Divorce Mediation & Collaborative Divorce Articles

We hope you find our articles relevant and informative. If you have questions about divorce or any other family law matter, please contact Susan Lillis for a consultation or call (978) 356-2934 ext. 12.

Paying for college for divorcing parents

Paying for college can be quite a challenge for divorced parents. Yet those who have settled their divorce via mediation or collaborative divorce, might actually have an advantage in this area.

How?

Many couples—divorced and otherwise—have different ideas on whether to and how much to contribute to a child’s college education. Some think their child shouldn’t have to pay anything. Other parents want their child to have some skin in the game and pay for a little, half or even all. Often these different ideas are not addressed until a child is ready to start college. (more…)

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Mediation or collaborative divorce can save the house

You and your spouse have decided to divorce and your home is the primary marital asset. You agree you want the children to remain in the house. You even agree on which of the two of you stays in the house. Yet if the spouse who is staying on in the home cannot afford to buy out his or her spouse, you have a dilemma. Mediation or collaborative divorce may offer a solution that litigation might not be able to provide. (more…)

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How to keep holiday visitation from being a sticking point

When it comes to celebrating the holidays, many people hearken back to their childhoods and want to replicate their family rituals for their own children, including things like lighting the menorah, decorating the tree, opening one present only on Christmas Eve, etc.  Yet, if you were not a child of divorce and now you and your mate are divorcing, it may be a bit unrealistic to expect those holiday traditions to continue exactly as you remember with your family.

For many divorcing couples going through mediation or a collaborative divorce, there’s an inference that ‘my spouse and I are working together on an agreement that’s fair and we will work the holiday arrangements out’.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the holidays, what you think to be reasonable may not seem the same way to your spouse. That’s why it’s so important to be as definitive as possible when setting a holiday schedule when going through a divorce. (more…)

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Alimony durational limits and mediation/collaborative divorce

By now, most people have heard about the new Massachusetts’ alimony laws and how the length of time for alimony payments—at least for general term alimony–is factored based on the length of the marriage. On paper, you would think this might simplify things if you plan on mediating your divorce or going through a collaborative divorce process. The answer to that is: it can. But it can go the other way as well. (more…)

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What would I ask before hiring an attorney?

As a mediator or collaborative divorce attorney, questions are a huge part of my job. Yet more often than you think, I’m the one being asked the questions. And the one most often asked is “what would I ask before hiring an attorney?”

The answer really depends on the type of lawyer needed—family attorney, mediator or collaborative divorce attorney. In general, no matter what type of attorney you need, you do want to ask three things: (more…)

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Mediation – What’s it really like?

Over the years, I’ve mediated dozens of cases. One thing I try to be cognizant of is that, for most people, this is their first mediation (and hopefully their last). So while this might be routine to me, it can be a trip to the unknown for divorcing couples who are already in a highly stressed state. Often, I find that people who come to my 30-minute consultation prior to the start of a case really want to know “how does it work?”

Here’s an outline of what will happen over the course of a “typical” mediation. Granted, no two mediations are the same and there are circumstances that can alter the course. For the most part, this is what you can expect: (more…)

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Divorce Coach, Part II

Have you ever been so angry you wanted to scream? Did you ever let yourself actually do so? You felt better afterwards, right? Probably much better, almost to the point that you weren’t really angry anymore? In a way, that’s the kind of catharsis hiring a divorce coach for your collaborative divorce can bring. (more…)

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Want a smoother divorce? Hire a divorce coach.

Part I

When couples opt for a collaborative divorce, it’s usually because they are committed to working together in a cooperative fashion and want to avoid both the trauma and the expense of going to court. Regrettably, that does not mean once the couple sits down with both collaborative attorneys that it’s simply a matter of paperwork. Remember, we’re still talking about the dissolution of a marriage and that can bring out strong emotions on both sides. That’s why hiring a neutral divorce coach is a great investment for a collaborative divorce.

Essentially, a “divorce coach” is a mental health professional who is hired to monitor the collaborative divorce proceedings and to observe and intercede should emotions get so high that making progress becomes difficult. The divorce coach, like financial and other professionals brought in during a collaborative divorce, is a neutral party—neither for or against either spouse. (more…)

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How does divorce mediation work?

In its simplest definition, divorce mediation is when two people, who are getting a divorce, negotiate an agreement which is acceptable to both of them. The negotiations take place in a series of meetings with the help of a neutral third-party, called a mediator. Once an agreement is reached, the mediator prepares the necessary documents to be presented to the court.

During these meetings, it is the job of the divorce mediator to facilitate productive and respectful communication between you and your spouse. Each of you will be given a list of the things that need to be resolved as part of your divorce. The mediator also coordinates the exchange of financial records so that both you and your spouse have a full financial picture before finalizing your divorce settlement. As you and your spouse agree on terms, the mediator prepares the divorce agreement and other paperwork that is required to submit a joint petition for divorce to the court. (more…)

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