Maryland Divorce Mediation

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Requirements of mediator in Maryland Divorce Mediation

In this state, there is no criterion on who can pose as a divorce mediator. So, one finds that financial planners, psychologists, attorneys and several other people are playing the role of divorce mediators. However, to be selected as a mediator for Court referred cases, there are three criteria-

  • Completion of 40 hour training program identical to the one endorsed by the Academy of Family Mediators
  • Being an experienced family lawyer
  • Being approved as a mediator by the Court

When is Maryland Divorce Mediation ordered?

In cases of domestic violence, divorce mediation is never ordered in this state. When there are financial issues, divorce mediation is not mandatory, but is highly encouraged by the Courts. The reason is that almost 85 percent cases are settled in mediation. In the presence of issues like residential custody and minor children, the Courts generally order custody mediation.

The parties are free to hire a private mediator or may ask the Court to appoint a mediator. In order to mediate temporary support issues, some courts offer an "attorney-facilitator".

Payment for mediation

When the Court orders custody evaluation, this mediation is offered free of charge. The case of temporary support agreements is identical. In case of financial issues, the payment for Court ordered mediation is approximately 150 USD per hour (in 2009). It is expected that each party ought to pay half of the payment. Sometimes the divorcing partners cannot conclude how the mediation payment is to be paid and then the mediator assists them in determining this issue.

Senior mediation

In February 2005, MACRO (Maryland Judiciary's Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office) offered a grant to the Maryland Department of Aging for the development of "Maryland Senior Citizen Mediation Project". In the project, the other agencies involved are the Maryland Association of Community Mediation Centers and Legal Aid. Robert J. Rhudy was the leader of this program. The objectives of this program are as follows-

  • Development of dispute resolution programs that would benefit seniors
  • Education of the professionals in the geriatrics field regarding the proper use and value of the above mentioned programs
  • Creation of the screening and referral systems required to deliver services

In May 2005, this project was commenced with a planning conference which was comprised of 50 stakeholder representatives, like-

  • Mediators
  • Court personnel
  • Elder law attorneys
  • Social workers from state and local departments of aging

In December 2005, 34 professionals were assembled for the first training for Guardianship and Caregiver Mediation. These professionals were inclusive of a dozen social workers from the state.

As per this project, the objectives are to be fulfilled by creating model programs in 7 counties �

  • St Mary�s/ Calvert
  • Frederick
  • Howard
  • Harford
  • Anne Arundel
  • Baltimore
  • Baltimore City

There is a plan to hold meetings and workshops in each county during which lawyers, social workers and mediators would unite and create collaborative relations.

In the recent past, a new leadership organization named �The National Elder Mediation Network� was established by the Center for Social Gerontology to promote quality of life, independence and autonomy for the elders in the country.

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