Subscribe

Can I have an attorney for mediation?

    Often I have people consult my office that either want to or have agreed to attend mediation (through a court process or otherwise). They tell me that they can “work it all out” or that they “don’t want to argue.” Often people tell me that they have decided to go through mediation rather than having their own attorney.

    The first step to making this decision is to understand the mediation process. Mediation is a process by which the parties discuss the matter at hand, whatever that may be, to identify the issues and come to an agreement on how to resolve any conflict. In the matter of divorce, the parties attempt to come to an agreement on such issues as property distribution, child custody & support, etc.

    Next, you must understand the mediator’s role. The mediator is not there to give you legal advice. He or she does not represent either party. The mediator does not advise either party as to the implications of his/her decisions. The mediator’s role is to bring the parties to an agreement that works for both. In essence, the mediator brings “A” and “C” to a middle point of “B” with an agreement that is fair and reasonable.

    If you want legal advice, you must have an attorney present. Only then will you receive legal advice and understand any future implications of your decisions. You cannot rely on the mediator to do this for you. It isn’t his/her job. You can make a decision to have an attorney present for the mediation, which is the most efficient option, or to consult with an attorney after the mediation. Of course, having your attorney present ensures that you don’t have to go back to negotiations after learning that an agreement you made was not in your best interest. At the least, having an attorney review the agreement post mediation ensures that you haven’t agreed to anything major that could hurt you later.

    Don’t make major life-long decisions without knowing the legal implications of them in your future. Consult an attorney and know that you are doing the right thing for you – and for your family.

    We are here to assist you. Call us today at (978) 777-5393 or (603) 373-0545.

MA: Can I Hire a Lawyer During COVID-19

Q: Can I hire a lawyer during COVID-19 with the courts being closed? Can they still work on my family law related case? A: Even if the court is closed, having an attorney assist you is so important.  Most importantly, you should not go through this alone.  Having an...

Arsdale Appeals and Alimony

Recently two new cases came down from our SJC that you should be aware of, both relating to alimony. The first, SUSAN VAN ARSDALE vs. WILLIAM VAN ARSDALE, focused on the constitutionality of durational limits of alimony applied retroactively.* To examine the...

Losing Custody of Your Child

Losing custody of your child is one of the most heart-wrenching things a parent can endure.  As a family attorney, I am often asked about the types of things that will result in losing custody of your child.  This article will point out a few actions that can lead to...

Legal Meaning of the Cosby Mistrial

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Bill Cosby’s trial resulted in a mistrial on Saturday.   The jury came back to the judge, for the second time, on Saturday and informed him that they could not reach a verdict.  As a result, the Court declared a “mistrial.” So,...

Child Support: Two Part Series on Common Issues – Intro

Certain questions become very common in the practice of divorce and parenting.  Particularly with the commonality of changing jobs more often than in the past and second marriages and/or new relationships post-divorce, issues rise that may not have been an issue many...

Questions You Should Ask Your Divorce Attorney

When seeking a divorce attorney, there are a million questions running through your mind.  It’s wise to make a list of the topics you wish to address so that you can make the most of your time together.  Here are some questions you should be sure make that list: 1. ...

Child Support and Attribution of Income

I hear this statement a lot (more out of frustration than anything else):  “You can’t get blood from a stone. I will just quit my job and she won’t get any support!”   It sounds like the perfect move in theory.   Too bad that it is not true!  Child support and...

What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce?

A large concern during divorce consultation is the marital home. What will happen? Can I stay? Will I be forced out? Can I afford it? How will the Court decide to which party the home is awarded? The answers to these questions will often determine the outcome of other...

Can my husband force me to sell our marital home?

This question is dependent on many factors. The very general answer is that the home will be awarded to one party or sold to a third party.  To decide what will happen, the Court will look to the wishes of the parties (who wants to stay in the home?), the ability to...

Should Siblings Be Separated by Divorce

When a couple divorces, it is difficult on the entire family.  Often it can be most difficult for the children of the marriage.  Depending on the age of the children, someone has to decide where they will live.  Typically, couples split and the children stay together...

The Safe Driving Law in Massachusetts

There is a lot of press recently about texting while driving all over our country but particularly in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Many states have banned texting while driving. There are commercials on TV about texting while driving. There are signs on the...

How to Survive the Holidays During Divorce

The holidays are a time for family.  It's supposed to be a time to look back and reflect on those wonderful memories together.  When you are in the midst of a divorce, or you’ve recently completed the divorce process, it's not always easy to recall those happier...

