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The Family Mediation Blog

President's Message: 2020: A Vision for the Future of MCFM
Monday, May 21, 2018

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE:
2020: A VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF MCFM

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

As the 24th President of MCFM, it is a formidable task to pen a President’s message. In thinking about all that I would like to convey, I was struck by the fact that my presidency will span the years 2018-2020. 
2020.

The irony of 2020 did not escape me. The familiar maxim that “hindsight is 20-20” is commonly understood to mean that we don’t always see clearly in the moment and that we only gain a perfect view of events after they have transpired - - that is, we are better able to evaluate past choices in retrospect rather than at the time of the occurrence.

The Generous Prenup: How to Support Your Marriage and Avoid the Pitfalls
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

“The Generous Prenup: How to Support Your Marriage and Avoid the Pitfalls”
by Laurie Israel

As some of you may know, I spent a good part of the past 3 years writing a book about prenups. Our mediation (and law) practices sometimes take interesting turns. I started out as a tax lawyer, and then morphed into a general practice lawyer, concentrating on family law and estate planning. I’ve been practicing for a little over 30 years.

The Amygdala Diaries
Monday, April 2, 2018

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The Amygdala Diaries

by David Kellem

Mediators are challenged to guide clients through a lot of obstacles along the way to settlement.  One physically small but stealthy and strong obstacle is the human amygdala. Amygdalae are almond-shaped organs in the left and right hemispheres of our brains that can subconsciously derail rational negotiation.

Revoking the Irrevocable Trust in a Divorce - Or - Never Say Can't, Say Decant! - Part II*
Monday, March 19, 2018

Revoking the Irrevocable Trust in a Divorce - Or - Never Say Can't, Say Decant! - Part II*

by Jonathan E. Fields

Even with Pfannenstiehl behind us, the complex interplay of the irrevocable trust and divorce continues to vex practitioners.  The topic du jour is decanting and divorce -- and the SJC just dove right in with Ferri v. Powell Ferri, 476 Mass. 651 (2017).

How does a Mediator become Certified?
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

In Massachusetts, as in most states, there is no certification or license provided by the Commonwealth certifying mediators. 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 communications. However, the trainings are not monitored by the Commonwealth and a trained mediator is not the same as a certified mediator.

Branding your Mediation Practice
Friday, February 16, 2018

Just like any other profession, being trained as a mediator doesn't lead directly to having mediation cases.  Finding mediation clients, getting experience, and building a knowledge base requires both new and experienced mediators to do things that aren't taught in the mediation training.  To be an active mediator and build a practice, mediators must also learn how to run their business and how to market themselves.  The simplest and first thing you can do is start telling people that you are a trained mediator.  

Listen In
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Listen In

by Les Wallerstein

Mediators rarely accompany their clients to court during their divorce hearings. Most clients don’t share their court experience with their mediators. Even when clients do report what happened in court, their recollections are always subjective, and often imprecise. Now there is an alternative. 

Recommended Books for Family Mediators
Friday, December 8, 2017

A recent e-mail thread between mediators on the MCFM Board discussed the importance of sharing our favorite mediation-related books with our fellow family mediators. To that end, we are inviting you to comment on this post with a recommendation of your favorite book related to mediation or conflict resolution.  John Fiske  graciously agreed to start us off with a poem and three recommendations:

The Goose, the Gander and the Alimony Reform Act
Monday, November 20, 2017

The Goose, the Gander and the Alimony Reform Act

By William M. Levine and Hon. E. Chouteau Levine (Ret.)

[Note:  to avoid a gender pretzel and to avoid offending anyone, the hypothetical clients in this piece are styled as a married couple of either or both male or female gender.] 

Dispute Resolution Options Made Simple - Video
Monday, March 6, 2017

It is important that families in a dispute understand all their options and the benefits of an option like mediation. Working with the Norfolk Probate & Family Court, MCFM developed the following videos to help describe the benefits of resolving disputes through mediation and other forms of dispute resolution:

The following video describes all the options for avoiding court in probate & family disputes and their pros and cons:

For more information on available programs and approved providers click here: A Guide to Court-Connected Alternative Dispute Resolution Services - Note that MCFM is an approved mediation provider in all counties in Massachusetts. 

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