Attorney Ryder and Attorney Phelps are MCLE rule 8 certified mediators. As opposed to the traditional divorce involving two parties represented by their respective attorneys, mediation is about resolving disputes via negotiation and collaboration. Attorney Ryder’s alternate dispute resolution skills are well respected by the Probate and Family Courts and she is often appointed by judges and attorneys alike to mediate complex matters. Mediation may be right for you if you and the other party are able to communicate effectively and appropriately with the assistance of an experienced attorney and you both seek to avoid contested litigation as a joint objective.

The benefits of mediation include a faster resolution that is less expensive and more confidential. Working with an experienced mediator such as Attorney Ryder can help preserve relationships and provide a foundation for future negotiations regarding child custody and the splitting of assets. Both parties have greater autonomy in discussion and the process is more informal than a court hearing. If both parties determine mediation is the best route of action, Attorney Ryder or Attorney Phelps will act only as a mediator and will therefore not represent any one party’s individual interests.

The length of a mediation depends on the complexity of the divorce and both parties’ inclination to reach an agreement. Mediation sessions will usually last two (2)  hours across several sessions. However, you can expect the mediation to be completed within one year should there be no unforeseen complications. Our firm has completed the process sooner depending on the case and the court. The average cost of a mediation with our firm ranges from $5,000 to $7,500.

Ryder and Phelps will work tirelessly with you to reach a mutually agreed upon agreement.  However, we understand that there will be times where an agreement cannot be reached. In such cases, the parties can negotiate outside the formal mediation process or can file for divorce. In both cases we will be ready to help you resolve intermediate issues in your divorce procedure.

Cohabitation agreements are legal contracts for partners who are not married but live together. Reasons for cohabiting include financial circumstances, shared property, concerns of childcare, and earning capacities of both parties. Cohabitation may also occur if two parties wish to live together but are not married. Ryder and Phelps is committed to informing you of the legal risks and benefits of cohabitation.

After reaching an agreement, both parties will sign the separation agreement setting forth the detailed of their agreement and prepare the additional court required documentation  The final packet will be filed with the Probate and Family Court and there will be a hearing date assigned for an “uncontested divorce hearing”. The agreement and accompanying documents will be presented to the court by the parties at the court hearing for acceptance. Once the Court accepts the terms of the Separation agreement by finding that the agreement is fair and reasonable given the facts of the marriage it will enter a judgment of divorce.

Both you and the other party are entitled at any time to be represented by an independent lawyer. For instance, a divorce lawyer can be hired to review documents, and  provide you with independent legal advice that a neutral third party such as a mediator cannot given their role as a neutral in the process.