Supervised Visitation: The Brad and Angelina Case

Brad and Angelina I’m sure you’ve seen recently that Brad and Angelina have made strides in settling their parenting agreement.  Angelina is maintaining primary custody of the children.  Brad will have “therapeutic visits” with the kids.   Basically, that amounts to...

The New Tax Bill & Alimony

It's a new year and we thought we would start it off with an article about something that's been all over the news for weeks - the new tax bill.  Some love it.  Some hate it.  Some have no idea that there is a new tax bill.  One thing is for sure: there will be...

Divorce and Social Media: Don’t

Whether you are simply contemplating the idea of divorce or in the middle of a full-on legal battle, your best bet with your social media accounts is to disconnect them.  Turn them off.  Shut them down.  Stop posting.  Make it impossible for people to post to your...

Estate Planning in Detail

Since estate planning is on my mind this week, I decided to feature a series of blogs that will give information about the many areas of estate planning in detail.  With these general guidelines and information, it is my hope to lessen the stigma of estate planning so...

Topics You Should Discuss With Your Divorce Lawyer

Hiring a divorce lawyer is the first important step in a long list of your divorce. Once you retain a lawyer it is vitally important that you communicate openly and honestly with her.  She is there to to advocate for you to get the best solution for your situation. We...

Substance Abuse and Parenting

A parent or other caregiver with an alcohol or drug addiction has a profound impact on their children.  Substance abuse and parenting are more common than most people realize.  Unfortunately, the parent does not always see that his or her behavior is harmful or won’t...

Myths of Divorce

If you are considering divorce or even in the middle of one, it's critical that you are receiving good advice.  Advice from family and friends may seem helpful but can lead you down the wrong path.  Tips from the bar around the corner are even worse and sometimes...

The Importance of an Appeal

Aaron Hernandez, famed football player who was convicted of murder and later, committed suicide has, once again, been in the news.  You may recall that before his death, his murder conviction was working its way through the stages of the Appeal's Court.  Aaron...

Can I lose my inheritance to child support?

Can I lose my inheritance to child support? The question you are asking can also be stated as:  Can the Court award child support based on the money I received in an inheritance? Child support is based on income. It is not based on gifts or inheritances.  For example,...

Five Tips for Attending Court

Often I am asked "what do I wear?" or "is there anything that I need to know about going to Court?" Below are tips for attending Court that I find rather useful. 1. Dress appropriately. It is not necessary to wear a suit or formal outfit to Court. Wear an outfit that...

Do I Need a Holiday Schedule?

Question: Do I need a holiday schedule in my parenting plan/divorce agreement? I see this question a lot in my practice, particularly where the parties seem to be working together and getting along well during the time that they are drafting an agreement.  We can work...

Divorce and Drama…oh the Drama!

We laugh about it when we see it on TV.  We shake our heads in disbelief when our friends tell us about it in their lives.  But suddenly, you find yourself in the midst of a divorce and right smack in the middle of a real life reality drama series just like those made...

How do you defeat a prenuptial agreement? (The Bobby Flay Story)

How do you defeat a prenuptial agreement? I’m sure that you’ve seen the latest celebrity news scandal about Bobby Flay and his wife, Stephanie March: Bobby allegedly cheated on her with various women and has now filed for divorce (just after being thrown out of the...

Parental Rights – Surrender vs. Termination in NH

Being a parent is one of the most wonderful gifts in the world.  As such, Courts are reluctant to come between a parent and a child.  However, there are times when the court will remove a parent's rights.  This is known as a termination of parental rights.  There are...

Changing Your Name After Divorce

Many things change when you get married.  One of those is often the changing of your last name.  If you changed your last name to your husband’s last name upon marriage, you now have a decision of whether to return to your maiden name or continue using your married...

Changing Attorneys Mid-Case

Changing Attorneys Mid-Case Often, folks just like you call me part way through a divorce, or even after a divorce is over, that say that are not satisfied with their attorney.  Most people feel that if they have hired someone, they “probably shouldn’t” switch...

Letting Go After Your Divorce

Divorce can be devastating even when both parties agree. Letting go after your divorce is difficult at best.  It's an emotional roller coaster, particularly when children are involved.  Sometimes, one party has been the "fixer" in the relationship; the one who has...

Estate Planning After Divorce

Estate Planning After Divorce After a divorce, the last thing that anyone wants to think about is seeing an attorney, legal matters, planning the future, that sort of thing. The sad truth is that this is probably the most important time to get your estate plan revised...

My husband filed for divorce and tells me I have to leave. Do I?

Question:  My husband filed for divorce. He had me served with the papers at my office. I did not know this was coming and he tells me I have to be the one to leave our home – with our children! He says this is his home. NH: Do not leave your home. You don’t have to...

