Photo of Catherine Crockett, Mediation Attorney

Catherine G. Crockett, J.D., M.A., Mediator, is an experienced divorce and family mediator with both a law degree and a master's degree in Psychology. For over 30 years she has engaged in a private family law and mediation practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

WHAT IS FAMILY AND DIVORCE MEDIATION?

Mediation is a collaborative process that enables and empowers couples to work together to resolve issues and problems that they haven't been able to informally resolve on their own. Acting as a third party neutral, the mediator facilitates the interaction between the couple to allow for each party's views to be heard and validated in the discussion. In this way the parties are able to move forward in their understanding of the issues to be resolved and to be able to more creatively find appropriate solutions that underscore each of their respective interests and, if relevant, the interests of their children.

WHO IS APPROPRIATE FOR MEDIATION?

Mediation is a voluntary process so it is important to understand that parties are first of all self selecting in the sense that they must agree to participate in the mediation process. Once the process has begun, it is still voluntary and either party may stop at any time that he/she does not feel the process is working.

Couples who are seeking mediation may fall in some of the following categories:

  • Couples where one or both parties have decided to take a time out or sabbatical and want to discuss how that would work and what it would look like in real life terms.
  • Couples where one or both parties is asking for a separation.
  • Couples where the parties are unclear about whether their marriage will continue and do not want to move into a final agreement. In such cases they wish to have a separation for an agreed upon period of time and need an interim agreement to clarify and protect them during that time frame.
  • Couples where one or both parties have decided that the marriage will not continue and want to take the necessary steps to obtain a divorce.
  • Couples who have already retained counsel but still want to use mediation to work out the terms of a divorce separation and property settlement agreement.
  • Couples seeking to modify a prior divorce settlement agreement or court order pertaining to custody, child support, alimony or property division (e.g. recalculating child support guidelines or renegotiating alimony).
  • Couples who are planning to get married and want a prenuptial agreement to help promote understanding about their finances and ownership of sole and joint assets as they enter into a new life together.
  • Couples who need assistance with the manner that they deal with their money and family finances.