Stay in charge of your life
That's my main theme as a family mediator. The mediation process is designed to help you do that, since nothing happens unless you both agree to it.
(Please note that Healy, Fiske, Richmond & Matthew, LLP has 6 lawyers: Regina Healy, Barbara Zicht Richmond, Susan J. Matthew, Jon Benson, Donna Knox and me. www.hfrmlaw.com is our delightful and informative website. Regina Healy and Jon Benson represent individual clients. Barbara Richmond, Susan Matthew and Donna Knox represent individual clients and also mediate. I only mediate, with rare exceptions for volunteer appointments, etc. Here I explain family mediation as I have practiced it since 1979.)
How to stay in charge
For starters, you need to know what you want. Success in mediation depends on your both knowing what you want your Agreement to say. You also both need to be ready: ready to listen to yourself, ready to listen to each other and ready to try to reach agreement. Thus I encourage each of you to listen to what is most important to you. Knowing What You Want is your basic compass to steer by.
The Useful Documents link contains basic documents that are useful to you whether you want an agreement to get divorced, an agreement to separate temporarily or an agreement to help you stay married, a result recently upheld by our Supreme Judicial Court in the Ansin case.
A Checklist of every subject included in a Separation Agreement is the most helpful piece of paper in a divorce. All the court forms necessary to file for a divorce are included. You can also link to A Marital Negotiation Process defining simple steps to help you communicate efficiently to learn what you each want and then develop your own solutions.
Other Uses for Family Mediation:
I have also helped siblings use mediation to resolve disputes over the care of aging parents, or how they can design a dispute resolution mechanism for future disputes, or parents arguing with their children over money or other family issues. These families design their own agreements and other documents.
How Much Does Mediation Cost?
I charge $425 an hour and a typical divorce mediation takes between 5 and 10 hours of my time, which includes time in meetings, communicating by phone or writing, and writing the Separation (ie Divorce) Agreement. Thus the total cost is between $2,250 and $4,500 to obtain a complete Separation Agreement, which parties typically share in some way.
Clients do not pay a retainer: you pay as you go, by personal check. The remaining costs of a divorce are the $220 filing fee for a no-fault divorce, the approximately $80 charge you each pay for your parent education training class if you have a minor child, and whatever you pay your own legal, financial or other advisor if you choose to have one.
Obviously, mediation costs vary depending upon how much time I spend on your case. My longest case took about 20 hours; on the short end, several couples have tied for the record of one hour, believe it or not.
It's Up to You...
If you want, you can use mediation to:
- save time and money
- stay in control of your own life
- improve communication with your spouse
- improve your own sense of what is important to you
- resolve longstanding family disputes
- develop methods of conflict resolution that will help your relationship forever
Another major benefit of mediation is reducing conflict between parents. Since parental conflict is the main source of damage to children of divorce, resolution of conflict may be your most helpful gift to them. (See For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered, E. Mevis Hetherington and Joan Kelly, Norton & Co., 2002). You can even use marital mediation to improve your marriage.
Links to other Marital Mediation Practitioners:
To learn more about mediation
You may agree to obtain a divorce. You may decide to separate temporarily, to give yourselves breathing room while you decide the future of your marriage. You may decide you want a marital agreement to define new terms for your marriage. (See the links to other marital mediation practitioners; we are not alone.) You may have other family issues that will benefit from the help of an experienced neutral third person present. This website provides you Documents That Will Help You move towards whatever goal you choose.
Take Your Time. "The readiness is all." Do not enter into any agreement until you know it says what YOU want it to say. You can of course consult with your own attorney, financial advisor, therapist or any other person during this process, or no one at all as you wish.
How Do We Get Started?
If you are interested in mediation after reading this website, feel free to call me at (617) 354-7133. Your spouse can do the same. If you both want to learn more about mediation, please call my office to arrange an appointment, of which the first half hour is free. Or you can contact me here.