Divorce Mediation in Massachusetts
Mediation is gaining popularity. In my estimation and this is just based on my experience, I would say the last 7 or 8 years in Massachusetts, it has become more and more common. I became certified as a mediator in the early 90s and I’ve been doing it consistently since then. Mediation is suitable for some cases but not all cases. There are advantages and disadvantages to mediation. While I don’t see courts as necessarily a hostile place, some people do see them as a hostile place. What happens is the mediation occurs in my office in an office environment. The participants feel that it’s a much more open discussion that they can have than what might be had in a courthouse corridor and it’s also a friendlier way to deal with their soon to be former spouse. It really is a lot less formal than going to court.
The other advantage is the terms that you agreed to are totally within your control. Someone, namely a judge, is enforcing you to accept the terms that you don’t necessarily agreed to. The other advantage to mediation is that it’s generally much more cost-effective than both parties hiring a lawyer to go to court.
The disadvantages of mediation can be that sometimes the weaker party loses, so to speak and by weaker party, I mean someone that isn’t quite in the know about what went wrong during the marriage. This could be the party who wasn’t in control of the finances, who doesn’t know whether or not their spouse has a retirement plan, who doesn’t have any idea of the budget necessary to run the household. They could agree to something that would not be in their best interest. As their mediator, I cannot point that out because I would be giving a legal advice and one of the duties of being a mediator is that you can’t give legal advice to either party. So if the parties agree, that might become a term of the agreement.
This informational blog post was provided by Cynthia Hanley, an experienced Mansfield, Massachusetts Mediation Lawyer.