Divorce Mediation: A couple decided to divorce after many years of marriage. They did not have children but did have a home on Cape Cod among other assets. Their goal was to separate as amicably and quickly as possible and to divide all assets evenly. They anticipated selling the house as part of the division of assets but overall did not have any type of plan. Upon signing a mediation agreement with Attorney Phinney (pay as you go based on need vs. up front retainer), she worked with the couple to outline a clear plan on distributing all assets. Documents included their mortgage information, fair market value of the home, statements of retirement accounts (i.e. 401K, IRA’s) and whether there were any loans against the retirement accounts. Two working sessions were scheduled to get all concepts in order, draft the divorce agreement and all other appropriate documents to file in the court. Attorney Phinney actually filed it for them, even though she was not the attorney of record, by filing the documents with .resulted in an expedited hearing date.
Outcome: Even though Attorney Phinney was acting as mediator and not the attorney of record, the clerk at the Barnstable Courthouse informed her she could file the divorce documents and pay the fee on behalf of the couple in order to expedite the divorce hearing date. She drafted this motion which resulted in a Barnstable court date in just over one (1) week. They discovered one spouse could buy out the other’s equity in the house meaning they did not have to sell it as part of the divorce process. This saved the couple thousands of dollars, time and resulted in minimal stress.
Special Note: The last phase after the court hearing is making sure all follow-up steps and documentations are handled (i.e. life insurance, health insurance, title to real estate etc). An attorney or mediator can be very helpful in outlining what documents and steps are critical parts of the conclusion.