Articles

Bargaining in the Light of the Law: The Case for Divorce

by John Fiske, Esq.
’’I am half sick of shadows,’ said the Lady of Shalott” in the poem by Tennyson, but her facing reality had unhappy consequences. While I am glad to see the law moving us out of the shadows, we can hope for better informed settlements of divorces and other family disputes. view

How Mediation Can Effectively Address the Male-Female Power Imbalance in Divorce

by Diane Neumann
Feminists have long cautioned women in “traditional” marriages against the use of mediation to resolve support and property issues in divorce. Their concern is that the great disparity in power between the more powerful, income-producing husband and the less powerful, care taking wife results in the husband winning a greater share of the marital assets. Society must change, feminists insist, in order for a mediator to effectively address the imbalance. Divorce mediators, in contrast, explain that mediators can effectively address the power imbalance between such traditional divorcing spouses and that the mediation process can result in a fair settlement. The resolution of these two conflicting theories is the focus of this article. view

The Psychological Stages of Divorce

by Diane Neumann
Marriages are very difficult to end and everyone goes through a period of emotional transition, which can be described as a series of stages. Over the years, my work with separating and divorcing couples has shown five distinct emotional stages that comprise the divorce transition. These combined stages generally take an average of three years, though for some people the period is shorter, while for others, it is longer. view

Mediation and Other Dispute Resolution Alternatives 

by John Fiske and Hon. Gail L. Perlman
At least one-third of the approximately 21,000 couples who divorce each year in Massachusetts do not want the adversarial process. The “adversarial process” refers to traditional divorces involving two lawyers who negotiate directly with each other and make court appearances on behalf of the husband and wife, with varying degrees of acrimony or cooperation. These approximately 14,000 people want to do as much of their own divorce as possible. They recognize that they need help with the technical aspects of their agreement, but see no need for each of them to have a lawyer advocating for him or her. For these couples, mediation offers attractive advantages, such as control, simplicity and speed. The mediation process can save couples money and guide them to informed solutions that each spouse will, like the White Knight in Through the Looking Glass, always consider “my own invention.” view