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Child Custody and Access Mediation Program
Location, Phone, Hours of Operation
Location: Montgomery County Circuit Court
South Tower 1st floor, Rm 1500
Phone: (240) 777-9080
Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
 

The Child Custody and Access Mediation Program offers parents involved in separation, divorce, and child custody cases an opportunity to discuss and resolve issues involving their children, such as primary residential care, decision making, and access. It is one of the core programs of the Court’s Family Division Services, aimed at resolving issues as early as possible, often without the need for trial. Click here for the Custody Mediation Brochure.

An Important Responsibility of Parents: Child Custody and Access Issues

Decisions about child custody and access are among the most important decisions a parent can make, and working through these issues within the court process often is difficult and stressful for parents. By using the mediation process to help resolve these issues, parents can create their own child custody and access plan on behalf of their children. They can begin a path toward managing disagreements through discussion while maintaining a more positive and emotionally responsible relationship with each other and with their children.

The Court’s mediation program consists of a single three-hour session, held inside Family Division Services. This service is provided by a mediator trained according to Maryland Rules 9-205 and 17-205. It is free of charge. Immediately after the mediation session the parties report the outcome of the mediation to a family magistrate at a status hearing.

Child Custody and Access Mediation Program: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are frequently asked questions regarding the Child Custody and Access Mediation Program:

Who is eligible for mediation?

Parents who have filed cases in Montgomery County Circuit Court seeking decisions by the Court about child custody and access are eligible to have services ordered with the Child Custody and Access Mediation Program.

What if I'm worried about domestic violence or abuse?

The mediation program for the Circuit Court does not mediate cases where domestic violence may or has been an issue. For more information on Domestic Violence, visit the Domestic Violence Assistance page.

What happens at mediation?

The primary goal of mediation is to help parents develop their own parenting plan to support their children’s best interests with little or no court intervention. Mediators strive to help parents discuss their individual perspectives in an informal setting. The mediator does not make decisions or recommend solutions to parents; instead the mediator uses questions, dialogue, and problem solving and listening skills to help parents create and consider their own solutions. When the parties reach an agreement, it will be drawn up in a consent custody/access order. Immediately after the mediation the parties (and their counsel if both are represented), will report the results of the mediation to a Family Magistrate at the mediation status hearing, and the agreement will be put on the record.

Is mediation confidential?

Yes, with a few exceptions, mediation sessions are confidential. The mediator may not disclose to anyone statements made or decisions reached in the mediation. Additionally, the parents and mediator may not testify in any court proceeding about what was said or decided during the mediation.

What topics might be discussed at mediation?

How should parents talk to each other during mediation?

Each parent should be respectful of the other, listen, and acknowledge the other’s viewpoint.

For example:

Additional resources on parenting mediation:

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Montgomery County Circuit Court
50 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM