Monday, August 31, 2015

Divorce Mediation Cost Savings

Divorce mediation saves money. In many divorces, couples are already stretched beyond their financial means by now having to support two households instead of one. Mediation allows the couple to avoid the high cost of divorce litigation in the following ways:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Goals of Divorce Mediation

The goal in divorce mediation is to provide clients with the information and process they need to reach an informed decision about their divorce that conserves their financial resources, minimizes anxiety and increases rather than decreases communication. This is accomplished in the following ways:

The mediator provides clients with information about Massachusetts divorce law.

The mediator provides clients with a detailed list of the issues they will need to address in their separation agreement.

The mediator meets with the clients together and helps facilitate communication.

The mediator provides clients with a detailed packet of court documents and forms that they will need to file their divorce in court.

The mediator provides clients with a detailed letter at the end of the mediation explaining what happens in court, what the judge will ask, where to go, what to file  and what to expect.

The mediator will draft a divorce agreement for the clients when they have reached an agreement which they can take to court and present to the judge.

Monday, August 3, 2015

What is Divorce Mediation?

Mediation is a process in which a third party neutral works with two or more people to help them reach resolution on issues or conflicts that may exist between them. In divorce mediation, the mediator works with the divorcing couple to help the couple reach a resolution on the various issues in their divorce. The term "mediation" encompasses various styles of mediation ranging from transformative to directive. The varying styles often have to do with how much the mediator will interject or offer his or her own opinions to the parties. Typically, in a divorce mediation, the mediator will not offer his or her opinions and will not give advice to the participants. However, there are divorce mediators who not only offer their opinions but also actively negotiate between the parties to attempt to work out a resolution. This is sometimes called "conciliation" or "case evaluation." It is important for a couple engaging in the mediation to know which style the practitioner uses.

In the more traditional divorce mediation, the role of the mediator is to facilitate a dialogue between the parties and to insure that they have sufficient information, legal, financial etc., to make an informed decision and agreement. The mediator can provide the parties with legal information. This is distinguished from legal advice. Giving legal advice endangers the mediator's neutrality. In a typical divorce mediation, I provide a lot of legal information but cannot give my mediation clients legal advice

Why Mediation?

Why Mediation? 

More than 20 years ago  I reached the conclusion that the litigation model is not particularly well suited to dealing with one of the most difficult and traumatic times for people. During a divorce, people are often dealing with every major aspect of their life while going through divorce. The problem however is that there are many people vying for the judge's time and energy. In turn the judge has very little time to hear and fully understand the litigant's situation. The pace and timing of the client's divorce is guided by the court's schedule and judge's availability. This often leads to long delays. There is also very little predictability when going to court. How a case turns out may very well depend on who is the judge, who the lawyers are, the particular relationship between the lawyers and a host of other factors which are outside of the client's control. Secondly, litigating a divorce, particularly for clients who are middle class or low income, is extremely expensive. Most lawyers require significant retainers to commence the case. One trip to court can use up a significant chunk of the retainer.

Typically, clients appear in court with many other litigants and spend several hours waiting to see the judge. Mediation is much more efficient and much less expensive. Litigation encourages more animosity and less communication. The contested divorce will undoubtedly involve attempts to discredit the other party. Particularly when there are children involved, the litigation system can have a devastating impact on the children as a result of the winner take all attitude. Unfortunately there is rarely a winner. Usually, everyone loses, including the children. Mediation encourages communication, cooperation and listening. Mediation focuses on brainstorming of ideas for mutual gain rather than destruction of the other person. Mediation highlights the fact that the two participants will remain connected for the rest of their lives through their children and thus must find a way to continue to work with each other in an effective and respectful manner. Unlike litigation, mediations occur behind closed doors and are not open for the public to see.