Divorce Mediation & FIT FAQ

Amaral has a proven track record and success rate even with the most complicated divorces and family law related matters, including, but not limited to, alimony, alimony reform, modification of alimony, child support, modification of child support, parenting plans, contempt actions, custody, removal of children from the state to another state, paternity, division of assets, division of liabilities, prenuptial agreements, post nuptial agreements, medical and life insurance, and complicated financial and tax matters. He is certified by the Court as a family law mediator and has been a licensed family law attorney in Massachusetts for over 23 years. His divorce agreements are the product of over 23 years of handling family law matters and are tailored to your specific case so as to minimize or eliminate the need for you and your spouse to seek expensive changes to the agreement, through the court, year after year.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the FIT Divorce MediationTM Program through www.Amarallaw.com:

1. Can I participate in divorce mediation without my spouse?

No. Both you and your spouse must sign the divorce mediation fee and confidentiality agreement and you must both participate in the divorce mediation process to reach an agreement that is fair and reasonable.

2. How long does divorce mediation take?

We are happy to say that a divorce or other related family law cases that are mediated through FIT Divorce MediationTM usually take three (3) hours or less for the actual face to face mediation time. We then prepare the divorce filing along with a thorough divorce agreement and financial statements with the court.

3. How much does divorce mediation cost?

We charge a flat fee of $999 per spouse for any divorce or family law mediation, which includes three (3) hours of mediation time with the parties, plus the time it takes to prepare a comprehensive family law agreement or divorce agreement, as well as the divorce filing, and the parties’ respective financial statements. In the unlikely event that the mediation should require more than three (3) hours of face to face mediation time, the parties would each be billed $150.00 per additional hour.

4. How is the fee for divorce mediation apportioned between me and my spouse?

The parties will sign a fee agreement apportioning the flat fee of $999 per spouse. Usually the fee is divided equally between spouses (or $999 per spouse), but can be apportioned by any percentage that the parties agree on, or one spouse can pay for the entire program.

5. What do I have to do to get things started to mediate my divorce or family law matter?

Getting started with your family law mediation is easy. Just call us toll at 617-539-1010 to schedule a same day, no cost, phone consultation with attorney Amaral. You can also contact us by email at info@amarallaw.com.

6. What is our success rate?

The success rate for our divorce mediation programs is over 90%. The reason is we take a common sense approach towards handling issues related to your divorce or family law matter. Amaral is able to enlighten the parties how a judge may rule on a particular issue and why, based on the specific facts of your case. His opinion is made with a very high degree of certainty, based on his many years of experience, but it is you and your spouse who will actually reach an agreement together.

7. Do we only mediate divorce cases?

No. FIT Divorce MediationTM deals with almost every kind of family law case, in addition to divorce cases, including, but not limited to, alimony, alimony reform, modification of alimony, child support, modification of child support, parenting plans, contempt actions, custody, removal of children from one state to another state, paternity, division of assets, division of liabilities, medical and life insurance, prenuptial agreements, post nuptial agreements, qualified domestic relations orders and complicated tax and financial matters.

8. What types of family law issues can be mediated through Amarallaw.com?

Almost every kind of family law case can be handled by our office, including alimony, alimony reform, modification of alimony, child support, modification of child support, parenting plans, contempt actions, custody, removal of children from one state to another state, paternity, division of assets, division of liabilities, medical and life insurance, prenuptial agreements, post nuptial agreements, qualified domestic relations orders and complicated tax and financial matters.

9. Do the amount of assets play an important role in deciding whether we can mediate our divorce or family law matter?

No. We handle cases with no assets, minimal assets or substantial assets, including cases with children or with no children.

10. How can I be sure that my spouse properly discloses all of their assets during the divorce mediation process?

Both parties are required to fill out a financial statement and sign it under the pains and penalties of perjury. The executed financial statements from both parties must then be filed with the Probate and Family Court. In the event that a spouse conceals income or assets, they could be later fined or imprisoned by the Court and the newly discovered or hidden assets may then be disproportionally divided in favor of the innocent spouse. Moreover, your mediator will review and analyze the financial statements of the parties and will request and review supporting documentation as needed before any financial statement is filed with the court. The judge on your case will then be the ultimate fact finder, when he or she reviews your divorce agreement, financial statements and divorce filing, and the judge will make a determination that the agreement is "fair and reasonable".

