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FAQ

What is Mediation? . . .

Mediation is when someone acts as a neutral facilitator to help people in conflict reach their own settlement. Mediators do not make decisions about “right” or “wrong” or to tell either party what they should do. Mediation gives people the opportunity to have a say in how their issues get resolved, instead of having the Courts decide for them.

What does a Mediator do? . . .

At Ferguson & Lucey, you have the benefit of having Mediators who also have experience as family law attorneys, which will assist you in the process. They will make sure all issues required law to be addressed in the agreement are dealt with. Our Mediator listens to both sides, determines the areas of disagreement and works with both parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediators do not offer legal advice or provide legal counsel. You are free to consult an attorney at any time during mediation to understand better your own legal interests, rights and obligations. Mediation is not psychotherapy or counseling, and it does not replace such services.

What can I expect when I go in to a mediation? . . .

There may be times where the mediator decides to offer a “caucus”. In a caucus, the mediator will meet with each of you separately to clarify issues. The caucus is the only time during the mediation process that information can be kept confidential. If you share information during a caucus, the mediator won’t report it to the other spouse without your permission. Even in caucus, however, information that is substantive to the divorce must be shared with the other spouse if the mediation is to continue. During the mediation, view everything in your agreement as “written in sand” until you have resolved all the issues between the two of you. Divorce is complicated. There are many issues on which you and your spouse must agree. It will be easier for both of you to negotiate with confidence if you know you haven’t agreed to be bound to anything until you agree to everything. After the issues have been resolved and are mutually agreed upon, Our Mediator will prepare a Draft Settlement Agreement and distribute copies to both of you. Each party will be free to review the Draft Settlement Agreement with his or her attorney or other consultant before the agreement is placed in final form and signed.

Can mediation work for unmarried people? Siblings? Parents and Children? . . .

Yes! Mediation is a very proactive way to get all the issues “on the table” and through compromise, reach a solution that everyone can live with. Families are all unique and complex. A Court will hear only a few minutes of the issue before entering an order. This Court Order will surely leave everyone further disgruntled. Some examples where mediation could work with other family issues: a) Unmarried parents clarifying custody and visitation of their children; b) Siblings agreeing how to divide their parent’s estate in order to get through Probate; or c) Parents and children agreeing on the “Rules of home” to avoid a Child Requiring Assistance Petition in the Juvenile Court.

What is “Mental Health Law”? . . .

Determining whether a person is competent and capable of making their own life decisions and addressing the delegation of decision-making authority for those persons who are not competent and capable, either in the form of Guardianship of the Person; and/or Conservatorship of the Estate; or Durable Power of attorney.

“I have a family member who is diagnosed with a mental illness, they are not taking their medications. What should I do?” . . .

One of the most difficult issue families face is the unwillingness of people diagnosed with mental illness to consent to taking medication as prescribed or participating in electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT). Unfortunately, it is the nature of the illness that the person believes there is nothing wrong with them or they can be “cured” after a period of time. At Ferguson & Lucey, we work with families seeking orders for psychiatric hospitalization and ordered medical treatment for people who are highly likely to benefit from treatment. This is emotionally difficult for families, but many patients do improve with treatment; they are simply not capable of seeking it themselves. Ferguson & Lucey will provide the legal counsel, information and support you need to take this challenging step so that your loved one can find relief.

“I have been diagnosed with a mental illness and the doctor has prescribed medication. What are my rights in Massachusetts?”. . .

You also have rights under the law, including the right to say no to treatment. You will have legal representation at any court proceeding for commitment to a psychiatric hospital or treatment with cetain medication. At Ferguson & Lucey our attorneys have also represented the interests of people who wish to pursue their legal right to control their own life. These are not simple matters. Ferguson & Lucey has handled many complex mental health cases. We invite you to contact our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal concerns.