A View from the Other Side

I recently found myself as a patient in an unknown hospital in a strange city.  The experience was disconcerting, to say the least.  Fortunately, my stay was short and all is now well.  But interestingly, the incident enhanced my perspective towards Collaborative Practice and Mediation. Let me share why.

Like many unexpected hospital stays, mine started in the Emergency Room.  There I answered questions about what I was experiencing for the nurse, the resident, the neurology resident, and at least one other person.  Based upon my answers, they made a decision to admit me, but started treatment right there in the ER. Read More >>

What is Collaborative Practice?

Collaborative Practice (CP) has been defined as “a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties settle without resort to litigation.” It allows the parties to control the outcome, as opposed to putting it in the hands of a judge or other third party (such as an arbiter).

The goals of those heading into Collaborative Practice should be to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution and to create solutions that factor in the highest priorities of each party, all while maintaining open communication. Read More >>

Consider the Cost

Understanding Financial Implications of Today’s Divorce Options

Divorcing couples in today’s complicated modern world can face vastly different scenarios. Financial situations vary widely from case to case, as do reasons for the divorce and degree of cooperation between parties. Because of this reality, there is no one “right” way to recommend you approach divorce proceedings. Rather, it is best to consult an attorney to find out what your options are so you can decide what would be wisest in your particular case. Read More >>

Using Mediation or Collaborative Practice to Negotiate Child Support That Works for You

Once child support reaches the court, it becomes another instance of rolling the dice as far as the outcome is concerned. If parents want to retain more control of the process and have a say in the final outcome, they are well advised to look for alternate means.

While each state has set certain guidelines that must be applied when determining child support amounts, there is some flexibility (within certain limits) if the child support figure is determined through a negotiation process such as mediation or Collaborative Practice, as opposed to through a court order.

Here are two points to consider:

How Child Support Works in Massachusetts

While each of the 50 states is under a federal mandate to enforce specific child support guidelines, these guidelines can vary widely from state to state. They are reviewed every three years, to be updated if it is deemed prudent or necessary (though changes do not always result). Our guidelines here in Massachusetts were recently reviewed, and updated as of August 1, 2013.

Massachusetts child support guidelines are currently based on several key factors:

  • Gross income of both parties
  • Child care costs
  • Health care costs (including dental and vision) for both the child and the parents
  • Other potentially applicable situations, such as whether one party is already paying child support to children from a previous relationship