Is your marriage over? Are you ready to file for divorce but are uncomfortable about the idea of appearing in court? You’re not alone. Many people, including the rich and famous, do not want their divorce to be a public spectacle. Instead, they choose alternatives to litigation. In this article, our knowledgeable team of divorce lawyers explains the drawbacks of a court divorce process and describes discrete methods of divorce that are legally binding in the State of Maryland.
Court Process: Time-Consuming and Costly
Couples who use the Maryland court process to end their marriage can expect the following three things to happen:
- their proceedings will be part of the public record, open and available to be reviewed by anyone;
- the timeline to settle the case will take between a few months to more than a year; and
- it will be expensive. Any delay the couple causes, or a scheduling change by the court, will add to the cost. If the couple has to go to trial to resolve a legal matter, they will pay even more.
Of course, some complex issues can only be decided by a court. The Fait & DiLima divorce lawyers in Rockville, MD, can evaluate your case and recommend if going to court would be in your best interest.
Mediation: Less Time, Less Expensive
The State of Maryland prefers that parties reach their own settlements without court intervention, if possible. Unlike divorce court, Maryland divorce mediation is a private process. An attorney represents each spouse. Both sides meet as often as necessary to resolve child custody, support, and property distribution.
An outside mediator, agreed upon by both parties, facilitates the meetings. The outside mediator does not have the authority to decide an issue. Only the spouses, through their attorneys, may approve a settlement. If a settlement is not reached, the case will likely go to litigation.
Mediation is an acceptable method for couples who seek confidentiality and are willing to negotiate. Mediation allows the couple to control the outcome rather than have a court impose its decision.
How To Prepare For Mediation With A Narcissist
While undergoing mediation with a narcissist may be challenging, it is possible to reach a settlement that satisfies both parties. If you believe your spouse is a narcissist or has narcissistic traits, avoid all communication with them. Instead, rely on your attorney to speak for you. If your spouse contacts you outside mediation meetings, refer him or her to your attorney. Keep records of what your spouse says and does, inside and outside mediation. If mediation fails and you end up going to court, your records will be part of your case.
Collaborative Divorce: Another Option
In a collaborative divorce, couples hire their own attorneys but use the same specialists to represent both parties. For example, a couple might hire a financial expert and a child psychologist to reach a satisfactory resolution for their family.
This method avoids the judicial process and is successful if both parties are willing to work through their differences and abide by the specialists’ recommendations. Note that your collaborative divorce attorney may not represent you in subsequent divorce litigation if a settlement is not reached.
What About An Online Divorce?
Some companies offer DIY kits that allow couples to prepare divorce documents on their own. Initially, an online divorce may be quick and inexpensive. But in the long run, if the forms are out of date or submitted incorrectly, you may find your legal rights have not been protected and that you need an attorney to renegotiate a settlement.
Legal counsel is definitely warranted if you or your spouse own real estate or a business; if you need spousal maintenance; if you have minor children or children with special needs; if there was domestic abuse; if you or your spouse are in the military or have military pensions; if you’ve been married for 20 years or more; or if there are significant debt and tax burdens. Experienced mediation lawyers can navigate these and other issues on your behalf.
Fait & DiLima, LLP: Bold Approaches, Effective Resolutions
With more than 50 years of collective legal experience, we have served numerous clients who avoided court and were divorced via alternative methods. We are certified mediators and credentialed collaborative divorce attorneys. Our team of professionals has also successfully represented people like you in divorce court. The testimonials from our satisfied clients demonstrate our strategic approach and the depth of our commitment.
Regardless of the method we recommend for your case, we will advise you of your rights and tell you what to expect every step of the way. Most important, we will advocate fiercely for you.
If you are searching for a Frederick or Rockville divorce lawyer, call us today at (301) 251-0100 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation. For your convenience, we offer in-person and online meetings.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.