What are my options for filing a Divorce in Maryland?
In Maryland, there are several different options or processes that a divorcing party may consider while meeting with an attorney for the first time. Most divorcing parties want to keep the case out of the Court system and want to reach a resolution amicably with their soon-to-be-ex; however, there are some parties that want to go to Court. The options/processes are:
Litigation: This choice is going directly to Court and using an adversarial approach to dealing with your issues. In this approach, you are presenting your case to a Judge and allowing that Judge to make the decision as to what is best for you and your family.
Mediation: In this process, you and the other party go to a neutral third party that can assist you in working out your issues together. A mediator helps you and your spouse come to an understanding together. At the end of the mediation sessions the mediator may prepare a Memorandum of Understanding. A mediator is not able to provide you with legal advise and therefore it is wise to have an attorney review the terms of any Agreement made in mediation prior to anyone signing. Sometimes the attorneys can sit in on the mediation depending on the parties’ wishes.
Settlement/Negotiation Discussions: In this process, all discussions take place out of court. These discussions are normally between attorneys and draft Marital Settlement Agreements are normally exchanged between the parties. After the parties have reached an Agreement, the parties can proceed with a one year, uncontested divorce and the Agreement will be incorporated into the Judgment of Absolute Divorce.
Collaborative Approach: In this process, the parties work together with their collaboratively trained lawyers, sometimes coaches and financial neutral to come to an Agreement. This is also known as a “Team Approach”. In this process the parties agree not to seek litigation and they agree to be transparent with the rest of the team. Ultimately, the terms of the Agreement are agreed upon between the parties and not the professionals.