Attorney Brenda Melkonian Vaughan
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DIVORCE MEDIATION?
COST-EFFECTIVE: A mediated divorce costs much less than an adversarial divorce and the results are much more satisfying because the parties are making their own decisions!
EFFICIENT AND LESS STRESSFUL: Not only does mediation save you money, but it also saves you time and is much less stressful than participating in emotionally draining litigation. Rather than preparing and worrying about the uncertainty of every court appearance, each party through the mediation process, will be spending their time actually resolving their issues together efficiently and peacefully.
EACH PARTY DECIDES THE OUTCOME: In reality, it is difficult for the court system to know every aspect of you, your family, and your circumstances in the snapshots in time that it sees you. Despite this, decisions must be made in the divorce litigation process which will affect your present and future and that of your family. Many times, these decisions are less than heartening not only to one, but both parties because they did not participate in the decision. With mediation, each party decides the outcome of his/her case and therefore there are no unwelcome surprises. And, because the parties resolved their problems together, independent of court intervention, they are more likely to comply with the terms of their settlement.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF DIVORCE MEDIATION?
The first half hour confidential consultation with me is complimentary. Thereafter, my hourly fee for divorce mediation is $200 and this includes, but is not limited to mediation sessions, document review and preparation and telephone conferences. In addition, there is a fee of $215.00 which must be paid to file the Joint Petition of Divorce and if there are children, each party must also complete a court approved parenting class prior to requesting the court hearing. Clients deposit a retainer of $2,000. Many times the parties share the cost of mediation.
WHAT ISSUES ARE RESOLVED WITH DIVORCE MEDIATION?
Throughout the mediation process, the parties, with my assistance will resolve all issues pertaining to their divorce including but not limited to:
HOW SHOULD I CHOOSE A MASSACHUSETTS DIVORCE MEDIATOR AND WHO WILL DRAFT MY SEPARATION AGREEMENT?
In their quest for a Massachusetts divorce mediator, the parties should search for an individual who is both neutral and possesses the ability to listen to your needs and goals...this is the reason you are going to a mediator to begin with! After you and your spouse furnish the other with information pertaining to his/her income, assets and liabilities, a trained and experienced divorce mediator will help you and your spouse reach a fair and reasonable agreement which incorporates terms decided upon by both of you. Of course, when there are children involved, the mediator will also help the parties resolve all issues relating to them including but not limited to child support, custody, parenting time schedules, educational expenses and health insurance.
Interestingly, Massachusetts divorce mediators are not required to be attorneys. Furthermore, a divorce mediator does not represent either party and therefore does not advise either party to a divorce. Notwithstanding, a competent Massachusetts divorce mediator must have an understanding of the pertinent laws such as the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines and the Massachusetts Alimony Statute, M.G.L. ch. 208, sec. 34 in order to assist the parties in reaching an informed, fair and reasonable divorce agreement. Some non-attorney divorce mediators do not draft your final agreement but instead draft what is termed a "Memorandum of Understanding". After this Memorandum is drafted, either party has to retain an attorney to draft their final divorce agreement.
I am an attorney who practiced divorce and family law for several years in Massachusetts. Therefore, after all issues are settled, I will draft your final divorce agreement known as the "Separation Agreement". I will also provide you with the documents needed to be completed and filed by you with the Agreement in conjunction with the divorce hearing request. The hearing is necessary so that your Agreement can be incorporated into a Judgment of Divorce. I have established this "one stop shopping" process in my practice so that your divorce can be as seamless, efficient and cost-effective as possible. Of course, I encourage each party to retain an attorney to represent him/her throughout the process, or to review the final divorce agreement, however, this is not required.
WILL YOU COME WITH US TO COURT?
In my capacity of a mediator, I do not represent either party and therefore I do not accompany you to court. Again, either party can retain an attorney to represent him/her at anytime throughout the process.