11. What happens if my spouse deliberately conceals assets or income from me?

Both parties are required to fill out financial affidavits and sign them under the pains and penalties of perjury. The executed financial statements from both parties must then be filed with the Probate and Family Court. In the event that a spouse conceals assets or income, when the fraud is discovered, he or she could be found in Contempt of Court and fined or imprisoned or both. In addition, the assets discovered as a result of the fraud may be disproportionally divided in favor of the innocent spouse as penalty against the other spouse.

12. Does the family mediator also prepare the divorce agreement and the divorce filing for my divorce or other family law matters?

Yes. Not all divorce mediators prepare the divorce filing and divorce agreements. However, here we prepare all of the required paperwork to get you successfully divorced and are equipped to handle any mediation and legal needs that may come up in the process.

13. Do I still have to go to court if I successfully mediate my divorce?

Yes. In Massachusetts the judge is the final "fact finder" and must make a determination that the divorce agreement, which Amaral empowered you and your spouse to reach, is both fair and reasonable. Once your case is called by the judge, your hearing usually takes ten (10) minutes or less. The judge will then ask you five or six easy questions about your life, which we will brief you on in advance.

14. Does my divorce mediator also go to court with me and my spouse?

No. Only you and your spouse will go to the court hearing which usually takes ten (10) minutes or less once your case is called. We will prepare you for the hearing and will be "on call" in the unlikely event there is a problem or you have additional questions.

15. What type of court will my case be filed in and how long will it take to get a divorce hearing date?

Your court hearing will take place in the Probate and Family Court for the county in which you live and will usually last less than ten (10) minutes once your case is called. We will prepare you for the hearing and tell you which court to go to and provide you with directions. Also, your hearing date will usually be scheduled one to one and a half months after your divorce filing is received by the court.

16. What are the advantages of getting divorced through mediation as opposed to going through the traditional contested divorce process?

“Cost” and “time” are the biggest benefits to using divorce mediation. A contested divorce can cost you each tens of thousands of dollars. Divorce mediation through our FIT Divorce MediationTM program, costs only $999 per spouse, and takes less than three (3) hours or less of face to face time. But probably the most important benefit is that the divorce mediation process is amicable and preserves whatever is left of your relationship with your spouse without creating a greater wedge which is counterproductive to the best interests of your children, and each other.

17. How do I get my spouse to agree to go the divorce mediation route instead of a long, drawn out and contested divorce?

The best way to get your spouse to mediate your divorce is to have them call us at 617-539-1010. We understand how difficult and awkward it can be to discuss getting a divorce with your spouse and we are trained to deal with spouses who may be apprehensive to the process or who are distrustful of the spouse who suggested the mediation firm. We can also call your spouse (only with your expressed permission) or send, via email or first class mail, information on our FIT Divorce MediationTM. We are also told time and time again, that their spouse will probably never agree on something or never agree to mediate. Yet we have consistently proven that this is incorrect much to the pleasant surprise of the doubting spouse. All that we need you to do is to get them to pick up the phone and call us.

18. If I am unhappy with the divorce mediation process, can I stop and hire an attorney and litigate my divorce in a contested manner?

Yes, you and your spouse can stop the mediation process at any time. The parties are then to retain separate counsel and litigate your divorce in the Probate and Family Court. Everything that was discussed during the mediation process is confidential and cannot be used against either spouse in a litigated forum nor can the mediator ever be called to testify on behalf of either spouse.

19. Is there a video available for me to watch to better understand the divorce and family law mediation process?

Yes. www.amarallaw.com has created some white board animated videos to give you an idea of what to expect regarding your family law mediation experience and help you better understand the process. You can review these videos as they become available.

20. Do you have articles for me to read regarding divorce, divorce mediation, the divorce process, custody, child support, parenting plans, how marital property is divided, finding assets, alimony, divorce tax concerns and finding the right divorce mediator?

Yes, Attorney Edward L. Amaral, Jr., has written and published numerous divorce and divorce related family law articles for your review including articles describing the divorce mediation process, contested divorces, disagreements on custody, alimony, child support, visitation rights, property division and tax considerations. You can visit our blog for these articles or by clicking here.

21. Is the divorce mediation process confidential?

Yes. Both parties sign our mediation fee agreement agreeing that anything that is said during the divorce mediation process will remain confidential and that the mediator will never be called by either side as a witness to testify on behalf of either spouse if the parties chose to end mediation and litigate.

22. What types of payment do you accept?

We accept checks, PayPal or major credit cards, including American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover. Payments can be made online by visiting our secured website at www.amarallaw.com or by calling us at 617-539-1010.