Divorce Mediation Services in Bristol County and Plymouth County
Mediation is a form of “alternative dispute resolution”, or ADR. The purpose of mediation in New Bedford and surrounding areas is to resolve a conflict between two or more people. In divorce, mediation is a valuable tool to help resolve issues when spouses are separating. Mediation is often helpful to resolve issues of property division, who retains the marital home, child custody and parenting plans, child support, alimony, taxes, and so on.
If you live in Dartmouth, Westport, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Marion, Rochester, Wareham, Plymouth, or any other town within Bristol County, Massachusetts and Plymouth County, Massachusetts, you may contact our office for mediation services by clicking here.
Our law firm has several certified mediators on staff that are available to speak with you immediately about divorce mediation. Having a certified divorce mediator is crucial – only mediation communications and meetings with a certified mediator are confidential in Massachusetts. Click here to review the Massachusetts statute governing the confidentiality of mediation – M.G.L. c.233, Section 23C.
Why Choose Divorce Mediation?
There are a number of benefits of mediating your divorce matter if you live in Plymouth County or Bristol County, Massachusetts. These benefits include:
- Mediation is a method to resolve conflict. In divorce cases, emotions are high and ending up in court and letting a judge (who doesn’t know you) decide your fate is the last resort. Mediation usually (if done properly) results in an agreement.
- Mediation is confidential (so long as certain requirements are met – see below). This is important because the process is designed to allow for an open discussion about settling a potential divorce case (or ongoing divorce case) without the fear that the other party is going to report to the judge what was said. This confidentiality helps parties negotiate more directly.
- Mediation can result in a quicker resolution. The court process can be very slow. Mediation helps resolve cases much quicker than they would be if the case proceeds through the courts.
- A mediator is a neutral person that will not give biased opinions. An experienced divorce mediator can enlighten spouses that are going through a divorce on what the process will be like and what the court would likely order to resolve the case. As seasoned divorce litigators, we have significant experience and often can educate mediation clients as to what is likely to happen in their matter.
Divorce Mediation Successes
We love participating as a neutral mediator in divorce cases in New Bedford, Dartmouth, Mattapoisett, Marion, Attleboro, and other areas throughout the South Coast of Massachusetts. The reason we love mediating is because we are good at it and have a great track record of resolving divorce disputes before parties spend years of their lives and tens of thousands of dollars in court arguing. (Of course, our history of success in resolving cases through mediation does not mean that your case is guaranteed to be resolved through mediation – we are not permitted to make that promise and would not do so).
We have experience resolving the simplest of cases to the most extreme and complicated cases. We have resolved cases involving children, helping the parties create the ideal parenting plan, to cases involving complicated division of assets including business interests, retirement assets and property.
Whatever the issue involved in your case, our certified mediators have probably dealt with that issue in the past and are available to help resolve the issue for you now.
Confidentiality of Mediation
In Massachusetts, you do not have to be certified mediator to mediate divorce matters. However, if a mediator does not meet the certification requirements set forth in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 233, Section 23C, the mediation is not considered confidential. If parties participate in a confidential mediation proceeding, all the documents and discussions that arise from that mediation are confidential and cannot be used against either party at a later date.
Divorce Mediation Procedure
Divorce mediation in Dartmouth, Massachusetts and other areas on the South Coast usually follow this procedure:
1. Initial meeting between the mediator and spouses
2. Completion of “intake” information for the parties
3. Completion of draft “Financial Statement”, the form used by the Family Court in divorce cases
4. In-depth meeting between the parties and mediator to identify issues and start working through them
5. Follow up meetings as may be necessary
6. Preparation of divorce documents
7. Advisement to parties to retain independent counsel (throughout the process)
8. Review and signature of divorce documents
9. Filing divorce documents with the family court registry office
10. Appearance for hearing date when court will approve separation agreement.
It is important to understand that not all divorce mediators in the New Bedford and surrounding areas are created equally. Some mediators are much better than others. The following characteristics make a divorce mediator ideal:
1. Familiarity with the divorce process
2. Divorce litigation experience (so that the mediator understands what will likely happen if the case proceeds to court)
3. Familiarity with the family court judges that may be involved in your case
4. Organizational skills
5. Experience in mediating divorce cases between parties
6. Streamlined process to facilitate expedited conclusion
7. Availability to engage in mediation immediately.
For an in-depth review of the mediation process, click here.