Amaral & Associates, P.C. - Divorce, Family Law

Divorce Mediation Archives

Sound Reasons Why You Should Mediate Your Divorce.

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I have been a divorce attorney for over 25 years and a divorce mediator for almost as long. When a potential client asks me whether they should mediate their divorce or whether they should just get their own attorney and file for a contested divorce, I tell them the following. A contested divorce can last well over a year. In fact, in Massachusetts, the tracking order assigned to your contested divorce is for fourteen (14) months. Which means that the life span of a contested divorce can be as much as 14 months. During this time frame, the parties will exchange financial documents, attend numerous hearings on temporary orders in court, have a pre-trial hearing followed up by status conferences and then a trial if your case does not settle. All of this discovery and all of the court hearings and meetings or phone call with your attorney will cost you money in legal fees both to you and your spouse. A divorce attorney can make 10-20 times more in legal fees on a contested case then they can on a … Read More »



The Benefits of Settling Your Divorce or Family Law Case Outside of Court

Divorce Massachusetts, Divorce Mass., Divorce Suffolk County, Divorce Middlesex County, Divorce Essex County, Divorce Norfolk County, Divorce Boston, Divorce Winthrop, Divorce East Boston, Divorce Revere, Divorce Danvers, Divorce Lynnfield, Divorce Marblehead, Divorce Swampscott, Divorce Nahant, Divorce Peabody, Divorce Salem, Divorce Saugus, Divorce Arlington, Divorce Belmont, Divorce Burlington, Divorce Cambridge, Divorce Everett, Divorce Malden, Divorce Medford, Divorce Melrose, Divorce North Reading, Divorce Reading, Divorce Somerville, Divorce Stoneham, Divorce Wakefield, Divorce Watertown, Divorce Wilmington, Divorce Winchester, Divorce Woburn, Divorce Brookline, Divorce Braintree, Divorce Milton, Divorce Quincy, Divorce ChelseaAll divorce and family law cases are stressful and emotional. Sometimes the first instinct of parents and spouses is to tell their ex “See you in court.” Although it can be emotionally satisfying to have your day in court and have your case heard by a Probate and Family Court judge, it may not be beneficial to you or your children.

 

Probate and Family Court judges all have very large dockets and caseloads. Each judge tries to give an adequate amount of time to each case, but given the backlog within the courts, this is not … Read More »



Is Divorce Mediation Right for You?

There are many benefits to divorce mediation, but it is not always right for each couple. If you are thinking about getting divorced, and you can’t decide whether to try divorce mediation, here are some things to consider.

 

In divorce mediation a couple can work together amicably to resolve the issues relating to the divorce. Through this process there is less stress and drama. Divorce mediation uses a collaborative process where you and your spouse are in control and make the decisions, and not a judge. It typically takes a shorter amount of time and is more cost effective. Rather than the spouse against spouse model of traditional litigation, this is a mutual process, and you can leave the mediation process on good terms, which does not always happen with litigation.

 

However, divorce mediation is not for everyone. There are certain circumstances where divorce mediation may not work. One instance is where this is a history or abuse or violence in the relationship, or where one spouse is over-bearing or controlling of the other spouse. Because of this imbalance in power and control, divorce mediation is not always beneficial for … Read More »



What Happens During a Divorce Mediation Session?

Divorce MediationCouples contemplating a divorce may consider divorce mediation as a cheaper, more amicable method to divorce. However, before selecting divorce mediation, couples may wonder what happens during a mediation session. This is a brief description of what happens in a mediation session.

 

There are many issues that must be addressed in a divorce: 1) child support, 2) child custody, 3) alimony, 4) division of property; 5) maintaining health insurance, and 6) filing taxes and child dependency exemptions. All of these topics must be addressed in mediation.

 

If you have children, of course one of the major issues to be addressed is custody and support. Thus, a large amount of time will be spent addressing who will have custody, what the parenting schedule will be like, who will pay child support, and how much. In addressing these issues, the parties will have consider:

 

How to share transportation of the children; Holiday and vacation parenting time; Children’s participation in extracurricular activities and sports, and how to pay for these activities; and Weekly parenting schedule

 

But in addition to these … Read More »



‘Happy Valentine’s Day. I Want a Divorce.’

Valentine’s Day is approaching — and it turns out the weeks leading up to this most romantic of holidays also mark the highpoint of “divorce season.”

While there’s no national database tracking divorce filings, anecdotally, attorneys report that January and February tend to be the busiest months of the year in terms of divorce inquiries.

Why? In large part it’s a holiday hangover. A recent poll by my divorce mediation company, showed that one in 12 people (and one in eight women!) are considering divorce during the holidays. And as soon as the holidays are over, many make it their New Year’s resolution to begin again and start divorce proceedings.

