Truly an Answer to Your Dilemma
Just as the iconic song writer and singer Bob Dylan pronounced in his 1965 hit, “The times, they are a-changing”, the same can be said today regarding how society and the courts are treating separation and divorce.
Contested Divorces Are Expensive
Yes, I must admit that lawyers played a part in “mucking up” the divorce process for the last few decades. You need to remember; our judicial system was founded on advocacy and competitiveness. Court rules are designed to navigate the “battle” between parties in and out of the courtroom. In other words, in the past, divorces were long drawn out scenarios with both sides trying their best to “get over” on the other. Divorce grounds, alimony, custody, property issues, pensions, and any other issue was almost always contested. Usually, the person who came out on “top” was the lawyer who handled the divorce, and of course, the court system was kept in business.
How has Divorce & Mediation Evolved?
Back in 1982, when the Marital Property Act was enacted by the Maryland Legislature, it was the first real step in giving separated parties the ability to resolve issues between themselves in a meaningful manor. With that legislation, the courts allowed parties to enter into certain types of separation property agreements which were previously frowned upon. Around that same time, courts merged equity and law, thereby allowing one judge to deal with the merits of the divorce and the distribution of property.
If you analyze the history of divorce law, you will see that Maryland is really an old ecclesiastic style divorce state. Meaning, that many of the draconian laws were based upon religious beliefs that hampered and discouraged people from separating and divorcing. In fact, the basic premise of separating from the marital home involved a temporary divorce, “a mensa et thoro“, (divorce from bed and board), as opposed to an absolute divorce. The thought process was that it was better for people to be miserable but keep the family intact to make sure the breadwinner patriarch could support the family unit, especially if children were involved.
Maryland has come a long way in the last several decades. The courts are now extremely accommodating to couples who can work out their differences and simply effectuate a divorce based upon their own agreement. This is a big change from past decades when judges had their thumbprint on the final divorce terms. This was true especially if minor children were involved. Today, courts allow divorcing couples to proceed on a uncontested divorce route and in many circumstances, finalize the merits very quickly.
The answer to that question is YES because it’s common sense. Why wouldn’t two individuals who have lived together, have accumulated assets, and have children, simply sit down and resolve their differences in an orderly and cost-effective manner? Mediation saves time, money, heartache, and in many cases allows parties to separate and divorce in a meaningful and successful way.
Is All Mediation The Same?
Absolutely not. Many mediators have a horrible bedside manner and of course some are very good. The method we use here at the Law Office of James E Crawford Jr. & Associates, LLC., is a thoughtful, balanced approach that allows both sides to reach a amicable separation property agreement. That agreement is then incorporated, but not merged into the absolute divorce which becomes the final marching orders.
It is extremely important that you have a mediator who understands divorce laws, property rights, alimony issues, child support, child custody and pension issues. Everything you worked so hard for is at stake. Mediation is good because it works!
Most meditations take about one-fifth of the time it takes to get divorced. Even if your divorce involves difficult property and custody issues, there is no question that the mediation process will be quicker and less stressful then the traditional divorce process. Having an experienced mediator is the recipe for a quick, affordable and amicable divorce.