Divorce Mediation Attorney in Worcester, Massachusetts
We’ve probably all heard stories from our grandparents and others of the days when they had to “walk three miles in the snow” to get to school. Whether true or not, these stories definitely point to a past that was certainly different than the present, which has now pretty much been transformed through advances in technology and living standards.
Way back when, it was also considered normal that, once married, a couple held to it as a lifetime commitment. Along with technology and economics, however, cultural norms have also changed over the decades, and the near-ironclad rule of “one partner, one lifetime” has been replaced by one of individual fulfillment and self-satisfaction. In short, these days, partners who are disappointed in their marriage may want to leave the marriage and move on with their lives.
If matters in your marriage have reached a breaking point and divorce is already being pursued, one of the best ways to resolve the thorny issues making a mutual divorce agreement so difficult is through mediation. Working with a trained and experienced Mediator can provide both spouses with a safe venue in which to sit down and work out an agreement for an uncontested divorce. The Mediation process can help pave the way to an agreement that is fair and reasonable.
If your marriage is on shaky ground, or you’ve already taken steps to begin the divorce process, and you’re located in or around the greater Worcester, Massachusetts area, contact me at Solutions Through Mediation. I am a family law and divorce mediation attorney with more than three decades of experience in helping clients reach a mutual agreement on a divorce settlement that will be respectful to your family including the children. Mediation can help you avoid the high financial and emotional costs of a litigated divorce.
I am proud to serve clients throughout Worcester County and all of Massachusetts.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation brings the spouses together in an informal setting often via Zoom with a third-party mediator who will work together with both spouses to resolve issues and help them come to a divorce agreement that will be acceptable to a Family Court Judge.
The Agreement will include the division of marital assets and debt, custody and parenting time, as well as spousal and child support issues. The Mediation process will enable the couple to come up with an uncontested divorce settlement that minimizes the high cost of time and money of Court appearances and legal fees.
Mediation, unlike binding arbitration, allows the parties to either accept or reject any proposals. participants in divorce mediation should expect to be challenged at times during the process while they work together with their mediator to come to develop a mutually agreeable result.
Preparing for Mediation
The mediator will generally provide you with a list of the documents you need to commence the process of resolving the divorce settlement. Financial statements, court records, a list of assets and debts — all these and more will need to be presented and discussed during the mediation process.
The most important consideration in preparing for mediation is your own readiness to participate and treat the other party with respect. It’s okay to have issues where you want to dig in your heels, but at the same time, you must realize that the whole point of mediation is to compromise so that your agreement can be the basis for life after marriage for both spouses and for the children.
Mediation requires patience. Even if you feel anger swelling up because things aren’t going “your way,” be prepared to hang in there, even if it means taking a break to cool off before resuming mediation. Both parties need to understand that they will not get everything they want, but failure is not really an option, because failure means letting a judge decide issues that are better resolved by the people directly affected by them.
The Divorce Mediation Process
Though coming up with a divorce agreement through mediation is not always clear-cut or straightforward, at least five phases are common to almost all mediation efforts:
This is the time when the mediator will explain the whole process and the agenda and goals to be reached. This phase might take place prior to the first actual session or form the basis of the first meeting.
Divorce obviously involves splitting up what currently exists and coming up with arrangements for life after marriage, both in regard to who gets what and who takes care of the children (if there are children involved). In short, mediation will involve discussions aimed at resolving the issues that define every divorce, including:
Division of assets and debt
Spousal support (alimony)
Child support (if applicable)
Child custody and parenting time
Framing the Issues
This phase usually takes place individually with the parties in a joint session, or on occasion in separate meetings with the Mediator. The focus is to determine each partner’s needs and interests. Often these goals overlap, which makes coming to an agreement easier. If the needs and interests of the parties clash, then it’s on to the next phase, which is really just a continuation of the framing phase.
Negotiating the Divorce Agreement
Negotiations often require the assistance of your Mediator who has experience with these issues and can help guide you to an agreement that will work for your whole family. The Mediator will help the parties continue to focus on their mutual goal of achieving an Agreement that is fair and reasonable and that both parties can be proud of. Remember, compromise is a big part of negotiation and mediation. The mediator’s role is to help each spouse to view the bigger picture and make compromises as necessary for the overall good of everyone involved.
Drafting the Settlement
No one ever said that mediation is necessarily quick or painless, but if everyone commits to the goal of respectful and dignified negotiations, a divorce agreement can eventually be created to meet the needs of your family. At this point, it’s a matter of putting everything into writing to present to a judge for approval. Family Court Judges in Massachusetts have wide judicial discretion and are looking for Agreements that are fair, reasonable, and respectful. Your goal in mediation is to create with your Mediator an Agreement that you can both live with long-term.
Trust an Experienced Attorney
I have been involved as an advocate for many individuals involved in contested divorces in court, but I am also a firm believer that it is in the best interests of both parties to come to an agreement that is not imposed on them by the Court. That is why I have spent more than 30 years working with couples going through divorce to help them fashion a solution through mediation that treats each spouse with respect and leads to an equitable settlement.
Divorce Mediation Attorney
Serving Worcester, Massachusetts
If you are considering divorce or are already in the process of dissolving your marriage, reach out to me at Solutions Through Mediation in Worcester, Massachusetts immediately wherever you are in the state. Let’s begin the process of working together to come to a mutual agreement that will allow both spouses to move forward with dignity and a sense of fresh beginning.