Skip to main content

What is Conciliation? How is it different than Mediation?

In a Conciliation a neutral private attorney, sometimes appointed by the court, assists parties in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their case and exploring options for resolving the matter without going to trial.  Conciliation is similar to mediation in that the two parties are working with a neutral person who is attempting to help them reach an agreement. However there are some key differences:

  • If attorneys are involved in the case, they are usually present for conciliation. Often attorneys don't participate in a mediation.
  • Conciliators can, and often will, provide an opinion or assessment of each party's arguments.  While this may assist the parties in settling, it is different than mediation where the neutral avoids making assessments which could favor one party or the other.
  • While a mediator can be a mental health practitioner, financial expert or other non-attorney professional, a conciliator is an attorney because of the legal experience necessary to provide an assessment.
  • Conciliation usually takes place while a litigation case is pending, while most people seek mediation before litigation begins (although mediation can be used during litigation as well).
  • Finally, conciliators may be required to report back to the court if appointed by the court, while mediation is completely confidential and privileged.
Many of the Massachusetts Probate & Family Courts have conciliation programs in which the court will appoint a free conciliator to work with the parties at their request. In those programs, the conciliator agrees to provide a minimum of two hours and tries to assist the parties in settling without a cost. This Court appointed conciliation requires a report to be filed with the court.

Attorney Justin Kelsey has taken the conciliation training and can be appointed through the court in Norfolk and Middlesex counties as your free conciliator or you can choose to hire Attorney Kelsey directly. By paying for the conciliation you receive some additional benefits. Your time is not limited as with the court program, and we can work on your case until it settles. In addition, we will work around your schedule to accommodate you and your attorneys. Finally, you get to choose your neutral professional by reputation instead of being randomly assigned the next conciliator on the list.

Click here to learn more about mediation and conciliation offered by Kelsey & Trask P.C.


Comments

  1. Hi Justin, thanks for the interesting post. How does the cost of conciliation compare to the cost of mediation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment/question. Of course, the cost of each case varies based on how complicated the case is, the rates of the respective professionals involved, and the level of conflict between the parties. In my experience, Conciliation is usually cheaper than Mediation just because it is usually faster. Because the neutral provides an evaluation of the case, this tends to move things along faster. Though ultimately there is a non-financial cost to that evaluation, because it takes some of the control from the parties to decide how they want to evaluate their own issues. Ultimately, as with all things, there are pros and cons to each process and it is important to educate oneself before choosing.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What is the purpose of the Divorce Nisi waiting period?

In Massachusetts the statutory waiting period after a Judgment of Divorce and before the divorce becomes final (or absolute) is called the Nisi period. After a divorce case settles or goes to trial, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This waiting period serves the purpose of allowing parties to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. If the Judgment of Divorce Nisi has issued but not become final yet, and you and your spouse decide you don't want to get divorced, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss and the Judgment will be undone. Although many of my clients who are getting divorced think the idea of getting back together with their ex sounds crazy, I have had cases where this happened. In addition to offering a grace period to change your mind, the Nisi period has three other legal effects: 1. The most obvious effect of the waiting period is that you cannot remarry during the Nisi period, be

New Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines (2021): Big Changes, Little Changes, Typos & some Unexpected Results

UPDATE: The court has released a web calculating version of the 2021 MA Child Support Guidelines Worksheet .  It resolves some of the typos referred to below, but the unexpected calculations still apply. Every four years, per federal mandate, the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court revisits the Child Support Guidelines through the work of a Task Force appointed by the Chief Justice.  The 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines were recently posted.  They take effect on October 4, 2021.    If you are interested in a training on all of these changes to the new Child Support Guidelines: DMTA Presents the 2021 MA Child Support Guidelines Update  – Attend this event to learn the key updates you need to know for your mediation clients. Presented by Justin Kelsey of  Divorce Mediation Training Associates  and  Skylark Law & Mediation, PC . For a full comparison of all the  tracked changes between the 2018 and 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines you can download a pdf sho

Online Tool for Creating Parenting Plans

It is our hope that all families find a way to resolve conflict peacefully.  This is especially true when children are involved.  Divorced or separated parenting has many complications and the first is just deciding how to share time with a child from two separate households.  Developing a schedule can result in a lot of tension, especially if parents have trouble picturing how this new schedule will interact with their work schedules and the schedules of their children. To help make this easier, we've created an online tool for creating parenting plans that is simple and easy to use: We encourage parents, regardless of the process they are using to divorce, to use this form to assist in evaluating and settling custody disputes. The form allows you to choose between the Model Parenting Plan proposals or customize your parenting plan over a four week period by clicking directly on the form.  When you click on a section of the calendar it switches between Mom and Dad, an