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Showing posts from September, 2015

What Questions Should You Ask Before Hiring a Divorce Mediator?

There are numerous articles telling you what you should ask a divorce attorney before you hire them and we recently posted our advice on preparing for the attorney-client interview.   As mediators we encourage clients to work with attorneys to make sure that they are fully informed throughout the divorce process, but we also recommend, in most cases, that clients try mediation before having their attorneys negotiate or litigate on their behalf.

We recommend a mediation-first approach because of the many benefits of negotiating on your own behalf with the help of a skilled mediator.  Hiring a mediator, though, can be just as confusing and stressful as hiring a lawyer.  We're hoping this article helps make that process easier:

Finding the Right Mediator for You
Similar to hiring a lawyer you want to make sure that you ask questions about the mediator's practice, cost, and experience, to ensure that your mediator fits your financial circumstances.  Typically more experience mean…

Collaborative Law & Mediation: So Simple a 1st Grader can Do It!

Recently I attended my child's first grade open house.  Among the many details about policy, projects and pick-ups, the principal shared an interesting theme that they are working on this year.  He described the PAWS principle that they teach our children (aptly named for a school with a bear mascot).

PAWS stands for:
Practice empathy, Act responsibly, Work hard, and  Solve problems together
These principles struck me because they are so basic that we often take them for granted.  In Collaborative Law and Mediation we live by the PAWS principles but often struggle to boil them down to so simple of a form.  If first graders can get it, though, we should be able to make it this easy for adults.

As one six year old recently tried to explain to her fighting parents: "Nobody gets along all the time. But disagreeing sometimes is one thing — treating each other poorly is another."  This viral video of a six year old explaining how to be nice to her parents is both adorable and ful…

Today, I Didn't Win - A Collaborative Law Success Story

Everyday someone fails.  Sometimes marriages fail and sometimes parents fail.   Sometimes the courts fail families and sometimes lawyers do.  Sometimes mediation fails to help people reach agreements, and sometimes people fail to help themselves.

But sometimes, we also succeed.  There are success stories in family court, mediation and collaborative sessions that save relationships, and parents who overcome divorce to raise good confident children.  Today was one of those success stories and it's one worth sharing:

Today, I didn't fight for my client.  I didn't beat the opposing party.  I didn't solve the problem triumphantly by myself.

Today, I didn't win.
Instead, the opposing counsel, the collaborative coach and I did something together, as a team.  We helped two parents talk.  That might seem simple and easy, but for some parents, in some situations, it is not.  It took preparation and time, and some failures along the way.  It took a process designed to help …

3 Amazing Facts about the DOR Child Support Enforcement Division

In Massachusetts the Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Division (DOR:CSE) provides child support collection services to both payors and recipients of child support.  Three attorneys from DOR:CSE recently spoke at a Boston Bar Association Family Law Section Brown Bag presentation and shared the following amazing facts:

In 2014 the Massachusetts DOR:CSE collected  over $646 million dollars in child support.

DOR:CSE can collect child support in any case where the child support figure is a sum certain and the recipient requests services.  They deduct support directly from the payor's paycheck which reduces the administrative burden of payment on both the payor and recipient.  They also track any arrears which can assist parties in keeping a clear record of child support owed.



Each case at DOR:CSE has an individually assigned case worker  and each case worker has between 1200 and 1900 cases.  

DOR:CSE has a comprehensive website that can provide a lot of information generall…

What Questions Should You Ask Before Hiring an Attorney: a Mediator's Perspective

Experiencing any type of legal dispute is stressful and many people walk into a lawyer's office nervous and anxious about the experience.  In order to reduce that anxiety and ensure that you hire someone who is a good fit for your case, it is important to consider what questions you want to ask and to enter that meeting prepared.

There are numerous articles telling you what you should ask a divorce attorney before you hire them. The typical advice ranges from the obvious (what are their billing rates) to the not-so-obvious (what percentage of their practice is devoted to your type of case).   As a mediator, though, my advice is a little more personal.

Does your lawyer understand your goals?
While it is important to ask questions about the lawyer's practice, cost and experience, it is also very important that any counsel that you hire understands your goals.   The type of lawyer you choose to meet with and hire can have a significant impact on how you view conflict in your case…

A Parent's Guide to Children and Divorce - Infographic