Some Maryland divorces can benefit from collaborative law

More of those couples who seek a divorce in Maryland and across the nation are turning to collaborative law in an effort to lower their costs and hopefully keep the split on friendlier terms. Collaborative law involves both spouses sitting down to mediate a divorce, rather than going through a divorce trial where a judge makes the ultimate decision on issues like child custody, child support, and division of marital assets. Divorce mediation can be an especially good choice for those who are splitting under relatively good terms. Some people might hesitate to choose mediation because there are some common misperceptions out there.

First, many believe that going through divorce mediation means they can't be represented by an attorney. This simply isn't true. In divorce mediation, both spouses can sit down at the negotiation table with his or her own attorney as they seek mutual agreements on the issues that surround divorce. Others might hesitate to initiate mediation because they don't want to embarrass their spouse with a "service" of a divorce filing. In mediation, the spouses can agree to all the details and then file for an uncontested divorce, which means neither will need to have a divorce petition served upon the other.

Another common mediation myth is that couples must agree on every single aspect of the divorce during this process. Again, that isn't quite the case. Couples can agree on every item that they are able to and then seek out the help of, say, a parenting coordinator to help iron out a disagreement on a parenting plan. Additionally, couples can seek the help of experts like counselors, accountants, and others to help iron out things they may be having trouble seeing eye to eye on.

Some Maryland residents are reluctant to pursue collaborative law and divorce mediation because they fear that they will be forced to sit down at the same table as their soon-to-be ex. For some, this may be an uncomfortable proposition. In this case, couples can choose to be in different rooms if necessary, while a mediator assets both sides in negotiating the details of the divorce. And most mediators will recommend that each spouse make sure to have an attorney look over the final agreement before actually signing on the dotted line, in order to make sure that both spouses are reaching an equitable arrangement.

Source: Huffington Post, "Mediation Myths and Misunderstandings That May Affect Your Decisions in Divorce," Diane L. Danois, May 10, 2013