The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a nearly complete shutdown of the Massachusetts courthouses to all non-emergency litigation, robbing parties of the ability to “run to court” for anything but a true emergency. This has left parties scrambling to resolve issues that were present prior to COVID-19, as well as new issues that have arisen as a result of the global pandemic. Parenting schedules, asset division, child support, medical decisions, and a slew of other custody and divorce related issues are all being tested at the moment, and without the ability to litigate, some parties feel helpless.
For those feeling stuck, mediation offers a way forward during the pandemic.
The “final product” of mediation is nearly identical to that in litigation – other than the 2% of litigation cases that go to trial. In both mediation and nearly every litigated case, the final product is the same: a signed, written agreement that resolves all outstanding issues between the parties.
The mediation process is unusually well adapted to the Coronavirus world we are all living in right now. Video mediation sessions using platforms like Zoom work so well that many mediation participants already preferred video sessions before the pandemic hit. Unburdened by the formal rules of docketing and filing of pleadings, mediation is well suited to the electronic exchange of documents. And unlike litigation, participants can access their mediator to resolve non-emergency issues at any time.
The effective lock-down of the courts in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic does not need to deter couples who have been planning to resolve their divorce through divorce mediation. I offer teleconference and on-line video mediation to quickly and effectively start or continue the divorce process and resolve urgent financial and child-related issues resulting from the coronavirus crisis while the courts are closed. Challenging issues such as visitation and parenting time and the impact of layoffs on financial support orders, including child support and alimony, can be resolved swiftly.
For more information or to schedule a free, no-obligation, private, confidential consultation visit FalmouthMediation.com or call 508-566-4159.