What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce Mediation is a process whereby the parties are aided by a neutral intermediary who does not represent either party but who acts to facilitate settlement between the parties.
What is the mediation process?
First, the parties meet with the mediator in an initial consultation. The clients and the mediator will determine if their case is right for mediation with the mediator.
The clients, if they have children, will need to attend an Approved Parenting Education Program, which is required by the Probate and Family Court at the time that a petition for divorce is filed.
The clients will communicate information to the mediator about their case, and the issues that the case entails.
The clients will need to prepare Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rule 401 Financial Statements.
Through a series of mediation sessions the parties and the mediator will work through the issues and attempt to resolve disputes to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.
What happens after mediation is completed?
Once a mediation is completed, the mediator may, upon agreement of the mediator and the parties, draft a memorandum of understanding that the parties will sign outlining the terms of the parties' agreement. Alternatively, upon agreement of the mediator and the parties, the mediator will prepare a separation agreement for the parties a joint petition for divorce, and additional documents that the parties may file with the court and present to a judge for approval.
Why should we mediate our case?
Divorce can be an emotionally exhausting and financially draining experience. Parties are often hurt and angry and are not at their level-headed best when they are dissolving their marriage. Consequently, arguments often erupt around finances or child-related issues, or both. Issues that may have contributed to the marital breakdown may be at the surface and a sore subject for both parties. At this time of hurt, anger and confusion, you may ask yourself if it is a good time to invest thousands of dollars into launching litigation. While many cases require litigation, many may not. Litigation is an adverse process. Mediation is a collaborative process. Mediation can be less expensive than litigation, less difficult than litigation and it is private and confidential.
Will the Mediator provide legal advice?
The short answer is "no." A mediator does not represent either party, but is a neutral intermediary. However, the mediator may provide the clients with information, a good example of which would be the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. And, with the parties' permission, the mediator may make a suggestion or provide an observation from which the parties may draw their own conclusions.
How much will mediation cost?
That depends on the scope of your case and the number of issues about which the parties disagree and need assistance with in order to resolve the dispute.