Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law

Massachusetts divorce mediation and preparation for the holidays

Couples in Worcester, Massachusetts, may already know that divorce can sometimes result in courtroom litigation. But for couples who intend to end their relationship in a civil manner, divorce mediation may be the answer. Both parties can appoint one divorce mediator who will act as a third party and who will listen objectively to their issues. Then the mediator can help the parties to formulate an agreement that will satisfy both members of the former couple. Spouses may agree on the amount of spousal support, child support and custody and also the division of property. This is more convenient than having two legal representatives and facing court trials that could take a long time.

Although divorce mediation could benefit both spouses, there are instances where this process may not work. There are cases when one spouse tries to hide assets and tamper with annual income records; therefore, a fair division cannot be established during the mediation process. Another scenario is when one party aims to win the entire case. Without collaboration on both sides, mediation is impossible and the result can be a litigious divorce. The goal of mediation is to reduce the emotional stress and financial challenges incurred in marital disputes.

Many people remarry and have blended families after they divorce. The holiday season is a challenge for divorced people so planning ahead to avoid hassles is a good idea. This can be challenging in blended families. Holiday traditions and preferences have already been established and a new approach to accommodate everyone is not always well received.

Divorced couples who have gone through divorce mediation are more inclined to invite their former spouses to celebrate the holidays. During mediation, the couple is usually on friendlier terms than in a traditional divorce. This approach often makes a positive difference for the children because it is important for them to see that their parents communicate despite the fact that they're separating.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Navigating the holidays after a recent divorce," Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy, Nov. 14, 2012

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