Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

Mediation Archives

A discussion about court-ordered conciliation

Often when Massachusetts couples consider using mediation for the resolution of their divorces, they think about the process as a voluntary undertaking. What readers of this family law and mediation blog may not know is that courts can order couples to use mediation when they are working to end their marriages. Sometimes called court-ordered conciliation, this form of mediation may be ordered for a number of reasons.

Are there options after divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation is an alternative path to ending a marriage that some Massachusetts couples may wish to try instead of litigation in the courts. Parties that mediate their divorce often find satisfaction in taking control of the process and having a strong role in the outcomes that will dictate their post-divorce future. However, though many couples that start the mediation process end up with workable agreements, others may not reach these goals.

The role of a mediator in ending a marriage

Mediation is a non-traditional way to bring about a divorce. Whereas traditional roads to divorce lead individuals through litigation, mediation helps parties set aside their differences, so they can collaboratively settle their disagreements. Massachusetts residents who use mediation to end their marriages have control over their divorce outcomes and often experience satisfaction with the process of directing their own divorce negotiations.

Preparing a child to speak to a mediator

A child stuck in the middle of a custody dispute can suffer serious psychological harm if forced to choose between their parents. Trained mediators are well versed in how to approach and question a child as to their own wishes without making them feel as if they are turning their back on either parent. Most judges don't want to question a child in a courtroom, as they realize the dangerous implications it can have. When necessary, they will take the child into their chambers to ask questions.

How much will divorce mediation cost me?

The simple answer to this question is this: far less than going to court. However, the complex answer lies within the participants. A mediator has no way of knowing what emotional factors are going to come into play during divorce settlement negotiations. As these are the factors that will hinder progress, it is difficult to give a straight answer to this question.

Reasons to avoid family law litigation by using mediation

There is one point we would like to make regarding litigation, which is that it is not often a friendly process. In matters, such as custody, where parties will be required to communicate for years to come, litigation can create feelings of anger or resentment that affect the parties' abilities to act amicably towards each other. Once arguments in a courtroom open, the gloves come off and the very public war begins.

Is mediation the right process for my divorce?

Just like every couple's relationship is different, so is that couple's potential divorce. With the divorce rate still fairly high, it's not out of the question to figure that a large percentage of marriages will end in divorce. If this is something you are considering, you might be wondering how to get it done.

What will happen at a mediation?

Parties who are going into a divorce mediation can be understandably nervous. They don't know what to expect or how the process goes. Many probably envision themselves shut in a conference room and forced to hash out every good, bad, and ugly detail face-to-face, in front of a room full of people. That thought is enough to give anyone anxiety. However, thankfully, it does not reflect how mediation works.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

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Needham, MA 02494

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