Worcester Mediation Attorneys
Successfully Resolve Your Family Law Case Out of Court
Handling the decisions related to ending your marriage or how to share custody of your children can be stressful. Standing in front of a judge with a courtroom full of people watching you and your ex-spouse argue about the intricate details of your life can be even more overwhelming. Thankfully, a way exists to avoid these situations that can reduce your anxiety about family law issues.
At O’Connor Family Law, you can work with experienced mediators who can help guide you and the other party through the process of resolving all of the issues involved in your divorce or custody case outside of the courtroom. Our exceptional team of mediators have the training, experience, compassion, and determination to help ease the doubts, dread, mistrust, and even panic that can become part of divorce and family law disagreements.
What Is Mediation in Family Law?
Mediation is a negotiation process between you and the other party assisted by professionals specifically trained to facilitate the proceedings. It is flexible and voluntary, looking for common ground between you and your ex-partner. It works on the basis that you are the ones who will have to live with whatever agreements you devise and offers you the ability to create such agreements that will work best as a whole for everyone.
Mediation is not about winning or losing but about finding common goals and interests that the family unit, even after being separated, will continue to share. It is referred to as an “alternate dispute resolution” process that focuses on cooperation so that the best outcome can be achieved that addresses the needs of both parties and children. It often concentrates on strengths rather than focusing on negatives. When both parties are committed to working toward a mutually agreeable outcome, mediation can not only address the legal issues but also the underlying emotional and personal conflicts. This is especially important when parties must work together to co-parent in a post-divorce world.
The Five Stages of Mediation
A successful mediation consists of five separate stages which are as follows:
- Introduction. The mediator will introduce herself and explain the goals and rules of the process. Each party will sign mediation contracts and confidentiality agreements if not done so earlier. Each party may be given the opportunity to talk briefly without interruption if the mediator believes it could help in getting a complete resolution
- Joint discussions. Discussions about each issue are begun with each party sharing thoughts and opinions as to what he or she believes is the best outcome and why. Active listening is encouraged to ensure each side understands the other’s points. Creative problem-solving is used to address both parties’ needs.
- Private discussions that can be requested at any time either by the mediator or the parties themselves. You or your mediator may wish to discuss your position, its potential strengths and weaknesses, and how best to move forward. Your mediator may provide suggestions. These discussion remain confidential unless you permit them to be shared with the other side.
- The mediation agreement. When both sides reach agreement on the issues, the mediator generally puts this in writing in a document that both sides sign. This is called a Memorandum of Understanding. Each side can and should get legal counsel on what the agreements mean under the law. This stage is to ensure that both side are on the same page before their agreement is drafted into the final one that will be entered with the court.
- Closure. A determination is finally made that an agreement on all the issues is complete and a final Separation Agreement or Stipulation for Judgment can be drafted. If the parties cannot come to an agreement on all issues, another course of action must be taken. Generally, the issues that have been agreed upon can be put into a Stipulation that can be entered with the court while the remaining issues are litigated.
One of Our Trusted Worcester Mediation Lawyers Can Help You
Mediation has many benefits that recommend it. It is a private process, taking place in a safe and neutral environment outside of a public courtroom. It is less costly and less time-consuming due to the fact that it does not depend on court schedules and litigation fees. It puts you and your ex-partner in control of decisions that can profoundly affect your life and the lives of children for years to come instead of leaving these up to a judge. You and your ex-partner are more likely to abide by the terms you have worked out because you both have authored those terms.
While not all mediations result in agreement, one that is successful often leads to a deeper satisfaction with the outcome of a divorce or custody dispute. If you wish to pursue this more amicable and less stressful method of resolving your family law issues, we urge you to reach out to our outstanding mediation team at O’Connor Family Law serving Westborough, Hanover, and Worcester.