and collaborative divorces can never be accomplished in court as you are leaving the decisions in the hands of an individual who has no real idea what your family is like. Litigated divorce should be a last resort for couples that truly cannot sort things out between themselves even with the help of neutral professionals.
Call a Divorce Lawyer in Maryland to Learn Your Options for Divorce
Divorce can not only be an emotionally overwhelming life event but a legally complex one as well. Having a trusted divorce lawyer in Maryland by your side can make all the difference in ensuring you’re making the best decisions for you and your family. Call The Burton Law Firm at (301) 358-3842 for all your family law legal matters.