Family Mediation in Massachusetts

Some people mistakenly believe that divorce mediators and divorce attorneys actually want people to get divorced.  At least at Next Phase Legal, that is certainly not the case.

Marriage is hard work.  Although your marriage may have reached the point where it cannot be saved, if there is a chance to improve things with your spouse, then it is something to consider.

It is unfortunate when marriages are in trouble and divorce seems inevitable.  Lots of stress and arguing has a lasting negative impact on both adults and children.  Although “staying together for the children” is something we hear frequently, if tensions are high at home it is not really better for the children to be in that type of atmosphere.

Over our years of practicing in the domestic relations area, we’ve yet to encounter anyone that didn’t spend considerable time thinking about whether divorce was the best choice.  It may sound strange to think of transitioning out of your marriage as the best move, but it is the smartest option for many people once a marriage deteriorates to the point where saving it is just not possible or preferred.

But what if you DO want to save your marriage?

Maybe you and your spouse need to work on communications and put an actionable plan into place? We’re happiest when people don’t get divorced.   We’ve had it occur a number of times – a couple comes to family mediation and learns better to communicate and problem-solve more effectively in the right environment.  They make progress on issues that have been bothering them, and decide to hold off on getting divorced and continue to work on the relationship.   Are the odds good the couple will make it?

It really depends on how long the couple waited before seeking help according to most studies.  The couple is still likely at a high risk of divorce, but some do stay together.   The point is, if things are not going well with your marriage, don’t wait too long before seeking help if you really want to stay married and be happier.

Counseling & Therapy

Marriage counseling may help you and your spouse, or it might become clear that it is time to move on.  Either way, it is still good information.   Interview different mental health professionals (MHPs).  Try to find someone you are comfortable with.  If it will be couples therapy, then it is important that both people feel good about the choice of therapist.

It is not uncommon for one or even both spouses to have underlying mental health conditions that cause strain in the marriage.   For example, depression and anxiety are common, and should be treated so then the relationship itself can hopefully be improved.    Counseling is a considerable time commitment.

Marital Mediation in Massachusetts

Family mediation to stay married is a contemporary application of the mediation process.  As the name suggests, the purpose is to work on specific elements of the relationship that have caused conflict and strained the relationship. Unlike long-term counseling, mediation to stay married attempts to provide solutions that couples can implement right away, and then set these items in writing either informally, or as a more formal marital agreement.

For example, if you and your spouse have trouble reconciling your financial habits, working with a family law mediator can facilitate understanding between the couple and an agreement on financial aspects of the relationship, such as following a certain budget or contributing to household expenses in a certain way.  Divorce mediators see the end result of certain behaviors over and over again, so our familiarity with marriage and conflict can be beneficial to others wanting to make a change.