Monthly Archives: December 2022

What Happens When Divorce Mediation Doesn’t Work?

You and your spouse had the best of intentions. You vowed to keep your divorce civilized, affordable, and out of the hands of a judge. Together, you hired a mediator, or perhaps a team of collaborative experts, to ensure an optimal agreement for both parties. Many couples start on this hoped-for path of least resistance only to discover that they are unable to reach an agreement once negotiations start.


Divorce agreements touch upon the most sensitive and important of issues. Custody of children, disposition of the family home, and long-term financial security all need to be discussed and resolved. All it takes is one disagreement to stall progress in negotiations. If your lawyer, mental health professional, or financial planner is not equipped to mediate thoughtfully and fairly, or if one party approaches negotiations in an unreasonable manner, the process could easily be derailed. If you and your spouse cannot reach a consensus, your divorce could ultimately end up in court.

Uncontested divorces are reached only when there is an agreement. That outcome is the goal of mediation and collaborative divorce processes. Contested divorces require judicial decision-making and can be long, impersonal, and expensive. They also tend to take a greater emotional toll on the parties involved and their children. For this reason, it is critical to hire a skilled attorney who will seek to preserve family harmony to the greatest extent possible.

Once a divorce is contested, your attorney will prepare and file the appropriate legal documents with the court and all issues of divorce will be submitted to the judge presiding over the case. Contested divorces usually require more extensive fact-finding than mediation, so keep in mind that the discovery process will take time. The judge will consider all available information when making decisions on points of dispute between a couple.

If your divorce does end up in court, take comfort in the fact that the time and money spent during mediation were not a waste. All issues that you were able to agree upon can be stipulated to and ordered even when a judge is brought in to decide on outstanding matters. Bear in mind though, that the agreement will be reviewed in its entirety by the judge before the divorce is entered.

Divorce in Maryland can take anywhere from several months to several years, depending upon the parties’ availability and focus, the professionalism and dedication of each party’s attorney, and the prevailing court backlog.

The length and cost of litigation will also depend upon the matters that are in dispute. Disagreements on to custody arrangements, both legal and physical, can take the court a very long time to adjudicate, for example. Maryland regards protecting the best interests of children as the single most important aspect and responsibility in a divorce. Failure to agree upon custody and visitation matters can result in a detailed and lengthy investigation and the need for expert witness testimony. Coordinating the schedules of mental health professionals and other important figures in the children’s lives who can testify can be tedious and time-consuming. This sort of litigation can also place your children at risk of being questioned by the judge. With the help of a skilled and sensitive attorney, however, it is usually possible to arrive at a settlement before this happens.

The importance of choosing your legal representative in the divorce process wisely cannot be overstated. Finding an attorney who can strike the delicate balance of advocating for your personal and financial interests while also understanding the negative impact that an adversarial divorce can have is key. An attorney’s unwillingness to make strategic compromises will be counterproductive and a hindrance to you in the long term. If you need legal representation in a divorce proceeding, the attorneys at TNS are here to help. Our team of experienced lawyers can help you achieve your goals in divorce litigation with skill while minimizing your costs and preserving the emotional health of your family.

If you have questions about divorce mediation or litigation, please contact TNS Family Law at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of attorneys is here to help guide you.

Related Posts: 
How COVID-19 and Zoom Impacted Divorce
Division of Property in Maryland Divorce
Can I Modify My Child Custody Agreement?
Maryland Divorce FAQs

4 Ways We’re Giving Back to the Community

The staff and attorneys of TNS feel strongly about giving back to the community. Thus, each year we make a substantial contribution to various charities with which we have a connection. This year we have contributed to:

TNS Gives


Samuel Ready Scholarships Logo

The Samuel Ready Scholarships

The Samuel Ready Scholarships provide educational resources for underprivileged girls (Mary currently serves on their Board of Directors).

Harford Family House, Inc. Logo




Harford Family Home, Inc.

Harford Family Home, Inc. assists families with children and unaccompanied adults who are experiencing homelessness to achieve independence through housing, support, and resources dedicated to financial stability and mental well-being.




Team 360 Team 360 Logo

The goal of Team 360 is to work and train together with people who are differently abled so that they can take part in mainstream running and multisport events. Chris has been proud to participate in biking and relay triathlon events with Team 360.



