Divorce mediation is an efficient and cost savings process which allows the parties to complete their entire divorce in less time, with significantly less conflict and with less expense than traditional litigation. Other benefits of divorce mediation is that it protects family relationships, enables cooperation instead of confrontation and puts you in charge of fairly dividing your assets.
Marital & Property Settlement Agreements
A mutually agreeable written contract between spouses addressing issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, property divisions and payment of debts.
The parenting plan describes how the parents will be involved in their children’s life. A plan usually includes the children’s schedule with each parent and who makes important decisions concerning the children. Usually the parenting plan details the regular schedule, summer schedule, vacations, decision making, transportation of the children and relocation.
If the parties agree on the terms of their divorce or have entered into a separation agreement, a divorce can be obtained without the necessity of litigation. Parties, along with a witness, can give testimony before an Examiner/Master. The testimony is usually done at the Examiner/Master’s office and not the courthouse. In Anne Arundel County there are Examiner located throughout the county and location can be selected by party who filed for divorce.
If the parties do no agree on the terms of their divorce, the case can be heard by a judge who will be in charge of deciding the issues, including child custody, property division, child support, alimony, and monetary award.
In the collaborative process, each party retains their own attorney and participates in good faith discussions to reach a settlement without going to court. Other professionals may be included on the collaborative team, such as a financial advisor, divorce coaches, and/or child specialist.
Child support is a court ordered payment from one parent to the other parent for the care of the children. Maryland has two mandatory child support calculators, one to be used if primary physical custody of the children is with one parent or the other calculator, if the children are in the shared physical custody of the parties.
Child Support/Custody Modifications
Maryland Circuit Courts retains jurisdiction to modify the child custody or child support of your children until age 18, or 19 if still in high school. Maryland uses a standard of “material” or “significant” change in circumstances when deciding whether to change child custody.
Alimony is support paid by one spouse to the other party. There are factors which the court must consider when awarding alimony but currently there is not a formula or calculator that is mandatory for the court to use.
The parties may enter in to a contract prior to marriage to address issues such as property acquired before or after marriage, inheritance rights, and alimony upon divorce.
The parties may enter in to a contract after marriage to address issues such as division of property upon divorce and inheritance rights.
Agreement to Separate
Usually a temporary agreement which includes a child access schedule and payment of household expenses. This agreement is not intended as a final disposition of all issues but rather is written to enable parties to separate with a temporary plan in place.