Let’s face it – getting divorced can be expensive. It might be tempting, and practical, to think about using the same attorney for your Maryland divorce. However, although this might seem good in theory, it is not a good idea in practice – nor is it technically allowed.
In short, no – you and your spouse cannot use the same divorce lawyer.
When you hire an attorney, you hire that attorney to work for you. So, for example, if you hire a divorce lawyer in Bethesda, she is representing your best interests and your best interests only. Rules of professional conduct prohibit attorneys from representing two clients with conflicting interests, and this applies in the case of a divorce, creating a parenting plan, developing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or another other family law matter.
However, if you and your spouse can agree on most of the terms of your divorce and the split isn’t incredibly contentious, you may benefit from mediation instead. With mediation, you are spared the expense of going to trial, and instead use one neutral mediator to work with you and your individual attorneys together.
What is mediation?
Mediation is an excellent way for some couples to minimize costs, conflicts, and delays during the divorce process. When spouses can generally agree on issues like asset division, alimony, and child support, mediation with a neutral third party can help them in working out the details – outside of court.
During divorce mediation, spouses attend meetings with their mediator and their individual attorneys. The mediator is not an attorney who works for both spouses, but a professional in alternative dispute resolution. She works to facilitate conversation and guide the parties through the process of working toward a mutually satisfying divorce agreement.
The mediator remains neutral throughout this process and, unlike a judge or an arbitrator, a mediator doesn’t make a ruling on the outcome of the case. The parties resolve their own case, with facilitation.
Benefits of mediation
In addition to financial savings, mediation offers other advantages over litigation. It can increase efficiency and provide a better chance of a mutually agreeable outcome. If the parties can’t come to an agreement through mediation, they can then move to litigation to resolve their disputes.
One of the most attractive things about mediation is that it lets divorcing couples work together to find a solution that works for both of them, allowing them to control the outcome. In traditional divorce litigation, spouses are usually pit against each other in a negative setting where the dispute resolution is out of their hands.
For mediation to work, both spouses must be willing to cooperate with each other, communicate, and participate in the process. Divorcing couples are the ones most familiar with their own situation and the needs of their families and, if possible, should be provided the tools to find a divorce agreement that works for everyone. However, it’s important to remember that mediation is non-adversarial.
If you and your partner are divorcing and looking for an alternative to litigation, talk to the Bethesda divorce mediation attorneys at McCabe Russell, PA. We can answer all of your questions about divorce, mediation, or any other family law issue. To speak with an experienced lawyer serving Montgomery County clients, please call 443-917-3347 or fill out our contact form. We also maintain offices in Columbia, Rockville and Fulton.