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.

Who wants a Life Estate?

I am sure that you’ve all heard the recent news that Hugh Hefner put the Playboy Mansion up for sale.  For a mere $200 mill, you can purchase the mansion and call it your own – with one catch!  Hugh will live out the remainder of his life at the mansion before you can...

2021 Update! Still Missing – Maura Murray

March 2021 Update: For those of you following this case, you are probably aware of Tim & Lance's podcast, Missing Maura.  For years, the podcast was its own entity.  Over the years, they began highlighting other cases as well.  To learn about Maura's case, there...

Social Media and Legal Action

The biggest piece of advice that I can give to a client is to refrain from social media when you are involved in litigation.  Be it a criminal case, a divorce, a restraining order – no matter what type of case, the best bet is always to stay silent.  Clients are often...

Paying Child Support Without a Court Order

Paying child support without a court order Paying child support without a court order is a question that comes up very often in my practice.  This can apply anytime there is a child between two people, whether the couple is married, or unmarried.  Here is a common...

Why do I need a Will?

Why do I need a Will? Welcome back to my series on estate planning. In case you are just joining me, I want to let you know that we are mid-series in a string of articles about estate planning. Page back to Why do I need an Estate  and see what you’ve missed and stick...

What Type of Attorney Should I Hire?

This article is part of a series about why it's important to hire an attorney and the reasons behind hiring an attorney.  The purpose of this series is to help you determine the types of situations where a lawyer is most needed and to know when to reach out for...

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...

Cheating Spouse: How Do You Know?

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been all over the news lately about their divorce.  There have been numerous reasons cited for the divorce.  Everything from drug abuse to physical abuse to affairs.   Both have been married AND divorced more than once.  In this and...

New Hampshire: Child Impact Seminar – Updated Link

In New Hampshire, all parties to a divorce, or any case that surrounds parental rights, activities and/or responsibilities, must attend the Child Impact Program. This program is an educational program.  It is four hours long and discusses methods to help your child...

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...

What Constitutes Parental Abduction?

It's a sickening thought, wondering if your child may be abducted by your ex-spouse and taken without your consent, outside of the court's order, maybe even across state lines. Parental abduction is a form of kidnapping in many states.  But what are your legal rights...

Massachusetts OUI Laws

People often ask me what can happen in the event they (or a family member or friend) are pulled over and suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.  Here is some information from the Massachusetts website to help explain the Massachusetts OUI...

New Hampshire Law: Alimony

       Alimony is always hot topic in matters of divorce. Not everyone understands on what basis it is determined and if awarded, how the amount and length of the award is determined.        In New Hampshire, the mystery...

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...

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...

How do keep my divorce moving forward?

     This is a common question in my field and it’s one of the most difficult to answer, unfortunately. Divorces can take many paths. The outcome of each case is truly dependant on the parties. So, how can you keep your divorce moving forward...

Supreme Judicial Court Announces Interim Procedure for Attorney and Self-Represented Party Participation in Juror Voir Dire

Supreme Judicial Court Announces Interim Procedure for Attorney and Self-Represented Party Participation in Juror Voir Dire BOSTON, MA – The Supreme Judicial Court today announced an interim procedure to implement a new statute, St. 2014, Chapter 254, Section 2, which...

My ex won’t pay child support. Can I refuse to let him see the kids?

My  ex won’t pay child support. Can I refuse to let him see our daughter? Absolutely not! If you do it, you are in contempt. Child support and parenting time are two separate issues. If there is an order for support and an order for parenting time, each of the parties...

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...

My best divorce advice: Don’t listen to your family & friends!

Sounds silly, right? It’s the best divorce advice that any attorney can give is don't listen to your family & friends. Your family and friends always want what’s best for you. They are there to love and support you. You look to them for help and guidance. When you...

Custody: Can My Child Decide?

Very often I am asked “when can my child decide choose where he lives?” or “at what age will the Court listen to my children’s input?” The short answer to this question is that there is no “magic age” to answer "can my child decided" which the court will let the child...

Should I contact an Attorney about Divorce?

If you’re having trouble in your marriage, you feel overwhelmed.  You feel like it's going to get better, yet it never does.  Your friends and family may be unaware of the true depth of your situation.  Often this is when you may think: "should I contact an attorney...

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...

Kid’s Corner: The “Don’ts”

I’m not a therapist by any means, but I do have children of my own and I do help my clients deal with their children’s issues in the course of my representation during divorce or other family law cases. There are two important lists for kids. First is the “do’s” and...

