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The Family Mediation Blog

Hiring a Mediator for Your Coronavirus Divorce

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Hiring a Mediator for Your Coronavirus Divorce

by Devlin Farmer

couple meeting with mediator.jpgRight now, more than ever, mediation can assist with family restructuring. The courts are backed up and families are under tremendous stress under one roof. The good news is that the entire process of a divorce or separation can now be done online (Zoom); and a mediator can help. A mediator can also be the best way to avoid the stress, damage and cost of a court battle. 
 
How do you choose a mediator? Is it safe to google “mediator” and pick one? When it comes to getting divorced, you don’t want to cut corners making decisions about your children’s custody, child support, your retirement accounts or who gets the marital home. Do it right. Find...

Their Legacy Moves us Forward

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Their Legacy Moves us Forward

by Jennifer Hawthorne

The legal community lost two brilliant minds last week with the passing of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, and the passing of Supreme Court of the United States Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In very different ways, both of these great leaders influenced my career path. They each helped to define for me the way in which I wanted to use my advocacy skills to promote more access to justice and a justice system that promotes greater equality in outcome. While my story may be unique, these two zealous advocates had a memorable impact on the career of many of my fellow mediators too. 

When applying to law school, I wrote of my desire to affect...

Remembering Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants with John Fiske

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
When asked about the passing of Chief Justice Gants, John Fiske, a Director Emeritus of MCFM said:
 
"I knew him well, first through soccer and then through my history of working four years for the SJC on trying to improve court administration 1974 to 1978, and also through his relationship with Massachusetts Justice of the Federal District Court Dennis Saylor, my son in law. Chief Justice Gants was a big supporter of mediation and its role in helping the courts in Massachusetts serve justice for all.  He helped to put in place the two amazing Chief Justices that we interact with more often in the area of family law and mediation: Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula Carey and Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court John Casey. They too are both strong supporters of mediation and will surely carry on his great legacy.  We are indebted to him as a community for the work that he has done...

Bearing Witness in Mediation

Friday, September 11, 2020

allgo-an-app-for-plus-size-people-meeting photo with text.jpgBearing Witness in Mediation 

by Laurie Israel 

Published in mediate.com, August, 2020

Recently I’ve been pondering a certain aspect of my experience with mediating divorces. It’s about something that often comes up in my encounters with my mediation clients.  

The feature of all mediations that I will talk about in this post is something I call “bearing witness.”  When clients bear witness in mediation, and when you, as the mediator bear witness for the clients, it can be quite powerful in resolving a divorce. But it needs to be handled properly, or it can be dangerous and get out of control.  If that...

eFiling Has Arrived for 1A Joint Petition Divorces in Massachusetts

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

woman using laptop in office.jpg

eFiling Has Arrived for 1A Joint Petition Divorces in Massachusetts

by Ellen Waldorf

The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court announced this week that its eFiling system can now be used to file 1A divorces. eFiling is currently available in all counties in the Probate & Family Court.  Pro se mediation clients as well as attorneys representing mediating clients can use the system. There is a $22 case fee plus processing fees for eChecks and credit cards used to pay the court filing fee. Indigent clients can seek to waive the fees. Documents need to be uploaded individually in PDF formats.  eFiling may be appropriate for some clients and not others.  For more information, see...

MCFM President's Message - 2020

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Transcript of Audio:

Hi, I'm Justin Kelsey. My firm is Skylark Law & Mediation. My pronouns are he and him, and I'm the newly elected president of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation and these are my brief thoughts on my hope for this organization.  This is my President's message

During my predecessor, Vicki Shemin's presidency, we updated our mission. Our mission is:

Advancing Mediation to transform the way families resolve conflict.

It's powerful! It's not just about mediating divorce even though that's a lot of what we all do. Looking to transform the way families resolve conflict requires us to look beyond just our private practices, beyond what we do in our offices and in our branding and in our mediation room. 

Transforming the way families resolve conflict...

Mediators Needed in this Time which Tries Our Souls

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Mediators Needed in this Time which Tries Our Souls

by David Kellem

I am calling upon all Professional Mediators to deploy as a powerful peacemaking force in our current national crisis.  We can do so individually and collectively; in our homes, our families, our workplaces, our social media circles, our communities, and anywhere people need to talk about, learn about, think about, and turn-about the social injustice that affects us overtly as well as in subtle, insidious ways. 
 
Why are mediators suited to this calling?
 
We are skilled in helping people reflect on their conflicts.  We are trained to bring forward the unmined interests which divide people on the surface.  We are...

Mediator as Moral Witness – A Case Study

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Mediator as Moral Witness – A Case Study

by David A. Hoffman

A few months ago, I gave a talk on the subject of "Mediator as Moral Witness" to a group of mediators, and received a call the next day. One of the mediators who attended the talk had used the approach I recommended, and it worked!! Here’s a description of the mediation (with identifying
information disguised to protect privacy and the confidentiality of the process).

In the Worcester District Court, a mediator met with Sheldon and Rick, two former friends,one now suing the other. They had been friends for at least thirty years – they played poker together each week, and lived in the same neighborhood until two years ago, when Rick moved to Los Angeles. “I was sick of the New England winters,”...

‘Marriage Story’: A Valentine to Lawyers

Tuesday, March 31, 2020
marriage story attorney and client on bench.jpeg
Actresses Laura Dern (left) and Scarlett Johansson
from the film 'Marriage Story

"Marriage Story": A Valentine to Lawyers 

by Vicki L. Shemin, J.D., LICSW, ACSW 

Coming full circle, writer-director Noah Baumbach scores again in plumbing matters of the heart. 

Baumbach’s 2010 film “Greenberg” gave us the foretelling relational pretext, subtext and context in the unforgettable line, “Hurt people hurt people.”

“The Squid and the Whale” in 2005 unfolded the story of his parents’ divorce through the children’s perspective.

Now, in “Marriage Story,” we are bearing witness to Baumbach’...

Remote Mediation: A Viable Alternative During the COVID-19 Crisis

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Plus Size Model on Laptop - Photo by AllGo - An App For Plus Size People on UnsplashRemote Mediation: a Viable Alternative During the COVID-19 Crisis

by Justin L. Kelsey, Vice President of MCFM

If you have a court hearing scheduled in the next few weeks, most likely you've been told it's postponed.  While some hearings will be scheduled telephonically and by video conference, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely causing significant delays in obtaining a hearing and an order or judgment.  This is understandable as the court and the bar figure out how to adjust to this crisis. (For updates on the Massachusetts court's...

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