- Mediation is conducted with a neutral 3rd party who’s goal is to get parties to reach agreement; not to evaluate the issues or reach an equitable result
- Collaborative is conducted with professionals: attorneys, divorce coaches, financial experts who work together as a group to reach solutions that benefit the family and parties.
- Mediation does not necessarily include legal advice.
- Collaborative involves attorneys and includes legal advice.
- Mediation does not offer divorce coaching (counseling for going through the process) or any financial expertise.
- Collaborative offers divorce coaching to support each party emotionally while going through the process.
- Collaborative offers financial expertise needed for present day and the future when dividing property and examining support issues.
- Mediators do much of the work in getting parties to reach agreement.
- Collaborative requires the parties to do much of the work which provides a feeling of commitment to the agreement and a sense of accomplishment.
It will cost less than taking your case to court. The cost depends on how much work your case entails.
- Do you just need attorneys assisting you?
- Are there complicated financial issues?
- Do you and your spouse disagree on everything - custody, support, and property division or just property division?
- Do you need other professionals involved in your case such as a financial neutral or a coach?
You should think about where you call the lawyer’s office from – a landline instead of a cellphone would be best as there is no calling detail for landline calls on your monthly bills. Do not do an Internet search for the law firm or lawyer you are thinking of calling on your home computer or cell phone. Use your work computer or a friend’s computer or the computer at the public library. Do not pay for the consultation with a check drawn on a joint checking account or with a credit card that your husband has access to. Pay in cash or have a friend or parent who will call in with their credit card to pay the consult for you. Your attorney might give you some written information at the consultation. Think about where you can store this information after the consultation where your husband will not find it. Keep it at work or at a friend’s house or in your car. Do not feel badly about being secretive. You have the right to get information in a private setting so you can collect your thoughts and process your feelings without having to manage your spouse’s thoughts and feelings at the same time.
1. Get it in writing – make sure payments for alimony and child support are agreed to in writing and ideally continue for at least 3 years. You’ll need that consistency use the income for loan qualification
2. Establish payment history – alimony and child support typically has to have been received for at least 6 months before it can be used for income qualification.
In Maryland, you are legally separated from your spouse if you are not living in the same home as your spouse, and you are not having sex with your spouse. You do not need a piece of paper to prove you are separated. You do not need to go to Court to say you are separating or are separated. When it is time to get divorced, all you will need is a witness who has been to your home and knows you well enough to be able to say that your husband or wife has not been living with you since you separated.