Divorce: Moving on When Others Won’t

Divorce is rough.  It's an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved.  Just getting to the point where a couple decides that divorce is the only solution left is often devastating.  After the dust settles, and the divorce is completely finalized, both parties are...

Can You Get a Divorce Reversed?

Sometimes one or more parties to a divorce will be unhappy with the results of the divorce order and may wish to have the result reconsidered.  For whatever reason the question becomes "can you get a divorce reversed?".  This process of having the order reconsidered...

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...

Parental Alienation – Things to Watch

Over the recent month I have written about parental alienation in a couple of articles.  It is one of those painful situations for both the parents and the children and it's something that does not have to happen at all.  Often the process begins slowly and builds...

Paternity: How can I establish paternity of my child?

If you are wondering how to establish paternity of your child, chances are, you have read up on some of the variety of ways and may have become confused on the right path to take.  There are a number of valid ways you can go about this and there are good reasons on...

Filing a Protective Order

Filing a protective order (209A) can be a scary time.  Maybe you aren't sure where you will go.  Maybe you have children to consider.  Perhaps your family is not as supportive or available as you need.  There are places and ways to get help so that you are not alone. ...

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...

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...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators Over the past few years, we have seen horrible stories pertaining to children who were abused by either those they trusted or others, whom they felt they could trust.  In recent months, the singer R. Kelly has once again...

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...

Parenting Your Special Needs Child

Penny and Zach had a stormy relationship from day one.  They argued over food, traveling and holidays.  After they were married, they could not agree on anything except their child's name.    When Baby Levi was 3 and still behind developmentally, Penny sought out...

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...

Custody Case Takes a Turn – The Brad Pitt Saga

If you’re not living under a rock, and if you are a loyal reader here on my site, I am sure you’ve heard about the custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Some months ago, Angelina claimed that Brad abused their child and sought full custody of all six...

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...

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...

What is a CWOF? Continuance Without a Finding

People often ask me "What is a CWOF?" in Massachusetts?  It's a funny term but it's really just an acronym.  A CWOF is a “continuance without a finding.” This is a disposition that is meant for a first time offender, one that has not had a criminal matter in a long...

How to Complete a Financial Statement

One of the biggest concerns in family court is the creation of a financial statement (or in New Hampshire, a financial affidavit). I see clients stress day after day about the information to include, the necessary documents and the mandated disclosure. Here are some...

I missed my (criminal) court date! What do I do?

You’re going about your day and suddenly realize that you were supposed to be in court. Last week. You thought it was next week, but it was actually last week. Oh no! What do I do!? First, understand that you are in default and a warrant has likely been issued for...

What Does Child Support Cover? Part I

Paying child support is a double-edged sword.  Parents are court ordered to pay but have little, or no, say-so on how it is spent day to day.  There are some court mandated requirements governing child support and because I receive many inquires about it, this is part...

When Children Take on Parenting: After Effects of Divorce

The son of recently divorced parents finds Mom crying in the kitchen.  "What's wrong, Mom?" he asks.  "Your Dad doesn't love me.  He has a  new girlfriend. How could he do that to us?"  The boy is angered and hurt.  He hugs his mother as she cries.  He consoles her in...

New Hampshire: The First Appearance

    You’ve filed for divorce and you’ve received a notice that you must attend something called a First Appearance. So, what is this?     If you are a party to a divorce action, and you have children of the marriage that are...

Should my Ex’s New Girlfriend/Boyfriend visit with my child?

You’ve separated from your partner and he now has a new girlfriend. He sees nothing wrong with that girlfriend being present during visitation with your kids. You think that she should not be there. You are not alone. This is a very common issue in the world of...

Annulment: Legal vs Religious

Annulment:  Legal versus Religious – an important distinction In the past  I wrote an article about annulment in each state:  Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  As I wrapped up the last article, I realized that I should discuss just one more point about annulment that...

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...

Getting a Divorce Without Notifying the Spouse

The heading reads: "Man Got Divorced Without Ever Telling His Wife, Police Say".  (https://www.wmur.com/article/man-got-divorced-without-ever-telling-his-wife-police-say/29101534).  That title holds a lot of information.  Just reading the first part of the title,...

Just When We Thought He Was Beyond Reach

By now you may have heard that Bill Cosby was recently criminally charged by one of the women who claims that she was drugged and touched by him in the past.  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged Bill Cosby today with aggravated indecent assault, sneaking the...

Pin It on Pinterest