Maryland's On-Line Mediation Service
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The purpose of these rules is to assist you in peaceably settling the conflicts and issues submitted for mediation. An important goal for a successful mediation is reaching a fair agreement. It is up to you to determine how to resolve your conflict, and the Mediator will not use these rules other than to protect the integrity of the process and to ensure full discussion and analysis of the specific issues.


Following the submission of the dispute utilizing the Dispute Submission Form, the party submitting the dispute shall send a copy to the other party by first class mail or private courier. These rules are a part of the Agreement to Mediate to be signed by you when you decide to mediate your domestic dispute with Center for On-Line Mediation, Inc.


Parties in mediation at the Center for On-Line Mediation adopt the following statements of principle regarding mediation:

(a) The parties have chosen to mediate their disputes in a spirit of cooperation. The parties agree to use their best efforts to work together fairly and in good faith. Both parties will strive to communicate without assessing blame or fault.

(b) The parties agree to use their best efforts to maintain an atmosphere of respect and refrain from inappropriate behavior communications such as profanity or foul language.

(c) All copies of documents that are submitted to the mediator shall be submitted to the other party by first class mail or private courier at the same time the documents are sent to the mediator.


a.The Mediator will act as impartial facilitator and will not make decisions for you. The mediator may explore various options and suggestions, but will not give you advice on any issues.

b.Mediation works best when the mediator works directly with the parties to facilitate their communication. Sometimes, the mediator will meet with parties separately, but the focus of these individual conversations is to further the communication between the parties.

(c) If the parties feel the urgent need to communicate with the mediator, they must understand that the mediator may share whatever information they receive with the other party.

(d) Each party agrees not to communicate [by email, post, or fax], additional materials to the mediator unless specifically requested to do so.


(a) Since this mediation is a voluntary process, the parties may terminate at anytime.

(b)The Mediator will interpret and apply these rules. If the Mediator determine that either party is not participating in good faith, or if either party is unable to negotiate in his or her own behalf, the Mediator has the right to postpone or terminate mediation.


(a) Each party agrees not to initiate or continue formal legal proceedings against the other party while mediation is in progress. However, if either party believes he/she is in physical danger and involves the court in seeking protection, such action will not by itself constitute a prohibition against continuing the mediation.

(b) Each party understands that the mediator will be acting as a mediator and not as an attorney for either party. Should either party wish legal consultation at any time, or a review of any drafted agreements, the parties acknowledge that they have been advised to consult with their individual attorneys. There is no need to inform the mediators or the other party of the consultation.


By undertaking to mediate under these rules, the Center for On-Line Mediation, Inc., each party agrees as follows:

(a) that all information shared in the mediation sessions is strictly confidential. Each party may, however, discuss issues brought up in mediation with other professionals with whom he/she has a confidential relationship, such as an attorney or psychotherapist.

(b) that he/she will not seek to compel the appearance of the mediator as witness to any court proceedings, by subpoena or any other means.

(c) that he/she will not require production of any of the mediator's records, if any issues discussed in mediation ever become part of litigation proceedings.

(d) that he/she will not seek to compel production of any memorandum prepared after any mediation sessions for any court or other legal proceedings.

(e) that he/she will not submit any settlement offers made during mediation into court as evidence in any possible later legal proceedings.


(a) Mediation is based on honesty and openness on the part of both parties.

(b)Each party agrees to disclose to the other party as necessary and pertinent information regarding finances and/or other issues discussed in mediation. Later discovery or any failure to fully disclose relevant financial information can resulting voiding agreements entered into as a result of mediation.


Neither party will transfer, encumber, conceal or in any other way dispose of any marital or jointly owned real or personal property except in the normal course of business, or for the necessities of life. Any such transfer by either party affecting 10% or more of the marital or jointly owned assets will require prior mutual agreement.


(a) Where specialized information is needed, the mediator will ask each party to consult with other professionals such as accountants or appraisers. If you wish, the mediator can provide names of such professionals.

(b) An expert with information relevant to both parties may participate in the mediation session if both the parties and the mediators agree.

(c) Children may not participate in mediation sessions since there is no way that the mediators can determine that a communication from a child is in fact a communication from a child and not a communication from the parent.

(d) The use of an attorney or other outside expert during mediation should not be understood as terminating mediation. Either party may consult with their attorney or any other professional at any time.


(a) The mediator will be responsible for summarizing agreements that have been reached and archiving those agreements in the electronic conference space and by a memorandum that will be sent to both parties by email.

(b) At the conclusion of the mediation process, the mediator will draft a detailed Agreement of the decisions that the parties have agreed to in mediation. The mediator will make no representation that any agreement reached through mediation will resemble the result from a contested trial.

(c) Each party agrees that all memoranda(s) will be treated with the same strict confidence as any statements during the mediation process. Each party agrees that he/she will not submit any confidential memoranda into court as proof of
any settlement offers.

(d) Each party agrees that either party may show confidential memorandum(s) and/or the Agreement to their attorneys.

(e) Both parties agree to directly notify the mediator if they have any questions about fairness involving any aspect of the mediation as it occurs. The mediator is dedicated to creating an environment conducive to open discussions about the parties' conflicts and invite the parties to alert them to anything that is interfering with this mediation goal.

(f) The mediators believe in this process and will use their abilities to help the parties design a fair and reasonable agreement which resolves all their issues of conflict. The mediator, however, cannot guarantee the success of any mediated agreement.

[Adapted from Mediation Rules Used by Lifebridge Family Mediation. Bethesda, Maryland] 



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Copyright 1996, The Center for On-Line Mediation™, Inc.
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Last Revised on September 13, 1996