June 24, 2017

Divorce & Divorce Mediation

Worcester County Divorce Attorneys and Mediators

Fitchburg, Massachusetts Family Law and Divorce Attorneys Protecting Your Interests with Experience, Compassion, and Discretion. Exploring Your Options Under Massachusetts Divorce Law.

Our Fitchburg divorce attorneys represent men and women throughout central Massachusetts, including Worcester and Middlesex counties in divorce litigation and divorce mediation matters.

We take the time to get to know our clients. Once we understand what’s most important to you, we can devise strategies and pursue a course of action. Perhaps decisions about your children are your chief concern:

  • Where will they live?
  • When will the children be with the mother or father?
  • Who makes the important decisions such as education and health care?

The list goes on.

Talk with a lawyer who keeps up with the changes in the law and who understands why those changes happen. That is what you get when you meet with our lawyers. If your kids are adults or you didn’t have any children together, the focus of your divorce may be on division of assets or spousal support.

Your Massachusetts divorce may take one of three paths:

Dissolution of Marriage – Massachusetts is a no-fault divorce state. That means that you do not need to prove that the other party is at fault to get a divorce. If the marriage is over, that is all that the law requires. Either party can file to legally end the marriage, and the usual grounds required are the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Generally, all issues of property division, children and support must be determined at the time the final judgment concludes the litigation. For special circumstances, a court may bifurcate the case and enter a partial final judgment and reserve judgment on the bifurcated issues for a later date.

Our divorce lawyers can help you work out an agreement through mediation, negotiation, or vigorously fight for your rights in court litigation.

  • Legal Separation (Support Without Dissolution)- Legal separation is not a term used in Massachusetts family law cases. Instead of filing suit for a legal separation, one files a complaint for separate support. In those cases, there is no division of property.¬† Since the parties are technically still married, the Court cannot divide property. ¬†Only custody and support issues are heard. These cases are rare. However, if the parties do not believe that the marriage is irretrievably broken, but they need an enforceable court to establish custody and direct support for a spouse and/or children, this is the course of action to consider.
  • Annulment – A legal annulment is a determination that the marriage was void or invalid when the marriage occurred. There are two kinds of void marriage, and the distinction between void and voidable marriages is important when deciding whether a spouse would be able to obtain an annulment. A marriage that is void cannot be made valid, but a marriage that is voidable may become valid. You should consult a divorce attorney to see if you qualify for either. Grounds for annulment include:
    • incestuous marriage;
    • bigamous marriage;
    • petitioner’s age at time of marriage;
    • prior existing marriage;
    • unsound mind; and,
    • fraud.

What is Divorce & Custody Mediation?

Mediation is a process that helps all parties communicate effectively as they clarify information, better understand each other’s perspectives, develop possible alternatives, explore consequences, and make decisions. The Mediator will not make decisions about right and wrong or determine how to resolve the conflict.

Couples get divorced for a reason. Once it is clear that this is to be their path, the focus should turn to the present and to tomorrow, rather than yesterday.

One of the strongest arguments in favor or mediation is that the final outcome remains in the hands of those who will live with that outcome, the parties themselves. Some judges believe that they have ruled best if both parties are unhappy. Mediation being based on a willingness to compromise affords the parties the opportunity to choose what is most important to that party so instead of both parties being unhappy, both are satisfied for having received the results most important to that party.

Perhaps the most important benefit of mediation is that the mediation is not war. The reduction in stress from mediating instead of litigating is the healthiest route for the litigants and their children. If the split is civil today, it will be easier to focus on themselves and support their kids. Parents can still enjoy being in the same room and can share their kids’ birthdays, graduations and weddings. Rather than live in the past – which each spouse is getting divorced to escape – focus on tomorrow, which is the reason you’re getting divorced….so tomorrow can be better.

Mediation is a confidential process, and the Mediator will not reveal anything discussed in mediation without permission from all parties.

Contact the Massachusetts Divorce and Divorce Mediation Attorneys at Riddle & Associates

Our attorneys understand that you may not want the other spouse or family members to know you have consulted an attorney. Your discussion is kept in strictest confidence. We take the time to listen to your needs and goals, and explain the process step-by-step. We explore alternatives to litigation such as mediation, but our dedicated divorce lawyers will aggressively protect your interests if your case goes to court. We have the knowledge to handle all related issues, including premarital agreements, paternity, and domestic violence.

Call the Fitchburg divorce attorneys and divorce mediation lawyers at Riddle & Associates at 978-342-2254.

Worcester County divorce attorneys and divorce mediation lawyers are located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts and serve the Central Massachusetts region including the areas of Lunenburg, Leominster, Fitchburg, Worcester, Gardner, Clinton, Bolton, Lancaster, Berlin, Acton, Concord, Greenfield, West Boylston, Marlborough, Northborough, Westborough, Groton, Shirley, Pepperell, Townsend, Ashby, Winchendon, Ashburnham, Templeton, Princeton, Ayer, Harvard, Worcester County, Middlesex County, Franklin County and surrounding communities in Massachusetts.