Mr. Dales’s Process
Here at Philip A. Dales III PC, Mr. Dales is a court certified mediator for all civil and family law matters. This page is about family law. If you request mediation, he will facilitate as many conferences as desired to help you find a mutually palatable resolution to all or part of the issues or questions you have. The potential benefits in time, savings, personal satisfaction, stress reduction, and to children of making the effort can far outweigh the alternative of fighting and litigation, even if all of the issues aren’t amenable to a resolution.
Welcome to Mediation
You have reached a decision to separate or divorce. You would prefer to have a say in the resolution of the issues and your rights arising out of marriage, whether it is working out a parenting plan for the kids, figuring out support for you or the kids, dividing marital property, what to do about retirement and survivor benefits. You want a process in an environment managed by a knowledgeable neutral party. Regardless of the level of amicability or hostility that may exist, or perceived lack of ability to communicate, social scientists and the courts want people to try to work out answers and solutions for themselves before going to trial and mediation can address these variables.
Mediation works by:
- Having a neutral, meaning an impartial person, trained to help two (or maybe more) parties manage a conversation or discussion of the issues and possibly come away with a better understanding of the other party’s thinking or position.
- Being voluntary; that is, you come to the process on your own. No one can be compelled to accept any proposal. The agreements reached as a result of mediation will only be binding when each participant is satisfied.
- Being completely confidential. This means that what is discussed or proposed “stays in the room” and that only what is agreed upon and set down in writing is shared outside of it. No one can be asked to repeat anything said during the process with reasonable exceptions for things like threats of physical harm, abuse or fraudulent behavior. Ask about Maryland’s statute on the matter.
- You determine for yoursellf what you will agree upon. The underlying principle is self-determination. This means the participants decide the solutions that work best for them. The mediator doesn’t provide legal advice or determine facts or make decisions or imply who might be “right” or “wrong.”
We all have conflicts in our lives. Filing a law suit may be the appropriate way to handle some disputes, but trials can be expensive and stressful. For family and marital matters, regardless of whether there is an amicable relationship, mistrust, or high conflict, you yourself are probably the best person to determine the outcome or resolution of the many questions and issues that need to be addressed. How to do this? Mediation is a process for finding solutions and resolving differences without filing a law suit or going to trial even if a lawsuit has been initiated.
Protect Children from Conflict
Children may be the best reason to try mediation, no matter the level of conflict present. Despite best intentions, children typically suffer or get stressed out when their parents are at odds and are fighting in a public arena. If they know their parents worked together to decide where they will live, what is going to happen, and how changes in their lives will affect them, they will feel better both about themselves and each of their parents. Mediating has a good track record as a meaningful and satisfying alternative to the hostility of a court fight. Remember if nothing comes out of trying mediation you can always have the court make your decisions for you.
Mediation might be right for you if you answer yes to:
- Do both parties think that avoiding a legal battle is in your best interest?
- Have you considered the likelihood that a negotiated outcome on issues on which you differ is preferable to letting a third party make those decisions for you?
- Would it be helpful to discuss a division or sharing of property acquired during the marriage in a safe and neutral environment?
- Does help from a knowledgeable neutral attorney sound beneficial?
- Do you have children?
- Would it be helpful to discuss various arrangements for the time children are in the care and custody of each parent in a safe and neutral environment?
- Do you need to discuss contribution to support of either spouse or the children?
Learn more by calling our Annapolis attorney at (410) 263-0200!
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- Over 40 Years Of Experience
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