Child custody

Can a Judge order me to attend mediation without counsel.

My ex-wife has decided she now wants custody of our 5 yr old son, 3 yrs after our divorce was finalized and 4 yrs after she walked out leaving our son with me. She has seen him and exercised her visitation rights only intermittently. She filed suit for full or joint custody. The judge ordered us to mediation but put in the statement that we are to appear without counsel in the order. I have had an attorney since she filed suit. I would prefer he be with me as I already tried voluntary mediation with her prior to her filing in court. This is in Hagerstown, MD.

Nathan’s Answer

Mediation can be attended with or without counsel. A judge may order a prohibition on counsel in the mediation to afford the parties a deliberation of what is best for both parties concerned. If mediation is to be attended without counsel, the party should take care to ensure that they are aware what rights they may currently have, before possibly deciding to negotiating them. That is why if one already has counsel, it would be wise to consult with counsel before entering into mediation, without counsel.

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