So, the Complaint and Answer have been filed, you have had your Scheduling Conference and you and your spouse have attended mandatory parenting classes at The National Family Resiliency Center.
At the Scheduling Conference, the Master also ordered both of you to enter into two separate two hour sessions of mediation. The present cost is $100 per person per hour.
The Court has dozens of “certified mediators.” This means that the mediators have at least 60 hours of initial training, along with at least 4-8 hours of continuing mediation training each year.
All of that being said, the bottom line is that there are mediators, and there are mediators. Not every mediator is good for every case. I can say that, as I am a long-time mediator for Howard County and other jurisdictions, as well. I tend to handle Howard County high conflict custody mediation, as well as Howard County divorce high asset cases.
So, what the heck is mediation and what is its significance?
Mediation in Howard County divorce cases is a process where the parties can try to settle or narrow the issues in their case. Often, mediation will result in a resolution of the entire case. The mediator has no ability to make any decisions for the two of you. The mediator does not write a report to a judge. In fact, the entire mediation process is confidential, and neither of you can even testify in a court proceeding what happened in mediation.
Many clients will attend mediation by themselves without their attorneys present. However, when cases become more complex, such as a complex child custody case or complex or high asset case, as well as an issue of alimony, retirement assets, etc., it may be appropriate for the attorneys to attend mediation.
If you resolve your case in mediation, you can save tens of thousands of dollars of additional litigation and trial costs. However, not all cases can settle.
If your case does not settle in mediation, then you will proceed to the next phase, which is usually a pendente lite hearing, which will likely be your first contact with the Court system.
Stay tuned for Part 5, the Pendente Lite Hearing.