Stephen F. McDonough

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Collaborative Attorney, Mediator, & Parenting Coordinator


Attorney and Mediator Stephen McDonough is the founder of Next Phase Legal and works closely with clients facing divorce and other family conflict. He is a certified mediator through the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, a designation that only about 11% of mediators in Massachusetts hold, and a trained collaborative attorney. In addition to providing mediation services, Stephen appears in Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts on behalf of clients involved in court-based cases. He is also a conciliator and parenting coordinator.

Stephen is a volunteer conciliator through the Norfolk County Probate and Family Court, helping attorneys and their clients settle difficult cases that otherwise may be headed to a trial. 

Prior to becoming an attorney, Stephen served as a police officer for 13 years. He also served in the MA Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves, receiving an honorable discharge.

Stephen is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School in Boston and admitted to practice law in North Carolina and Massachusetts, although he only accepts Massachusetts cases and is on inactive status in NC. Stephen was a featured commentator on Fox news during a segment on domestic violence and has presented to several bar associations and other groups on a range of topics.

Community Involvement

  • Serves on the Board of Directors for the ALS Association of Massachusetts
  • Annual Sponsor & Participant in the Massachusetts Walk to Defeat ALS
  • Chair of the Town of Norfolk Advisory Committee (Norfolk's finance committee)
  • Member of the Norfolk, MA Lions Club (Past Chair of Community Day, Santa Parade, and volunteer for numerous other events)
  • Norfolk Lions Club Member & Annual Sponsor
  • Member, King Philip Music Association

Professional & Legal Associations

  • Bar Association of Norfolk County
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council
  • Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation
  • Association For Conflict Resolution
  • International Association of Collaborative Professionals

Hobbies & Interests

Steve is an experienced drummer and percussionist and has been performing since 5th grade.   He also enjoys paddling his canoe or kayak, so you may run into him on the Charles or another local waterway.

Phone: (508) 359-4043
Email: [email protected]

Recent Blog Posts


  • I am So Lucky!

    I feel so lucky to have found Stephen for divorce mediation services. He was unbelievably professional but also kind and sensitive during such a difficult period in anyone's life. I can not recommend him highly enough and would not hesitate to use his services again in the future if ever necessa...
  • Great people with compassion

    You would be hard pressed to find better advisors than Steve and his associate Sara. Divorce is an emotional and chaotic process and yet it really matters to have someone who can guide you through it with intelligence, support and fairness. I am so grateful that I worked with them, even though i...
  • Perfect Fit

    Best part of my divorce!  I found Steve by just looking online for alternatives to divorce litigation. My initial meeting with Steve was very informative and put me at ease. My ex is a tough person to please-hence the divorce, but Steve was able to make him feel comfortable, which is a tall task....
  • Very Good Fit

    Steve was very professional and thorough and was able to help us reach a mutual agreement, he was a very good fit for my ex-husband and for me too and I would highly recommend him.
  • Right to the Point

    Steve gets right to the point. He kept me focused on what was important in my case. My ex was very volatile and uncooperative. Steve handled every situation that came up in a professional manner.
  • Exceptional Knowledge

    Divorce is an unfortunate and difficult process. I have heard horror stories of huge expense and bitter conflicts. Steve was immensely helpful on the process, on what to expect and how to manage productively through the process. His guidance helped us build a very good agreement, even applauded b...
  • Very Happy!

    Very happy with Steve and Next Phase Legal LLC. We had a will drawn up and my wife and I were very pleased with the work, the timeliness, and the price. We would recommend!
  • The Best Representation I Could Get

    From the moment I spoke to Steve I felt confident that I was getting the best representation I could. He immediately made me understand what was going on and what he was going to do on my behalf. He understood that we were dealing with not only a financial issue but an emotional one as well becau...
  • Very Open, Trusting Environment

    Steve McDonough and Next Phase Legal were a tremendous help as I went through the process of divorce. In choosing to do Mediation, there needs to be a high degree of trust that your attorney will provide honest and fair advice to both parties. Steve created a very open, trusting environment. My ...
  • Would Recommend to Anyone

    The obvious emotional stress of going through a divorce is certainly enough for anyone to cope with. Working with Stephen made this difficult time a little easier with his knowledge and communication during our mediation process. He was able to help us reach a mutually beneficial agreement, and I...
  • So Thankful

    Anyone looking for a divorce lawyer is probably not in a situation that they ever hoped to find themselves.. the process is not easy and is definitely uncomfortable. That being said having a good legal representation is critical. Being able to talk to someone you trust and you know has your best ...
  • Highly Recommend

    I highly recommend Steve for mediation services. Steve did a great job guiding us through the mediation process and keeping both parties focused on the important issues
  • Made me feel at ease and comfortable

    I went into our first meeting not knowing what to expect and right away Steve made me feel at ease and comfortable. He did an excellent job of explaining the entire process and brought up many things that I had not yet thought about. I left our first meeting feeling that we (my ex-wife and I) mad...
  • As Painless as Possible

    A divorce is never pretty or fun but attorney Stephen McDonough helped make the process less confusing and as painless as possible. I worked with Steve as my attorney while involved in divorce mediation in Worcester County. Steve was extremely helpful by answering all of my questions and coaching...
  • Very easy to talk to

    Going to a lawyer for anything is not easy. There is apprehension about what is to come and the fear of the unknown. Steve's approach calmed things down, he was very easy to talk to, and by the end of our first meeting we had all the information in a logical order, we had a game plan to get us t...
  • Very easy to work with

    Stephen McDonough is very knowledgeable in the collaborative divorce process. My divorce moved along swiftly with his guidance. Entering into a divorce can be overwhelming but I was fortunate enough to find Stephen McDonough through the internet. He was easy to work with and has a great sense of ...
  • Very Knowledgeable

    Going through a divorce isn't easy but Stephen helped ease the stress through mediating the process. He explained the process, advised on what to expect, and helped make it less stressful. Stephen is very knowledgeable and knows what to anticipate in divorce court. This helped us to reach a fair ...
  • Very Good Experience

    I had a very good experience with Stephen McDonough. He was personable and put me at ease right away. He seemed very experienced and knowledgeable and was able to answer most, if not all of my questions. He was very patient with my husband and me, as we hit quite a few bumps along the way. Cost w...
  • Great Mediator!

    Great mediator! Steve was the third attorney/mediator we met with when searching for assistance with our divorce. He was very professional, fair, and thorough. His sense of humor and levity helped put us at ease. When we went to court, the judge commented that our divorce agreement was a very wel...
  • I Highly Recommend Stephen McDonough

    I highly recommend Stephen McDonough. I worked with Stephen McDonough for my divorce mediation and was completely satisfied. He clearly explained the process from start to finish, but kept it from feeling overwhelming by focusing on one step at a time. He was always professional, but at the same ...
  • Very Responsive

    Steve made a difficult, emotional process easier to get through. Steve or someone from his staff would respond to my requests in a timely manner. Although he had warned me that this process can take a long time, he was able to work quickly to settle my case with my best interests in mind. He has ...
  • Amazing Team!

    Excellent , professional, courteous, knowledgeable, caring team of people. So thankful for everyone from the admins, to every member of the team.

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