Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law

Divorce mediation may protect financial integrity of both parties

For some Massachusetts individuals, their divorces can be the most traumatic experiences of their lives. There are ways to prevent individuals from being overwhelmed by feelings of regret, loss, failure and resentment during the time leading up to the divorce and after the marriage is dissolved. The financial impact of a divorce can also cause distress, and many divorcing couples choose to utilize the process of divorce mediation to help them cope with emotional and financial issues in an amicable way and avoid negative impacts on their respective financial profiles.

Matters that can be discussed during mediation include the division of assets, alimony, child support and legal fees. Mediation can serve as a platform to agree on matters that may affect the credit scores of one or both parties. If couples go into divorce with jointly shared debts, such as credit cards, agreements can be reached and recorded about who will be responsible for payment. Another issue that can have a negative financial impact involves negotiations related to selling major joint assets such as the family home. If one spouse refuses to sell such an asset, both parties may remain responsible for payment.

Divorce mediation can reduce the legal costs of a divorce substantially. Nobody wants to enter a new single life burdened with mountains of legal debt. Also, starting a new life with flags on one's credit report is not a desirable situation, and if couples can communicate and compromise to reach mutual agreements on all financial issues, both parties may leave the marriage with their credit scores intact.

Massachusetts couples who are considering divorce mediation rather than expensive and time-consuming litigation may find comfort in knowing that each party's legal representative may be present during mediation. An experienced divorce attorney can provide valuable input while also ensuring that his or her client's rights are protected. The attorneys can also ensure that all aspects of the final agreement comply with state and federal laws.

Source: money.usnews.com, "5 Ways Divorce Affects Your Credit", Paul Sisolak, April 14, 2016

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