If you and your spouse contemplate a Massachusetts divorce, likely neither of you likes the idea of a long, drawn out and bitter court battle. Not only can such a traditional litigated divorce cause both of you a good deal of stress and possible financial strain, it likewise is very hard on your children. You may well wish to look into obtaining a mediated divorce instead.
In a mediated divorce, neither you nor your spouse hires an attorney. Instead, the two of you hire a mutually agreed upon mediator. This neutral professional, who represents neither of you, instead acts as your facilitator, helping the two of you resolve your own issues instead of leaving resolution up to a judge. Each of you remains free, however, to hire your own attorney if and when the need arises. According to the American Bar Association, a mediated divorce can cost 40-60 percent less than a litigated divorce.
Once you and your spouse agree on a mediator, each of you has the opportunity to hold an initial private meeting with him or her. This gives you the chance to share your concerns, fears, etc. regarding the upcoming divorce, as well as discuss the areas in which you are willing to compromise with your spouse.
After these initial private meetings, you, your spouse and your mediator hold a series of joint meetings wherein you and your spouse negotiate and compromise with each other. The mediator makes sure that each of you has plenty of opportunity to express your views, but (s)he also makes sure that both of you do so in a cooperative and nonthreatening manner.
The idea of mediation is for you and your spouse to maintain control of your lives and resolve your own divorce and post-divorce issues including the following:
- Who will have primary care and custody of your children
- Who will pay child support and in what amount
- Who, if either, will make spousal support payments to the other and in what amount
- Who will receive which pieces of marital property and assets
- Who, if either, will continue to live in the family home
Obviously you and your spouse can both receive many benefits from mediation, assuming of you are willing to cooperate with each other to resolve your differences. Probably the biggest benefit of mediation, however, is its effect on your children. What better role models could they have with regard to their own future conflicts than to watch you and your spouse, both of whom they love, working together to resolve your issues?
This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.