April 22, 2018

Divorce Mediation

Our divorce mediators are members of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, a state organization requiring mediators to maintain professional and ethical standards. They concentrate in Massachusetts divorce mediation and family law mediation.  Our divorce mediators assist parties with formulating an agreement which will conform to court requirements, Massachusetts law, and is workable long term.

The adversarial setting for divorce intensifies the hostility and ‘winner take all’ attitude. A fairer, more civil way to reach a separation or a divorce settlement is through mediation.

Often the divorce process itself is traumatic, bitter, time-consuming and expensive.  Mediation is a way for separating and divorcing couples to reach fair settlements.

The evidence to date suggests that mediated settlements in marital disputes simply last longer and work better than adjudicated settlements because the parties who helped craft the settlements have a greater stake in making them work.

Our Divorce Mediation Process

If there are minor children (under age eighteen), the average mediation consists of three to six appointments of approximately one and a half hours. If there are no minor children, the average mediation consists of two sessions unless there are complex financial issues. Please note that the length of the mediation depends primarily on the parties involved and the complexity of the issues. A typical mediation sequence follows. Each mediation is unique to the parties involved and the following sequence is not specifically in order of priority nor does it represent entirely separate sessions:

The First Session consists of two parts:

I. Introduction to mediation: The mediator describes and answers questions about the mediation process.

II. Information gathering: The mediator obtains the information necessary for your settlement and indicates the financial documents you need to provide. An agenda is established for future sessions.

Child Custody:
This session discusses the legal and physical custody of your minor children and will include a parenting plan appropriate for you and your family.

Child Support and Alimony:
This session concerns current income and living expenses as well as future child support and alimony issues. The mediator will also provide you with a copy of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines.

Asset, Liability, Property Division:
The division of assets typically begins with an in-depth look at the marital house and the financial and tax implications of sole or continued joint ownership. This session covers a continuation of property division, including pension plans, employee plans, investment accounts, stocks and bonds, vehicles, business valuations, and house contents. Liability decisions include responsibility for mortgage notes, equity lines, car loans, promissory notes, life insurance, pension loans, credit card, and all other debt. The mediator may advise you to consult with a financial or tax professional to gather information to assist with these decisions.

Insurance Benefits and Tax Consequences
This session covers medical, dental, life and disability insurance and responsibility for uninsured expenses. Tax Issues will include child exemptions, filing status. And tax consequences concerning marital residence. Additional issues may be addressed due to your particular situation.

The Divorce Agreement
As described above, we will draft the legal Divorce Agreement. If needed and requested, we will forward the Agreement to the parties’ attorneys for review.

Divorce Court Process
We will provide you with the necessary forms to file your joint petition for divorce. In Massachusetts, you may file for your own divorce. As a mediator, we will not appear with you in court.