Every Circuit Court in Maryland has a Court-Ordered Mediation Program - a program which refers and/or requires the opposing parties to a case, which has been filed in the Circuit Court, to attend Mediation before the case is decided by a Judge. This program aims to assist conflicting parties to settle their issues and avoid having to litigate the case in Court. Mediation gives the disputing parties the chance to come together and openly voice their concerns and issues in a safe, confidential setting with an impartial, trained mediator who can assist the parties to focus on constructive communication and help steer the conversation toward a creative solution that is satisfactory and fair to both parties. Frequently, mediation is successful; an agreement is reached, a trial is avoided, and the parties are able to save themselves from substantial legal fees.
What is Court-Ordered Mediation?
Are you required to attend Mediation if Court-Ordered?
If your case involves Child Custody the Court will most likely require you to attend Mediation, while cases involving other issues may not make mediation mandatory (depending on the Jurisdiction). Some Courts will refer you to Mediation only if both parties agree to attend. In all cases involving physical and/or sexual abuse, the Court will not order mediation for the protection of the alleged victim.
Who pays for Court-Ordered Mediation?
Typically the Mediation fees are split equally between the parties (unless there is an agreement otherwise).
Can I choose my Mediator?
Each Circuit Court in Maryland has a list of approved Court-Appointed Mediators. The Court will assign one of these Mediators to your case or the parties and attorneys (if applicable) may choose a Mediator from this list so long as all parties agree.
My case has not been filed in Court, can I still participate in Mediation?
If you do not have a case pending in Court, the Court cannot refer you to Court-Ordered Mediation. Instead, you can participate in Private Mediation to attempt to settle your case prior to filing anything in the Court. Click here to learn more about Private Mediation.
What are the qualifications of a Court-Appointed Mediator?
Prior to approval to become a Court-Appointed Mediator, your mediator must complete a specific court-approved Mediation training program, observe and co-mediate multiple mediations conducted by veteran mediators, submit an Application (and have Application approved) detailing the mediator's relevant professional experiences, abide by a Code of Ethics approved by the Court of Appeals for Maryland, comply with all rules, statutes, and practices governing mediation and complete 4.0 hours of continuing mediation-related education every year.
What types of cases are referred to Court-Ordered Mediation?
If you have a case pending in a Circuit Court in Maryland, you may be referred to the Court-Ordered Mediation Program, however, not all types of cases are eligible for the program and each jurisdiction is different. All of these Courts have a Family Mediation Program for Child Custody cases. In addition, some of these Courts also have a Marital Property Mediation Program for Divorce cases and/or a Civil Non-Domestic Mediation Program.