Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Role of the Divorce Mediator

The Mediation Process

As the mediator, there a number of things going on in my head and on a number of levels. I am trying to assess the participants and the dynamics. I look at body language, tone of voice and their general demeanor at the mediation. It is my job to determine if there is a power imbalance and if so to address it. It is also my job to make sure that each party has the same basic level of understanding and knowledge. If not, I suggest ways that this can happen. Sometimes I suggest experts or outside people that one of the participants can consult to get up to speed.

Wrapping up the Mediation Process

Wrapping up the Mediation Process

Once the parties have reached an agreement, if the parties are not using attorneys, I send the clients a packet which includes all the court forms and financial documents they will need to file with the court and a very specific instruction manual about the court process and how to file the divorce.   I will meet with clients fro one final meeting in which we review the court papers, instructions for filing and appearing in court, review financial statements to make sure they are accurate and prepared properly.

I review the agreement to make sure both parties fully understand and agree to the provisions and I give clients instructions about signing the agreement and filing the paperwork with the appropriate court. I cannot notarize the agreement for my clients.

If necessary I will meet with the parties or speak with them on the telephone to answer questions about the court process.

The Divorce Agreement and Lawyers

The Agreement

Once the parties have reached an agreement on most or all of the issues in their divorce, I will draft a proposed agreement. Depending on the complexity of the agreement and the level of conflict, there may be some revisions of the agreement at subsequent meetings. When there is a complete agreement I will draft a final divorce agreement. Interestingly and somewhat confusingly, this final agreement is called a "Separation Agreement".

Monday, October 5, 2015

Massachusetts Divorce in a Nutshell

The process of divorce can be an extremely difficult and traumatic experience, emotionally and financially. To add to that, divorce necessitates decisions about almost every major aspect of your life including housing, employment, your children, health insurance, retirement taxes, etc. In fact, it is hard to imagine other times in one's life when a person has to make so many major life decisions, often while in a state of depression, anxiety, shock and/or anger.

Even if you are proceeding with a mediated divorce, understanding the divorce process and options for resolving your divorce is at least one step towards making the divorce process easier. What follows are some facts and information that will help you get the lay of the land if you are going through or contemplating a divorce and considering mediation.