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Showing posts from April, 2020

Are Mediators in Massachusetts Certified?

I get this question from lawyers a lot who are wondering if a particular training will "certify" them to be mediators. In fact, I just received an inquiry today related to the upcoming 40-hour online mediation training provided by Divorce Mediation Training Associates (more info below):

Are Mediators in Massachusetts Certified?

What Mediation Training results in a Certification?


In Massachusetts there is no government certification or license provided by the Commonwealth certifying mediators. There are some court rules and statutory provisions, however, that require a 30 hour training for certain activities and I believe this is where the misconception about "certification" stems.  The court rules and statutes that require training are:
Under the mediator confidentiality statute, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 233, Section 23C, mediators who have taken at least 30 hours of training and meet other requirements, have confidentiality protections in their client co…

A Template for Avoiding Court

"We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that
'justice too long delayed is justice denied.'
- from the Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Seeking and obtaining the assistance of the courts in resolving disputes is a right afforded the residents of our republic, but it is not always administered justly and equally.  Many have been denied those rights over the years due to discrimination or economic limitations, and it is a privilege of access that many others have come to take for granted.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted just how necessary court access is in emergencies, and also delayed significantly the access to courts for non-emergency matters.  Unfortunately, what constitutes an emergency is very limiting, and for many this means bearing the stress and trauma of ongoing litigation for much longer than even the normal lengthy process.  Now more than ever is the time to consider alternatives.

The most common rejectio…

In Mediation, Sometimes a Number Isn't a Number

In many settlement negotiations, the two sides narrow their disagreement to a small gap in their positions, a gap so small it pales in comparison to the total amount of money being discussed.  This happens often in divorce mediation, where clients threaten to blow up a multi-million dollar divorce settlement over the last $5,000 disagreement.  Why would anyone do that?  Why would either side let everything fall apart over an amount they'll obviously spend on attorneys if they continue fighting?
The reason is that it is seldom about the money, and it is often about what the money represents.  Those last few dollars in a negotiation often represent winning or losing; they represent the potential for acknowledgment or just another rejection; they represent all the giving in that got us here thus far, and the loss that goes with it; and in a divorce those last few dollars potentially represent the true end of the relationship and the last chance to hang on.
Our friend and fellow medi…