In addition, as in years past, we have “adopted” various families through The Orokawa Y in Towson (The Y In Central Maryland). We are proud to provide coats, shirts, pants, shoes, and toys to families in need.


From all of us at TNS Family Law, we’re wishing you and your loved ones a joyous season of giving. 


Related Posts: 
Co-parenting During the Holiday Season
Waiting Out the Holiday Season Before Filing for Divorce: How to Prepare
Creating a Parenting Plan in Maryland
Maryland Child Custody Laws
Child Support in Maryland

Creating a Parenting Plan in Maryland

Courts consider the best interests of children to be of paramount importance in Maryland divorce cases. The Maryland Rules now require a parenting plan to be created by both parents, with a joint statement being submitted prior to a trial. While this may seem like an onerous task, this requirement is actually beneficial for all parties involved. The creation of the joint statement also enables the parents to determine what they agree upon and what remains at issue. If the parents are able to resolve their differences, the parenting plan provides parents and children alike with a roadmap for predictability, stability, and amicability. In addition to protecting the emotional well-being of family members, this requirement also saves time and money by keeping potentially contested child-related matters out of court. Litigation, particularly involving children, can wreak havoc upon a family system and cause damaging disruptions and delays in a child’s upbringing.


What Does a Parenting Plan Include?

The parenting plan requires parents or guardians of minor children to agree on topics including:

  • Medical and academic decision making
  • Methods of communication between parents/guardians
  • Communication between parents and the child
  • Extracurricular priorities and expenses
  • Transportation
  • Childcare
  • Involvement of extended family members
  • Holiday and vacation schedules
  • How special needs of the child, if any, will be met
  • How much parental information to share with the child at varying stages of life
  • How possible changes in work schedules will be handled
  • Religious affiliations
  • How potential future disagreements will be decided/mediated


What Are the Benefits of a Parenting Plan?

As we all know, each person’s priorities are highly individual and figuring out how to make sure both parties feel satisfied is a delicate balancing act. Creating a parenting plan allows both parties to communicate and discuss their unique needs and wants in a controlled, cooperative manner. By hashing out these issues in intricate detail up front, co-parents can set mutually agreed-upon expectations with one another and avoid future conflicts.

This very process of working on a parenting plan and trying to find the best outcome for a child can be productive. “Teaching” parents or guardians early on how to put the child’s interests before their own is a major benefit of Maryland’s requirement. Acquiring this skill and putting it into practice is just as important to ensuring co-parenting success as the final agreement itself.

Once the parents/guardians agree upon a parenting plan, it is submitted to the court for approval. The court will review it with a keen eye toward meeting the needs and best interests of the child. If deemed acceptable to the court, the parenting plan will be incorporated into a court order and its terms will become legally enforceable.


What Happens if We Cannot Agree on a Parenting Plan?

If a comprehensive parenting plan cannot be agreed upon, the parties will submit a form to the court known as a Joint Statement of the Parties Concerning Decision-Making Authority and Parenting Time (Md. Rule 9-204.2). This document should detail which aspects of the plan have been agreed upon and those that remain in dispute. All outstanding issues will then be in the hands of a judge to decide and resolve.

Leaving critical matters up to the discretion of an unknown court official is not ideal for several reasons. The process of going to court does not come without delays, expenses, and invasions of privacy. Before filing the Joint Statement and invoking the court’s decision-making powers, parties are best served by hiring a lawyer/mediator to help them reach a consensus on any disputed terms. The more knowledgeable your attorney is about typical parenting problems that can arise in the aftermath of a divorce, the more likely you are to avoid collateral harm to your child down the line. The lawyers at TNS offer deep expertise and care in matters affecting children and are available to discuss your parenting plan goals and concerns.

If you have questions about how to create a co-parenting plan, please contact TNS Family Law at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of attorneys is here to help guide you.

Related Posts: 
Co-parenting During the Holiday Season
Can I Revise My Divorce Agreement Post-Divorce?
Maryland Child Custody Laws
Child Support in Maryland
Can I Expedite a Change in Custody if I Fear My Child Is in Danger?

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