The length of a mediation session is two hours. Appointments are typically scheduled every two weeks. Clients may communicate with the mediator between sessions via telephone, e-mail or written correspondence.
A typical mediation sequence is as follows:
The mediator will explain the divorce process, including divorce filing and time-lines in the Probate and Family Court. Your mediator obtains pertinent information and provides a specific list of financial documents required for the process known as "legal discovery." The mediation contract sets forth the confidentiality of the mediation process as per Massachusetts General Law.
As many clients are still living together, the mediator will address this situation.
Child Custody (if applicable):
When minor children are involved, the session begins with an explanation and discussion of legal and physical custody. Your mediator will explain the practical and legal significance of different parenting arrangements. You will receive information about Massachusetts court mandated Parent Education Programs. With the mediator's assistance, you will create a parenting plan specifically for your family.
Child Support and Alimony (if applicable):
A review of both income and living expense is a major consideration for child support and alimony. Your mediator will explain and complete the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet as well as provide a tax analysis of support options. Responsibility for your child's future educational expenses is addressed.
Asset, Liability, and Property Division:
The division of assets session begins with an in-depth look at the marital house and the financial and tax implications of sole or continued joint ownership. All assets are discussed, such as retirement plans, brokerage accounts, stocks and bonds, vehicles, business valuations, and house contents. Liability decisions include responsibility for mortgage notes, equity lines, car loans, promissory notes, life insurance, pension loans, credit card and all other debt.
Insurance Benefits and Tax Consequences:
Medical insurance coverage for spouse and child, a major concern in divorce, will be addressed. Responsibility for other insurances, including dental, life and disability, are discussed. Tax issues include child dependency exemptions, filing status, and tax planning to minimize or eliminate tax upon transfer of assets. Your particular situation may require the resolution of additional issues.
Before this appointment, you will receive your Divorce Agreement with ample time to review and make any changes. If you have chosen to use a consulting attorney, they will have time to review the document.
At the final mediation session, the Divorce Agreement and additional required court forms are signed and notarized. For your convenience, every mediator in our firm is a Notary. All documents are then submitted to the Probate and Family Court for a hearing date and Judge's approval of your settlement.