What Can Be Mediated in Maryland? - 14 Disputes You Can Resolve

Court is not an automatic necessity for hot-and-heavy disputes. Instead of immediately filing a lawsuit, consider trying formal mediation – with a lawyer at your side to fight for your case.

  • Mediation can keep many disputes out of court, getting settlements worked out faster and costing less than traditional litigation.
  • Can my dispute be mediated? – 14 disputes where mediation works.
  • Attorney or Mediator: Which should you choose for your mediation?

Keep Disputes Out of Court – Mediate

Conflict is a daily occurrence in our lives. It can be as simple as being conflicted over what to make for dinner. It can be complicated, like a divorce or separation. Mediation offers a private, fast, and creative way to solve elaborate problems.

Complicated issues, like separation or custody disputes, often have emotion attached and cause clouded judgement. Making it helpful to have an unbiased party guide the settlement or agreement to make it fair.

Sometimes, a legal claim cannot be made in a dispute and mediation offers a solution when the courts can do nothing. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution that removes the judge from the equation.

Mediation leaves the decision up to those involved in the dispute, instead of a judge. Giving both parties control of the problem-solving process. This eliminates hostility over a judge making the ultimate decision.

And, because there are no court costs, mediation services are less expensive than a trial.

Staying out of court is a perfect way to keep the dispute and its resolution private. Anything that involves the courts is a matter of public record. Airing out the dirty laundry to the whole community is not what most people want, anyway.

Seeing the benefit of mediation is easy, but what exactly can be mediated in Maryland?

Disputes YOU Can Resolve – 14 Cases for Mediation

There are certain disputes that lend themselves to mediation, like divorce. But others, like violent criminal acts, need the court system.

Here are 14 disputes where mediation works in Maryland:

    1. Family
    2. Divorce/Separation
    3. Parenting Plans
    4. Teen/Parent Disputes
    5. Guardianship
    6. Neighbor Disagreements
    7. Homeowners Association
    8. Roommate/Housemate
    9. Business
    10. Workplace
    11. Prisoner Re-entry
    12. Student-to-Student or School Administration vs. Parent
    13. Individualized Education Program
    14. Probate/Estate

Family

There are tons of disputes between family members. Property division, elder care, budgets, distribution of inherited property, or family business succession. All solvable through mediation. Most of us want family matters kept quiet, not public.

Divorce/Separation

Family breakups are expensive when taken to court. Mediation eliminates the excessive cost. And, gives the couple the power to decide the details of the divorce.

Parenting Plans

Not everyone has the same outlook on parenting. Many of us would disagree with how to raise children.

When going through a divorce or a custody dispute the parents must compromise on how to raise the kids, if any. Mediation lets the parents, not the courts, reach a settlement to their parenting differences.

Teen/Parent

Growing up is never easy, and we have all had differences with our parents. When a parent/child relationship breaks down conflict bubbles up. Kids running away and broken rules are examples of parent/teen conflict.

Usually major headaches for a family. Mediation gives parents and teens a structured process to communicate. Promoting a behavioral change from within the family members.

Guardianship

Disputes involving custodial rights are most often adversarial if brought into a courtroom. They pit one side against the other. Mediation eliminates that adversarial tone. It allows the interested parties to have a say in who and how guardianship is handled.

Neighbor

Maintaining neighborly relationships helps with living a peaceful and happy life. Sometimes issues between neighbors do arise.

Most commonly over noise, property boundaries, fences, trees, or blighted property. A neutral party allows mediation to solve the problem. Maintaining the neighborly relationship.

Homeowner Association

Living in a community with a homeowner association, or HOA, has its pros and cons. Disputes between residents and HOAs happen regularly.

An HOA establishes rules for living in the community. Rules themselves create conflict, like inconsistent or selective enforcement of them. Most HOAs have requirements to resolve the dispute through mediation instead of litigation.

Roommate/Housemate

Living with family is tough enough. Living with friends or even strangers bring conflict too. Common roommate problems include bills, privacy, not getting along, or issues with guests.

Moving out is a solution, but that lease agreement has consequences when broken. Mediation gives the opportunity to resolve the issue without destroying the roommate relationship. (Afterall, you’re still going to have to live with them.)

Business

Large corporations have attorneys on their payroll to handle conflicts. The small business owner usually does not have the funds to keep a lawyer on retainer.

Mediation is a cost-effective and timely way to handle business disputes, like payments, contracts, or supply.

Workplace

Working brings different personalities, ethnicities, and religions together to achieve a common goal. Any one of those can lead to conflict at work.

Mediation gives long-term solutions. But, focuses on the future working relationships of those involved.

Prisoner Re-entry

Adjusting to life outside of prison is difficult. Many paroled inmates end up back in prison. Known as recidivism.

Mediation can reduce the chance of re-offending. Giving an inmate and support people a chance to meet before release. That conversation can set up a path for a better transition back to freedom.

School (e.g., student-to-student or parents and administration)

Schools are a breeding ground for conflict. Disputes occur between students, teachers and students, parents and teachers, as well as amongst the teaching staff.

For a conducive learning environment, compromise is a must. Mediation can help students, teachers, and parents understand the differences and find ways to resolve them.

Individualized Education Program

Special needs students often need more attention and care than your average student. An Individualized Education Program, or IEP, is what schools use to educate these students.

The differences in teaching and caring for these children is at the heart of disputes. As mentioned above, compromise is needed.

Mediation between teachers and families of special needs students helps. It can establish proper guidelines for the curriculum, the staff, and the students.

Probate/Estate

Dealing with the death of a loved one is never simple. Handling the estate, taxes, bills, and funeral expenses is very stressful. Add in a dispute over who gets what and now the family is splitting at the seams.

Mediation allows all involved to express sentiments and reasons for wanting specific items. Once all the information is on the table the family can work out the details of the estate and inheritances.

Attorney vs. Moderator – Why Choose an Attorney?

Mediation is voluntary and both parties must agree to it. Meaning it cannot be done without the consent of everyone involved.

Since mediation does not involve the court it is not necessary to have an attorney guide the process. A professional mediator is another alternative. Mediators often have no legal training. 

Mediation is an unbiased form of problem solving. Most lawyers represent the interests of one. But because mediation requires consent, people can agree on one to mediate. This eliminates any bias from the typical lawyer/client relationship.

Also, mediators do not know all the complexities of law. Yes, they are trained in mediation process and conflict resolution, but specializing in law they do not, unless of course the mediator is an attorney.

Knowing the ins and outs of the law is helpful. Having the knowledge of what is legal and what is not goes a long way in making a binding agreement.

JC Law’s team of attorneys has a ton of experience to help mediate your differences.

Schedule a free initial consultation to see how we can help resolve differences through mediation.

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