Monthly Archives: February 2021

Divorcing During the Pandemic: Mediation


The Maryland court system still remains in Phase II of the Maryland Judiciary’s reopening plan. The court system is scheduled to return to Phase IV operations on March 15, 2021, and Phase IV operations on April 26, 2021. Currently, no in-person multi-day trials are being held, and most jurisdictions are not allowing remote multi-day trials. Most contested divorces require more than one day in trial, so they cannot move forward at this time. Even when the courts return to Phases IV and V, there will be a tremendous backlog of contested family law cases. Any matters not yet set for trial will likely be scheduled near the end of 2021, if not in 2022. 

In an earlier blog, we discussed the option of Marital Settlement Agreements. However, if you are in the midst of an uncontested divorce—meaning there are disagreements between you and your spouse that need to be resolved—we encourage you to consider mediation. Although this blog focuses on mediating a divorce matter, mediation is also useful in a more narrow case, such as establishing custody and child support, or modifying custody, child support, or alimony. 



Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that can be used to finalize your divorce outside of the courtroom. In mediation, both spouses hire a family law attorney to represent them. A certified mediator, typically another attorney or a retired judge, facilitates the negotiation between the two spouses regarding all important marital issues, like marital property, child custody, child support, and alimony.

The goal of mediation is to use the mediator as a middle ground between the two spouses to come to agreements that are in the best interest of the family. The mediator does not make any decisions for the spouses. Instead, the mediator helps the parties reach decisions for themselves. The attorneys representing each spouse ensure that their client’s best interests are considered throughout the mediation process by providing legal advice to their client, making recommendations regarding settlement options, and advocating on behalf of their client.


Benefits of Mediation 

Mediation is a preferred alternative for going to court for a number of reasons:

  1. Confidential. Mediation is completely confidential. Whatever is said in mediation cannot legally be disclosed beyond the parties involved. This means that if you go through with mediation, but ultimately end up in court, no attorneys or involved parties can testify in court about what was discussed during the mediation process, and a spouse cannot be bound by a position they were willing to take in mediation, but not later at trial. The only exceptions to this rule are when a case involves child abuse, threats of harm, fraud, or duress.
  2. More control of the outcome. In mediation, you can have an honest and open discussion with your spouse about your disagreements. The mediator is there to guide the discussion and encourage you both to come to a shared agreement, but ultimately it is up to you and your spouse to decide on those agreements.
  3. Voluntary. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on one or more issues, the mediator cannot force you to come to a decision. In mediation, decisions can only be made if both parties agree to the terms and sign the final agreement.
  4. More affordable than going to court. In most cases, mediation can be a more affordable option in comparison to going to trial. The reason being, trials are often longer and more involved than mediation.


Is Mediation Right for You?

If you are looking to get a divorce during the pandemic and are involved in a contested divorce, we encourage you to consider mediation. Not only would you be able to resolve your matter sooner, especially when it is unknown as to when you would have the opportunity to be scheduled for trial, but you also have control over the outcome.

If you have questions about divorce and mediation, please contact Turnbull, Nicholson & Sanders, P.A. at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of family law attorneys is here to help guide you. 


Related Posts:
Divorcing During the Pandemic: When You Can’t Get Into Court 
Divorcing During the Pandemic: What You Need to Know about Marital Settlement Agreements 

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