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Is it ever better to skip mediation in a Massachusetts divorce?

For Massachusetts couples who have decided to end their marriages, mediation is a growing trend for a more amicable split. However, some couples are simply not viable candidates for mediation. In fact, some are not even interested in attempting the process. Luckily, it's possible to tell whether mediation may be a good option or whether skipping the attempt and opting for a litigated divorce is the better choice.

First and foremost, if the relationship was abusive or if there was violence in the marriage, mediation is almost certainly not recommended. To a similar but lesser degree, if one party is not able to advocate for him or herself and stand up for entitlements, it may be preferable to head to court alongside an experienced family law lawyer to ensure property and asset division is handled fairly. Situations involving infidelity or even just intense feelings of hurt and anger may make mediation difficult; if one party feels that he or she is the victim, it may be difficult to work together to reach a settlement.

Mediation generally relies upon both parties working together for the good of everyone involved. When one partner truly does not wish their soon-to-be-ex spouse well or if one spouse cannot see things from the other spouse's point of view, the process will not likely go well. Successful mediation typically involves acceptance and understanding that the other party may have a different point of view from one's own.

In the end, both spouses have to want mediation to work. If there's a lot of conflict even on just one side of the equation to the point where that spouse is not willing to try, it may make sense to simply head to court. Whether mediation or litigation is the preferred approach, a Massachusetts family law attorney can offer counsel and ongoing support throughout the divorce proceedings. 

Source:, "8 Signs You Should Skip Mediation and Head Straight for the Divorce Lawyer", Leigh Anderson, Aug. 11, 2017

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