What is Divorce Mediation in Massachusetts?

It’s not easy going through a divorce. Emotions run very high. There are a lot of hurt feelings on both sides. Sometimes it’s better to use divorce mediation rather than litigation. Mediation for divorce gives you more control over the outcome. A divorce mediator can help you craft a mediation agreement that is more acceptable to you. If you take your divorce case to trial, you’re letting a judge decide important issues. A good divorce mediator helps you and your ex work out those issues between yourselves.

What is divorce mediation in Massachusetts?

Mediation in divorce is an alternative to having your case litigated in court. It’s an informal process where the divorce mediator helps the parties work together to come to an agreement. The mediator for divorce doesn’t decide the issues like a judge does. Instead, divorce mediators help the parties work towards an agreement that is acceptable to both.

How does divorce mediation work in Massachussetts?

Mediators in divorce cases handle cases differently, but there are a few steps that happen in every divorce mediation process. Here’s what to expect in divorce mediation:

  • The parties meet one-on-one with the mediator;
  • The parties will meet together with the mediator to identify issues;
  • The mediator will continue to meet with the parties separately and together to iron out those issues; and,
  • A Mediation Agreement will be written and signed by the parties if they agree.

How long does divorce mediation take in Massachusetts?

The length of time for a divorce mediation differs from case to case. There are many variables including:

  • How many assets and debts there are;
  • If there are children involved;
  • If there is a house; and
  • How cooperative the parties are.

Many cases can produce an agreement after a handful of meetings over the span of a few weeks.

What do divorce mediators do in Massachusetts?

A common question is, “what does a divorce mediator do?” A divorce mediator is a neutral party. They don’t represent you or your spouse. They work to find compromises that everyone can accept. They are skilled in the law and human psychology. They talk to you to determine what issues need to be resolved. The easy issues are resolved quickly. The more contentious issues require more work. The divorce mediator does not have the power to force you to accept a decision. They’re not judges. Using mediation in divorce is an opportunity for you to have more input into the final resolution.

What happens after divorce mediation in Massachusetts?

The final product of family law mediation is a Mediation Agreement. That agreement spells out the rights and obligations of both parties. Issues include:

  • Division of assets/debts;
  • Child custody;
  • Child support;
  • Alimony; and,
  • Any other issues.

Once the Mediation Agreement is complete, it needs to be approved by a judge. The judge is looking for several things such as:

  • Is the agreement fair to both parties;
  • Do both parties agree to the terms;
  • Did one party gain the upper hand; and
  • If there are children involved, is it in their best interest.

What are some advantages of mediation in Massachusetts?

Mediation offers a number of advantages over the more traditional litigation path. Such advantages include:

  • Cost savings – a mediator is paid by both parties so you would only pay half;
  • Time – a mediation can take much less time than litigation;
  • Control – you have a say in the outcome. If you don’t like the proposed offer, you don’t have to accept it; and
  • Relationships – mediation can help your long-term relationship with your ex and can be easier on your children.

What happens if we can’t reach an agreement in Massachusetts?

Divorce mediation can be very helpful, but it doesn’t always work. The process is voluntary. No one can be forced to do anything in mediation. If you can’t work out an agreement, then you’ll probably have to use the courts. That means filing a Complaint and going down the litigation route. Sometimes mediation will help you agree on some issues of your divorce, but not others. If so, you may benefit from mediation by eliminating those issues so you can focus on the contested ones.

How to prepare for divorce mediation in Massachusetts?

Being prepared will help you get through the various stages of mediation. Although every divorce mediation is different, there are some things that you can do to prepare for yours, such as:

  • Organize your financial information – These documents are necessary in all divorce proceedings;
  • Have an open mind and be ready to compromise – Mediation is a give and take;
  • Keep the best interests of your children as a priority – This is the guiding light in Family Court; and,
  • Take care of yourself – This is a stressful situation. Take time for yourself.

Questions to ask a divorce mediator in Massachusetts?

Choosing the right divorce mediator is crucial. Family law mediation is an intimate situation. Very personal issues are discussed. You need to find a divorce mediator that you can trust. There are several things you may want to ask a potential mediator including:

  • What are your qualifications;
  • How many mediations have you conducted;
  • How much will it cost; and,
  • How would you describe your mediation style?

Conclusion

Divorce is never easy. So many important decisions have to be made at a time when emotions are running high. Divorce mediation can be a way to settle those issues in an informal manner. A divorce mediator is there to facilitate a compromise between you and your partner. Family law mediation can have several benefits such as saving you time and money. Perhaps the biggest advantage of mediation is that it gives you more control over the outcome. Divorce mediation is not for everyone, but it may be something you want to consider.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.