By Tracy Fischer
A divorcing couple can work with a neutral mediator and take control of the process in a more timely manner than going through the court system.
I recently attended the Massachusetts Council of Family Mediation’s Annual conference and was able to hear news from the Probate Court by Keynote Speaker Paula Carey, Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court. Her comments about the Probate Court system, while very positive in general, highlighted areas of major cutbacks due to budget constraints. Of major importance is that over the next year the court will lose 10 Probate Court Judges. There is no guarantee that these positions will be replaced or when. Over the past 5 years, the number of law clerks used by the Judges of the Probate and Family Court has gone from 24 to 4.5 currently. Lawyers and litigants will have to wait even longer for Judges to render decisions or even to have hearings scheduled. With the numerous potential modifications that will be filed under the new Alimony Reform Act of 2011, the case- load is only continuing to grow. It is clear that there is a significant benefit to couples and families who have the opportunity to privately and amicably decide parenting arrangements for their children and how to divide their property. With the help of a neutral mediator, a couple can take control of the process and retain the ability to move forward in their lives in a much more timely manner than would be available through the court system. ~ Attorney Mediator Tracy Fischer