Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Divorce mediation may help to avoid future litigation

Couples in Massachusetts that are considering divorce may want to avoid costly and ongoing litigation. Each spouse would likely want to protect his or her own interests. In addition to property division, child custody and spousal support, couples may find it difficult to agree on matters such as child support. More and more divorcing couples are opting to make use of services such as divorce mediation, arbitration or collaborative divorce.

With mediation, an appointed mediator will assist couples in making decisions that would serve the interests of both parties. Although mediators may be legal professionals, as mediators they will not be authorized to enforce final legal decisions. The input and viewpoint of an objective third party often helps couples with communication and brings about compromise.

Couples whose divorce is fairly amicable may opt for a collaborative divorce. There will not be a mediator present, and instead both spouses and their legal representatives will meet and discuss all aspects of a divorce. This is a way of settling all matters prior to going to court and thereby saving costly court fees. Collaboration also offers couples the opportunity to control their own futures, rather than having a judge make the important decisions on their behalf.

The third option is arbitration, which is similar to mediation. However, with arbitration, the arbitrator has the authority to hand down binding agreements by which both spouses must abide. Using one of these available services will ensure that all aspects are covered and may help to avoid unpleasant litigation in the future. Divorcing couples in Massachusetts may rest assured that the best interests of children will be considered during divorce mediation, arbitration or collaborative divorce.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorcing? Protect Your Finances, Personal Data", Jason Alderman, July 23, 2014

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