Mediation FAQ's

Going before a judge is not the only way to resolve a family law dispute and often it's not the best way. Family law mediation allows you to sit down with a neutral party, the mediator, who works with you and your spouse, partner, or co-parent to identify issues and discuss possible options for resolution. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that allows you to come up with your own creative solutions to family problems without court intervention. Because the solutions come from you, not the mediator or a judge, agreements are more likely to be durable.

Here are answers to some of the questions The Law Office of Shelly M. Ingram frequently receives about mediation.

What is mediation?

Mediation is another form of dispute resolution, whereby a neutral third-party (the mediator), assists parties in negotiating a settlement.

What are the benefits of mediation?

Mediation can be a cost-effective alternative to litigation. With meditation, the details of your case do not become a public record, and it is easier for you to manage the disclosure of confidential financial information, as well as the underlying causes for the breakdown of your marriage. Mediation allows you to take control over the outcomes in your case. In custody cases, mediation can be especially helpful, because it creates positive momentum between parents as they continue to cooperate with one another for the benefit of their children. 

How long does mediation take?

The number of mediation sessions required to reach an agreement depends on a number of factors. These include your ability to listen and communicate, as well as to follow the direction of your mediator. Each mediation session is typically scheduled for two hours, with the first session dedicated to explaining the process, setting ground rules, and gathering information. In our experience, if everyone commits to the mediation process, most cases will settle in five sessions or fewer.

What is the role of the mediator?

The mediator is completely neutral in the mediation in process. The mediator’s role is to help resolve disputes by guiding the decision-making process without advocating for either side. Mediators are required toadhere to the Maryland Standard of Conduct for Mediators.

Can the mediator make any decisions for the parties?

The mediator cannot make decisions for the parties, nor can the mediator give any legal, financial, or any other specialized advice. The mediator assists the parties in making decisions by guiding discussions in a neutral manner.

Is mediation confidential?

All mediations are confidential and the mediator cannot be called as a witness in any administrative or judicial proceedings. Maryland law allows for disclosures under certain circumstances, including when it isnecessary to prevent bodily harm or death.

What kinds of topics can be resolved through mediation?

Any type of conflict can be resolved in mediation. Mediators can help resolve a variety of family law matters from premarital issues to custody and child support, alimony, and even the division of marital property and debt.

The answers to these questions are general in nature and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to replace specific legal advice. We invite you to contact our office at (301) 658-7354 to schedule a consultation, so that we can learn about the facts of your case and respond to the particulars of your unique situation.