Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Common misunderstandings in divorce mediation

Many Worcester, Massachusetts readers may already know that decision-making can be difficult because a particular decision can make or break the situation. The same can be said of divorce. Divorce can have an emotional and financial impact. However, the impact of divorce can be minimized through divorce mediation.

In Massachusetts, divorce mediation is another option for divorcing couples to end their marriage in addition to hiring a divorce attorney. Compared with hiring a divorce attorney, divorce mediation is more affordable because the spouses only require a neutral mediator. While each spouse is obligated to pay a litigation attorney with a large retainer, a neutral mediator only needs an hourly fee every session. Rather than litigate, a neutral mediator can assist both parties in creating an agreement that caters to each spouse's best interests.

Despite these benefits, many individuals still prefer a traditional divorce because of these common misconceptions about divorce mediation. Accordingly, some people may think that divorce mediation can settle all the issues that come with divorce. Although mediation may not be able to solve all the issues, both divorcing spouses can formulate a settlement agreement that addresses a number of issues such as child support, alimony and property division but not child custody. If they want to resolve child custody, spouses must coordinate with a parenting coordinator, who can execute an agreeable plan. The procedures associated with divorce mediation can also be executed separately.

Additionally, choosing divorce mediation does not prevent spouses from consulting with a legal professional. It is important to remember that a mediator is just one part of the team that is needed in divorce. A divorcing spouse can also consult with other professionals, depending on their needs, such as a forensic accountant or a realtor. After the process is complete, mediators may also suggest that the ex-spouses review the settlement agreement with an attorney to avoid any legal issues after filing the document.

The common misconception in divorce mediation may cause spouses not to choose what is best for all involved. Choosing mediation may be the most sensible choice, which is possibly an affordable and less stressful approach to divorce.

Source: Huffingtonpost, "Mediation Myths and Misunderstandings that May Affect Your Decisions in Divorce," Diane L. Danois J.D., May 10, 2013

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