Q: Why should I use a lawyer to handle my mediation?
A: Attorneys have practice and regularly deal with problem solving, compromises and finding innovative solutions to seemingly common problems.Through law school training attorneys are familiar with the steps needed to evaluate and thoroughly analyze all cause and effect scenarios.An attorney mediator can work effectively with the individual attorney representing each party.They know the now the law and can work with you more effectively at drafting a legal agreement.
Q: If I cannot resolve my dispute through mediation can I also use Shah and Kishore to represent my in court for my legal dispute?
A: No you cannot. By definition, a mediator is a neutral, third-party individual, therefore, the mediator cannot, at the conclusion of the mediation sessions, choose sides and represent one party over the other.
Q: How can mediation help me with my divorce?
A: Mediation is faster. Disputes solved during mediation can be resolved in as fast as a few days. Some issues can take up to two months to resolve however in any case it is shorter than a lengthy divorce case in the court system that can take several months. Divorce cases require months of preparation from both sides, a trial and post-litigation. Mediation cuts out the hassle and prevents hurt feelings from being prolonged.
Mediation is cheaper. Making the decision to end the marriage is never an easy one, however with mediation that decision does not have break the bank. It is hard enough transitioning into life as divorced families without worrying about making ends meet with expensive litigation fees.
Mediation is private. Information shared during mediation sessions are private and held to a strict confidentiality code unlike cases in the court. Court files are open to the public and virtually anyone can have access to them. This way, what happens in mediation stays in mediation and your personal life stays private.
Q: How can mediation benefit my children?
A: With child custody or divorce many times parents try to work out their issues by screaming or yelling. This can have a serious adverse effect on all children involved. With mediation, parents can effectively communicate their goals, desires and feelings without screaming and/or violence. This will create a happier home and a better environment for all involved children.
Q: When would one need to use mediation instead of litigation?
A: Mediation requires cooperation and agreement between two parties. It also requires the parties to work together to achieve a common goal which may require compromise. If you and the other party cannot agree on the choice to get mediation, or if you cannot agree on most fundamental issues mediation may not be for you. The good thing about mediation however is its risk-free. If you do not resolve your disputes through mediation both parties are free to pursue litigation.
Q: How do I prepare for mediation?
A: Preparing for mediation is the best way to ensure a positive outcome. It also helps both parties take advantage of the mediation process and get the most out of it. There are several steps in preparing for mediation.
Both parties must understand that it may take several sessions with the opposing party to come to an agreement. If this is not something that you are prepared or willing to do then litigation might be a better option as the interaction between you and the other partner is limited.
It is important to understand how the mediation process works so that you are aware of exactly what you are getting yourself into and there are no surprises. For more information on the mediation process, please see “What does the mediation process look like?”
You should come into the mediation session process. Gather all of your financial information (if applicable), marriage and/or divorce information and all other paperwork that might be beneficial to the session.
Plan to make other arrangements for applicable children as they should not be present during the mediation session.
Q: What are the rules mediators have to follow? How can I ensure they are doing their job?
A: Mediators in the state of Maryland must meet certain general requirements. They must be at least 21 years of age; have a bachelor’s degree from accredited university (may be waived for good cause); have 40 hours of approved training; abide by standards adopted by the Court of Appeals; agree to submit to periodic monitoring; and comply with the court’s procedures, including accepting reduced fee or pro bono cases.
The qualifications for mediators of child access disputes include meeting all of the above criteria, observation of 8 hours of child access disputes and they must have 20 hours of approved training in family mediation.
For marital property issues the mediator must meet all general requirements and have completed at least 20 hours of training in meditation of marital property issues and have observed at least 8 hours of mediation in the respective area.
Q: Can anything I say in mediation be used against me if our dispute goes to litigation?
A: According to Maryland Rules of Procedure Rule 17-109 “a mediator and any person present at the request of the mediator shall maintain the confidentiality of all mediation communications and may not disclose or be compelled to disclose mediation communications in any judicial, administrative, or other proceeding”.
The mediator is only permitted to disclose confidential information should he feel it is necessary in order to prevent serious harm, death or to defend himself against allegations of mediation misconduct.
Furthermore, written agreements made between parties are not confidential unless parties agree to and sign otherwise.
Q: How does our agreement become a legal document?
A: Upon reaching an agreement the attorney mediator will draft up a written legal agreement. Both parties will then have the opportunity to look it over and have their own respective lawyers look it over. If the parties (and their attorneys) agree both sides will sign the agreement and it becomes a binding legal document.
Q: Should I have a lawyer for this process?
A: While it is not necessary, a separate attorney might prove to be beneficial in resolving your dispute. A separately hired lawyer will look over the agreement drafter by the attorney mediator with your best interest at heart. This is the best way to ensure that both parties leave the mediation session with an agreement that is pleasing to both parties.