Who Gets the Engagement Ring?

The contemplation of marriage, instituted by the engagement of the parties, traditionally brings with it an engagement ring given from one to another.  Some have sentimental value:  engagement rings are handed down and are often heirlooms.  An engagement ring may have...

CWOF – May I have another?

A while back I wrote an article telling you about a CWOF. What is it? How does it work? What does it entail? You can check that article out here: What is a CWOF.   Recently I have had a number of questions about the process of CWOF, including whether it can be done a...

What does Child Support Cover: Medical Bills

We are continuing the series about Child Support and the things it covers.  This article will focus on expenses incurred that are outside the actual child support payment but perhaps still required by the court as a form of supporting your child.  Our previous article...

Massachusetts: Parent Education Program Attendance

All parties to a divorce action in which there are minor children, are ordered to attend and participate in an approved Massachusetts Parent Education Program. This requirement applies to divorces brought under Ch. 208 §1 (fault divorces); and Ch. 208 §1A and §1B...

Divorce After 50

Picture This:  You married your high school sweetheart.  You settled down and had a couple of kids early in life whom are now out of school and have families of their own.  Through the early years of your marriage things were great, but as you both matured, and the...

Why Do I Need a Trust?

Welcome back to my series on estate planning. I hope that our articles have been helpful and informative. If anything else, I want to spark thought on this topic and help you begin deciding what you’d like to see happen when you are gone. Okay, let’s get to Trusts! I...

Should I Stay Married For the Sake of My Children?

I often see the question posed to me in the middle of a conversation with a potential client, current client or even an acquaintance who knows I practice family law:  should I stay married for the sake of my children?  Should I wait until they are older before we...

5 Appeals Cases To Follow and Why

Although there are a number of high profile wrongful conviction cases in the news, they are still a small percentage of all convictions. The news media would like to have us believe that all police investigations are tainted and that all detectives are on the take...

Can I get an Annulment, please?

What is an Annulment? In Massachusetts, an annulment is a statement by the Court that you were never legally married. Unlike divorce, which acknowledges that you were married and then terminates that marriage, annulment it is as if the marriage never happened. ...

Why Family Should Not Provide Your Legal Representation

It's a common situation.  A person is in need of legal representation for one reason or another, and because of restricted funds, reaches out to a family member who is also an attorney.  The family member, be it a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, parent or child, wants...

The Only Person that can Change a Court Order is the Court!

I come across this issue fairly often, many different contexts, and decided that it was a great issue to discuss here. It is very clear in all contexts. If you are subject to a Court’s Order, that Order remains effective until 1) that order expires or 2) the Court...

What is the Automatic Restraining Order?

When a Divorce is filed, an automatic restraining order on assets immediately applies. This prohibits you, and your spouse, from encumbering, selling or transferring certain marital assets during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. Notice of this automatic...

Appeal a Judgment

I recently came across this article "How to Appeal a Judgment without an Attorney."  Being fairly intrigued, I read the article looking for holes that I could use in writing this post.  However, I must admit, it was well written and it was thorough.  It began by...

Visitation Part 2: Pick up, Drop off and Last Minute Schedule Changes

It’s very rare that parties to a divorce, or parents who are no longer in a relationship, get along very well. After all, if you did, you’d likely still be together, right? It is more typically the case that parents do NOT get along. As a result, dealing with...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators – Part III

In our last two related posts, we wrote about ways you can take precautions to protect your child from sexual predators who are related to the child - either by blood or marriage or are acquaintances to you or your child.  In this third and final article of this three...

Can I sign away my rights to my child?

I am asked the question, "can I sign away my rights to my child" rather often, whether it be asked by the father or the mother of a child. Here’s an example of what I see in my practice: You were in a relationship where a child was conceived and you have been...

West Memphis 3 – Reopening of Original Murder Case

UPDATE April 2020: Oxygen Network aired its long awaited show about this case.  It featured Bob Ruff's Truth & Justice working with famed former FBI profiler Jim Clemente and others to re-start an investigation in a manner they believe it should have been done...

Expectations after Divorce

           In a relationship, we have certain expectations of our spouse, our partner and perhaps the other parent to our children. Often, the other party will try to do what you’d like. But what happens when the relationship is no longer? Is it realistic to have the...

I Want Her Out Now!

I want him/her out - now! When a married couple agrees to divorce, it signals the end of the union. However, it is easy to recognize that there are still many unanswered questions. I am often  asked this question by one of the parties: "We have already agreed the...

Pin It on Pinterest