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Germantown, MD 20874
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Mediation vs Collaborative Law

Helping You Amicably Resolve Family Law Issues through Mediation

If you are looking for a way to minimize the financial and emotional costs of your family law matters, you may have given consideration to mediation or the collaborative approach. It is important to understand the differences between the two, as well as your rights in each type of proceeding. You want an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer to help you determine whether either of these methods of dispute resolution can benefit you.

If you are seeking to settle your disputes without the time and expense of divorce litigation, I will help you understand how the process works, what your rights are, and how you can best use the process to meet your goals. Contact my office or call me at 301-916-2900 to set up a reduced-fee consultation.

Mediation: Advantages Over Collaboration, why it's the Best Approach

Based on my two decades of family law experience, I believe that mediation offers many more advantages than the collaborative process.  

What is Mediation?

In mediation, you and your ex-spouse work cooperatively with a neutral third party, seeking solutions that are acceptable to both parties. The mediator does not represent either party, but is tasked with helping you find mutually beneficial ways to settle your differences. The mediator does not consider legal arguments or take testimony, and will not render a decision. Attorneys may be part of the process, but are not required. If the mediator succeeds in helping you reach a settlement, the terms of the agreement will be formalized in a written contract that becomes enforceable in court.

Though you don't need an attorney in the mediation process, it is important to consult with one before and sometimes also during mediation. The mediator will not make certain that you understand your rights. The mediator will only work with you to help you come to agreement. If you consult with an attorney ahead of time, you will be in a much better position to understand what your rights are, and what you can reasonably expect to achieve in a fair mediated agreement.

The Benefits of Mediation

Mediation has many benefits. First, it puts you in control, rather than the court. You are integrally involved in all final decisions. Second, because it is cooperative in spirit, the solutions that come out of the process tend to be easier to enforce and last longer. Because you are to some extent working with your current or former spouse or partner in voluntarily agreeing to mediate, there tends to be less stress and anxiety than in court litigation. Finally, mediation can save considerable time and expense in reaching resolutions.

What About the Collaborative Process?

In the collaborative process, you and your current or former spouse or partner each will be represented by an attorney, but those attorneys can only represent you in the collaborative proceedings. If you are unable to resolve all issues, you must each discharge your attorneys and find other lawyers to represent you. This is true no matter how long the attorney has been representing you. Further, your lawyer also has to disclose information to the other side that you may share, meaning you do not have the attorney-client privileges that are traditionally available. Finally, most collaborative processes use additional professionals, such as family therapists and financial planners. Therefore, you are paying for multiple attorneys and professionals, which can make the process quite expensive.

In my years of practice, I have encountered more than one person who participated in the collaborative process without fully understanding what they were entering into. They thought they were agreeing to mediate, but soon realized they were participating in something very different.  They were spending thousands of dollars on attorneys and other professionals that would be completely wasted if they left the collaborative process, because they would have to start over with brand new attorneys. In the end, they felt they had to accept an unfair agreement just to end the collaborative process. They told me that if they had known what they were signing up for in terms of cost and in terms of the lack of true attorney representation, they would never have agreed to participate in a collaborative process.  

Contact My Office

To learn more about mediation or the collaborative law process, contact me or call me at 301-916-2900. All initial consultations are at a reduced fee. My office is open weekdays from 9 am until 5 pm. Visa and MasterCard are welcome.

I offer competitive rates.