What Are Some of the Common Issues in Child Custody Disputes?
Establishing a child custody, child access, and visitation arrangement (often known as a Parenting Plan) does not need to be a contentious battle. Family mediation serving Anne Arundel County can help the parents reach solutions that work for both households. During mediation, the parents may be reminded that they must come to agreements that are for the child’s best interests, which may not necessarily serve the interests of both parents. The mediation process can help parents resolve a number of disputes.
Decisions for the Child’s Upbringing
Legal custody refers to the parental right and responsibility to make major decisions on behalf of the child. These include decisions regarding the child’s education, health, religion/religious training, and welfare. During mediation, both parents can explain their preferences and goals for the child’s upbringing, and work toward solutions that benefit the child’s well-being. The parties can also define a dispute resolution agenda to help the parties work through future problems should one arise.
Access to the Child
A lawyer may recommend mediation for child custody disputes that involve access to the child. It is becoming more and more common for parties to share custody. Each family is different and there are various schedules such as “week on/week off”, 2/2/3, and many other alternative time sharing on 50/50 access. Even if the parents agree on the child’s primary residence, disputes may still arise regarding the parenting time or visitation schedule. For example, both parents may demand access to the child on holidays, birthdays, and weekends. Since ongoing access to both parents is generally beneficial for children, compromises often involve rotating weekends, holidays, and school vacations.
Access to Information About the Child
Mediation can help the parties think about and agree on how to exchange information about the childnre. Each parent should have unfettered access to school records, medical records, and similar information. In mediation, the parents can agree on appropriate methods of exchanging information and which information should be exchanged. This includes exchanging parent/teacher conferences, doctor’s appointments, report cards, interim reports, activity schedules, etc.
Uniformity of the Homes
Household uniformity is a crucial issue in child custody. Children need stability, regardless of whether are young, tweens, or teenagers. Children who are expected to follow two different sets of household rules, abide by different bedtimes and curfews, and meet two different standards of expectations can become confused, frustrated, resentful, and act out. Children who are in non-divorce homes are good at dividing and conquering parents. Children of divorce are better because parents may not have a good relationship. Mediation can help identify this issue so that the children know the parents are unified even if they are no longer together. By considering these issues during the Parenting Plan stage, the parties will
The Role of Mediation in Alimony Agreements
Maryland circuit courts encourage the use of mediation to resolve matters pertaining to family law. Divorce mediation near Glen Burnie is often intended to reach agreements regarding child custody and visitation; however, it’s also a viable option for establishing alimony agreements. A mediator can provide mediation services to help parties establish three different types of alimony.
The first type is alimony pendente lite, also known as temporary alimony. You and your spouse may agree to this type of alimony agreement to maintain the standard of living of both parties while the divorce is pending. It is not uncommon for parties who are unable to resolve all issues for a divorce to make temporary agreements pending the final resolution.
Mediation can also be helpful for establishing an agreement for rehabilitative alimony. This is the most common type of alimony awarded. It is intended to support the spouse of lesser earning capacity or formal education to rehabilitate to help the parties eliminate disparity of income. Usually one spouse will pay the other spouse alimony for a set period of time to allow the other party to complete a degree or vocational training program, or to advance in the workforce.
Less commonly, a spouse may enter into mediation with the goal of obtaining indefinite alimony, which has no distinct ending point. This situation usually occurs when one spouse is a substantial income earner while the other spouse will never be able to reach the same potential.
By using mediation to resolve alimony issues, it gives the parties flexibility and control to resolve this issue which Court does not provide. In Maryland, the Court must look to statutory factors to consider whether to award alimony or deny alimony. By the parties resolving the alimony in mediation, they can look to real issues facing the family, the financial needs and income of each spouse, what is actually needed, and what each party is willing to accept to help support their new dynamic. The parties can also decide whether to make the alimony modifiable or non-modifiable. A court only has the power to make alimony modifiable, which means either spouse could file for a modification at any time in the future (either for an extension or termination). Because no one knows what tomorrow will hold, the parties may agree on how to modify alimony should a party lose a job. The parties can also define when and how the alimony will terminate.
By parties resolving this issue in mediation and without the court intervention, the parties take control of their respective lives and reach a decision he/she can live with. This is better than putting it in the hands of a person you never met before and will never know how his/her decision impacts you and your family.
Mediation FAQs: What You Need to Know
The role of mediators in Baltimore is to help parties with differences of opinion resolve disputes. Mediation is an opportunity for two or more parties to meet in a neutral setting to work toward mutually agreeable settlements. If you think you might benefit from mediation services or you would like to learn more about the mediation process , you can contact an attorney for guidance.
When is Mediation Appropriate?
Mediation is appropriate for many types of cases. It is commonly utilized in family law matters. In fact, in most cases a court will require divorcing individuals to participate in mediation. It’s common for mediators to guide discussions pertaining to child custody, child access, and visitation schedules . Mediators can also help parties settle alimony and marital asset division. However, mediation services are not confined to family law. Mediation is often helpful in the corporate world, such as when two business partners have a dispute, employee disputes, and probate/trust disputes.
When is Mediation Best Avoided?
Although mediation can be effective in resolving disputes, there are certain cases in which it might not be appropriate. If one of the parties has a history of domestic violence or abuse, it is not unreasonable to assume that the other party may not wish to engage in discussions. However, sometimes domestic violence cases can be mediated by everyone participating on telephone so that each party feels safe.
Can the Mediator Impose a Mandatory Agreement?
In arbitration, an arbitrator hears both sides of the case and then makes a binding decision, which the parties may not necessarily agree with. Mediation services are different. The mediator does not take sides, nor does he or she issue a decision. It’s the role of the mediator to help both parties explore the issues, consider what may or may not happen in court, develop solutions, and come to an understanding. Mediation doesn’t always result in a settlement. If the parties cannot agree, the issues may be decided in court.
How Can I Prepare for Mediation?
You can consult an attorney for assistance preparing for mediation. You may find it helpful to discuss what the issues are, what are possible outcomes (both good and bad) if your situation went to Court, your legal rights, and what you might expect from the process. By reviewing the issues at hand, you will be able to clearly articulate your position at mediation. Remember that successful mediation sessions involve civil and mutually respectful communication as well as an open mind to resolve the dispute.
Understanding Living Wills/Advance Medical Directives
If you haven’t yet created your living will or advance medical directive in Baltimore, it’s time to meet with an attorney. An advance medical directive is an essential component of the estate planning process. An estate lawyer can create this legal document for you in accordance with your wishes. Unlike a last will and testament, an advance medical directive goes into effect while you’re still alive, yet unable to make medical decisions for yourself . This is not just for end of life decisions, but also for ordinary medical situations when you are unable to speak for yourself due to illness or injury. Should it become determined that you are at the final stage of your life, then the second part of the advance medical directive, living will, becomes effective. This document will guide your family and friends on what decision you would want them to make for you.
To hear more about advance medical directives and living wills, watch this video or consult an estate planning attorney. This video explains how a living will can be used to ensure that your preferences are fulfilled regarding life support and other medical treatments in the event that you become incapacitated.