Can I Avoid Court When Filing For Divorce?
Appearing in court can be a high-anxiety experience, especially during the divorce process. In Maryland, it is not required to spend the entire process in and out of court dates. Here at Rodier Family Law, our experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorneys discuss what can be done to avoid many trips to the courthouse during the divorce process.
Settlement Negotiations and the Separation Agreement
You and your spouse can negotiate the terms of your divorce without intervention by a Court. A Marital Settlement Agreement or Separation Agreement is a document that summarizes the entirety of your understanding with your former spouse as to all of the issues relevant to your divorce.
At a minimum, the following topics should be addressed in your separation agreement:
- Child Custody
- Child Support/Alimony
- Property Division
Your attorney can prepare a separation agreement. They will know your legal rights and responsibilities and will be able to walk you through the process to ensure the written agreement is accurate. Many of our cases are initiated by a spouse seeking to have a Separation Agreement prepared for review by the other party. Many of our cases are resolved by way of negotiated Separation Agreements, signed by both parties, and our office assists in walking our clients through the uncontested divorce process thereafter.
During settlement negotiations which are aimed at achieving a Separation Agreement, you and your partner’s attorneys will communicate directly to one another about your settlement agreements. This allows partners to avoid arguments and conflict during the divorce process.
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process in which a mediator, who may or may not be an attorney, assists you and your partner as a neutral in resolving legal disagreements. Mediation enables some parties to reach an agreement without having to address matters in a courtroom. If your mediator prepares a Separation Agreement, then the parties are advised to consult with individual counsel to review the terms of the Agreement so that he or she can have any questions answered and request edits if necessary. The mediator is a neutral who cannot advise either party as to their rights or provide legal advice to either party during the mediation process.
Collaborative Divorce is another option for resolving disagreements between you and your spouse with the help of a collaborative team. This team will consist of attorneys for each party, any necessary mental health specialists and finance experts to help the parties determine the best decisions for themselves, their partner, and their children. Children’s needs are prioritized in collaborative divorce, as is preserving respect between partners and children. In a collaborative divorce, all of these discussions take place outside of the courtroom. If the collaborative process is not successful in assisting the parties in reaching an agreement, the parties would be required to retain new counsel to represent them in any contested divorce action necessary thereafter.
If you and your partner are able to establish an agreement that addresses all of your conflicts, you can receive an uncontested divorce based on mutual agreement. In order for your divorce to be finalized in Maryland, you must attend a brief uncontested divorce hearing. The process is not adversarial and our attorneys have walked many people, in fact, most of our clients eventually, through this process to date.
Contact The Divorce Attorneys At Rodier Family Today
If you want to avoid frequent court appearances during your divorce, it may be beneficial to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to walk you through your divorce options. At Rodier Family Law, we understand the stress and anxiety that go along with divorce. Contact our offices today at (410) 803-1839 for a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.