Family Mediation Services, Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of mediation? The mediator's fee is $375.00 per hour. This amount is usually divided between the parties, either equally or in proportion to their respective incomes. Visa and Mastercard accepted.

How long does it take to mediate an agreement?
The time necessary to mediate the terms that will be incorporated into the final written agreement is 6 to 8 hours (3 or 4 sessions) - less if the issues are uncomplicated or the parties have reached agreement on many issues prior to mediation - more if the issues are complex or the level of conflict between the parties is high.

Can you describe the mediation process? The goal is to reach a final written agreement that will incorporate all of the understandings reached by the parties with regard to all issues that need to be addressed. To that end the mediator acts to guide the parties through a multi-step process of identifying the issues in dispute, gathering the information necessary to intelligently address those issues, and seeking out options which meet the needs and interests of both parties.

What issues are normally resolved in mediation? Legal and residential custody, child support, visitation, allocation of college expenses for the children, health insurance, life insurance, spousal support (alimony), disposition of the family home, allocation between the parties of marital property accumulated during the marriage, payment of debts, and tax matters including decisions relative to filing joint or separate tax returns and claiming the children as dependency deductions. At your first meeting with the mediator you will be furnished with a 13 page detailed "Checklist of Issues for Mediation" to help you identify matters of concern that need to be addressed during the mediation process.

Is the mediator bound by any standards of professional conduct? Yes, the mediator must adhere to the Standards of Practice for Divorce and Family Mediation promulgated by the Academy of Family Mediators and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

Who prepares the written agreement? Once the parties have reached agreement the mediator will prepare a written legal document which the parties can then take to their respective attorneys for review.

Can the mediator represent the parties? No. The mediator must remain neutral throughout the mediation process and thereafter and cannot provide legal advice to either or both parties. The mediator cannot represent either party or both of the parties in the divorce proceeding or in any other legal matter at any time in the future.

Do I need an attorney? It is strongly recommended that you employ an attorney to review the final agreement before it is signed. Many attorneys will work with you on an hourly basis and only charge for the time necessary to read the agreement and provide input into your decision.

What if I do not have an attorney? We can refer you to a competent family law attorney who is sensitive to the cooperative spirit of mediation, and who can advise you on your legal rights and responsibilities under Maryland law.

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