October 1, 2017
Written by Staff at The Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution
Separating individuals are often convinced by a friend or a family member to go to a lawyer rather than trying to work out an agreement in mediation.
Have you dismissed mediation as too risky, because of:
High net worth / upcoming inheritance
Complex financial situation
Unequal income streams/financial dependence
Inability to communicate
Fear of being manipulated by a financially, or otherwise “savvy” spouse/partner,
Concern that a mediator may “miss” an advantageous tax or legal loophole
Erroneous belief that working with a mediator precludes you from getting legal advice
Anger, Fear, and more Anger, Fear
You probably owe it to yourself and your soon-to-be-“X” NOT to dismiss something that could save you:
Control over the decision-making of all the important financial issues: asset division, child support and alimony
Months of delay as both your attorneys triage issues for other clients
Bitter conflict with your spouse, instead of moving on with the future
Losing focus on your highest priority: the best interests of your children
Dignity; by meeting around a table, in a confidential setting
Remember, no divorce agreement is binding until it goes before a judge:
So, whether both parties hire attorneys to hammer out terms, or together work with a mediator to come to an agreement, the document must ultimately go to court, and be approved by a judge before a divorce can be finalized. That means that no document will be approved unless it complies with all the legal guidelines and requirements set forth by the Massachusetts Family & Probate Court.
So is it better to get a really “tough lawyer” to fight your spouse’s attorney at each critical decision? How well has fighting over the big, or even small stuff worked so far in your relationship? Probably not well.
Typically, we find that it is not the complexity of the couple’s finances that generate exorbitant sums. Indeed we frequently have clients enter mediation after their frustration levels have reached the breaking point because of the slow progress and excessive fees of their legal experiences. Don’t forget, for every time your attorney digs in his/her heals, the opposing attorney will fight that point. At which your attorney begins the discussion for a different concession- with equal vigor… and more time. Vigor + more time = expensive.
The truth is, in most cases you are being shortsighted not to try to mediate a contentious divorce. It makes much more economic sense to try mediation, with an experienced divorce mediator, who is trained to help people agree on things, before you hire 2 attorneys, with 2 separate retainers, who charge for any time spent on your case including, research, drafting, phone calls (to you, to your spouse’s/partner’s attorney) and many times all emails, even photocopies. There are many understandable reasons why people gravitate to attorneys to settle a divorce. But none are so convincing, that intelligent people should just dismiss, or ignore an option that might leave them better-positioned during, and after the divorce process. Mediation is an option that works for many separating couples, you owe it to yourselves to try it. You have nothing to lose and a great deal to gain.
Please Call Our Office For Answers To Your Questions – 781.239.1600