I’ve worked in family law for 12 years and without fail, my phone starts ringing off the hook on January 2nd. Most start by asking for the lay of the land — they want to know their options.

Unfortunately, most people still think of divorce as the 1980s War of the Roses scenario, where each party hires the meanest pitbull of a lawyer they can find, spends thousands of dollars on legal fees and … Read More »



The Benefits of Mediating or Arbitrating Your Family Law Case

The Benefits of Mediating or Arbitrating Your Family Law CaseIn Massachusetts, divorce and Family Law cases are handled by the Probate and Family Court. Under Massachusetts, law, proceedings in the Probate and Family Court are public and can be observed by anyone. Additionally, almost all cases in the Probate and Family Court are scheduled to be heard at 8:30 a.m. (which can be as many as 75-100 cases scheduled to be heard that day), and then the judge calls all cases in whatever order he/she deems fit. This means, if your case is heard first, there can be over 100 people in the courtroom to listen to the issues pending in your case.

Additionally, the Probate and Family Court is notoriously backlogged. Thus, it can take a few months before a motion on your case is heard, and a few years before your case goes to trial.

Given the very sensitive nature of divorce and Family Law proceedings, many spouses and parents do not want their family issues presented and argued in … Read More »



Divorce Mediation & Negotiation Rule One: Be Cordial

Divorce Mediation & Negotiation Rule One: Be Cordial Rule One: Be Cordial

(Provided by © National Legal Research Group, Inc.)

There is an old saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. By the time the parties are divorcing, the parties are pretty much used to dealing with each other by yelling and screaming. The lawyer should not posture in front of the client and should tell the client that he/she will not posture. Clients watch TV and need to be told that effective advocacy does not mean putting on a show for the client’s benefit.

This is not as simple as it sounds. Unfortunately, television has conditioned many clients that cordial conduct is not what to expect from a lawyer. Rather, the TV lawyer postures, threatens, intimidates and is rude. Then comes the commercial while the other side backs down.

It would be nice, but naive, to suggest that it is sufficient merely to be cordial. We do not practice law in a vacuum, however. In family law, we … Read More »



Divorce Mediation is Fast, Inexpensive and Thorough, so Why Litigate Your Divorce?

Divorce Mediation is Fast, Inexpensive and Thorough. To learn more about our FIT Divorce Mediation Program call us at (617)539-1010.When your contested divorce commences and the Complaint for Divorce is filed, the court will forward a tracking order regarding the estimated length of the litigation process which is usually 14 months.

When a couple decides to use a certified divorce mediator to get divorced, no complaint is filed and no tracking order is necessary. The parties can usually get an appointment with a mediator within a week or so and the mediation process can take less than a month and only requires 3 hours or less of face to face mediation time with your spouse.

With a contested divorce, you cannot ask the judge any questions and you have to wait months for a hearing date on temporary orders. With a mediator, you can ask all the questions that you want at any time. Once the mediation sessions are finished, the mediator will then … Read More »



How Much Will My Divorce Cost?

What are the legal fees of divorce?Many times one of the first questions a potential client will ask our firm is “How much will my divorce cost?” Unfortunately, there is no straight answer for this question. There are many variable factors that can affect how much a divorce will cost, and there is no “standard” legal fees for a divorce.

One of the biggest factors to determine how much a divorce will cost is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. With uncontested divorces in Massachusetts (also known as IA divorces), spouses not only agree to get divorce, but agree to the terms of settlement of the divorce. They then jointly file with the court a Joint Petition for Divorce along with a Separation Agreement that outlines the terms of settlement. There is then only one court hearing to approve the documents that have been jointly filed by both spouses. Whereas, in a contested divorce, either one spouse opposes the divorce altogether, or the spouses cannot agree on some of the terms … Read More »



Divorce Mediation: Preparing Your Case

Now that you have made the wise decision to mediate your divorce case, it’s time to do your homework. As you know, mediation provides a mechanism for disputing parties to reach an amicable and well thought out resolution to a divorce, without having to depend on the court to make decisions for you and your spouse. In order to get as much out of your mediation as possible, you need to first do some basic research.

Now that you have made the wise decision to mediate your divorce case, it’s time to do your homework. As you know, mediation provides a mechanism for disputing parties to reach an amicable and well thought out resolution to a divorce, without having to depend on the court to make decisions for you and your spouse. In order to get as much out of your mediation as possible, you need to first do some basic research.

To be sure, divorce mediation is not a formal process like a contested divorce trial would be, but you should prepare your case as though you were going to trial. Whether you will be paying support to your spouse in the … Read More »



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