Useful Documents & Services
For mediation to work, couples must be ready to proceed. Even if one wants to divorce and the other does not, both people come to the office voluntarily to explore and discuss how they are going to proceed. Each client needs to know what he or she wants. "What do I want?" is the most important question of all, and often the most difficult.
I require TOTAL financial disclosure as an integral part of the informed decision making required by good mediation, because informed decision-making is a key element of mediation. See the link to
Once you know what you want, the following three documents offer great guidance to couples creating their own agreements.The fourth document, A Marital Negotiation Process, could help you in any negotiation with your spouse about anything.
The first document lists subjects to be covered in a temporary agreement to separate physically without deciding at that time whether to stay married or not:
The second document lists every subject to be covered in a divorce agreement. It is the single most useful piece of paper in a divorce:
The third document helps couples who want to use mediation to write a post-marital agreement changing the terms of their marriage:
The Marital Negotiaton Process defines four steps to help you listen to what you each want and then agree on a solution. This basic process works very well as long as you know what you want:
In many disputes I help people identify the issues they need to resolve in order to move forward. This focus on the future converts potentially adversarial energy to a cooperative planning process. For example, once children issues are resolved, I tell divorcing clients the rest of their agreement is financial planning.
I remind you to stay in charge of what you do. I help you listen to yourself, to tell your spouse or sibling or other family member what is most important to you and to listen to his or her response. I guide the conversation so that neither of you speaks for the other, since neither client can control the other. When I first met a couple I asked them if they wanted coffee. He said, "No we don't." She said, "Yes I do." After about 7 hours of mediation over several weeks they quit. Eventually a judge ordered them to do something similar to what they had discussed in my office.
I draft agreements for clients and encourage them not to agree to anything in my office, always going home to think about it and to consult with their own lawyer or other advisor, if any. When the parties are ready they sign their Separation Agreement and then ask,
How Do We File For a Divorce?
To answer this question and obtain the papers necessary for filing, see
The papers you need are available right here. You need to have up to date Acrobat Reader to access them. NOTE you can fill out the forms on line and then print them with your date but you CANNOT save a form with your data. You must file your financial statement on pink paper; see below.
Financial Statement - Short Form (use pink paper; annual income is below $75,000)
For help with filling out your SHORT form Financial Statement, see
For help with filling out your LONG form Financial Statement, see
For information on Parent Education Programs, go to the Mass. Probate Court website and click "Self Help" where you will find a list of these programs throughout the state.
(If the agreement will not be filed in court, such as an Agreement to Separate Temporarily or a Post-Marital Agreement, the mediation usually ends when the parties sign their agreement in duplicate and each spouse keeps one original.)
The Mediation Homework includes (a) 6 pages for organizing and disclosing information about you, your assets and liabilities (b) page 7 definition of income, (c) page 8-11 a monthly spending plan (budget) and (d) pages 11-12 Healy, Fiske, Richmond and Matthew's general description of Massachusetts divorce law and how the law affects your mediation process.
This site managed with Dynamic Website Technology
Products and Services