How You Can Avoid a Costly and Ugly Divorce

Divorce is painful, and court worsens the pain. It’s unpredictable, drawn-out, and expensive. On the other hand, divorce mediation allows you to meet in a supportive and private setting with the guidance of a neutral party to help you negotiate a divorce agreement.

I’m an attorney with a practice devoted exclusively to divorce mediation. I can help you divorce peacefully–and at a fraction of the cost of a court divorce.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

In divorce mediation, you negotiate a divorce agreement with the help of a neutral party, the mediator. As mediator, I don’t represent either of you in the traditional lawyer-client sense. I’m completely neutral. I help you communicate to ensure that you address everything you need for a solid divorce agreement. Working together, we’ll settle matters efficiently and peacefully, all in a comfortable and private setting (unlike court).

How Divorce Mediation Benefits You

Less expensive. Mediation is almost always less expensive than a court-involved divorce.

Faster. Mediated divorces normally settle in a few sessions, unlike the many months that a court divorce can last.

Private. Court is a public forum. The most intimate aspects of your life can be aired. On the other hand, mediation is private, letting you preserve your dignity.

Children. Studies show that a civil approach to divorce decreases the stress on children.

Flexibility. You choose the times to meet, on your schedule, not the court’s.

Success. With a mediated settlement, you’re far less likely to return to court with future disputes. Mediation truly is the civil approach that allows you to move on with your life.

Control. Mediation lets you control the decisions that affect you most. The court process is simply not designed that way.

How We Work Together

Initial Phone Call. You and I will discuss any questions you may have about mediation. We’ll schedule a time for you, your spouse, and me to meet. Normally this call is fairly brief, as communication should be among all three of us.

Checklist. I’ll e-mail you a checklist of items that need to be addressed in a good divorce agreement. Ideally, you and your spouse will work together to complete it. I’ll also e-mail you an informational questionnaire (name, address, etc.) so we don’t waste time when we meet.

Meet to Review Checklist and Goals. During this hour-and-a-half meeting, we’ll review your checklist and identify the goals and decisions that you need to make. We’ll discuss any items that you haven’t resolved. Additionally, our first meeting lets us get to know each other. You get the opportunity to decide if we’re a good “fit” and if mediation is the best path for you.

I’ll give you a Probate Court Financial Statement, which you’re required to complete, along with instructions on how to fill it out. Finally, if you have a child who’s under 18, you’ll both have to complete a parent class. I’ll give you a list of locations and times of the classes.

Agreement Drafted. Within 3 to 4 business days, I’ll send you a draft of your divorce agreement. This agreement may have some “gaps” in it, as you may not have agreed on everything just yet.

Second Meeting. This meeting is optional, but most people take advantage of it. We’ll meet for up to 2 hours to resolve any matters that remain open. I’ll then e-mail the updated agreement to you. I urge you to review it with an independent attorney, although you’re not required to do this.

Agreement Approved. Once you both tell me that the agreement is acceptable, I’ll prepare the joint petition, affidavit, and all the other papers that you’ll need for a “no-fault” divorce. We’ll then schedule a time for you to sign them, and I’ll notarize them for you.

Court. In Massachusetts, you’re required to go to court, where a judge reviews your agreement. This review normally takes all of five minutes. I’ll fully prepare you about where to go, who to see, and what to say.


I’m happy and proud to be a divorce mediator, because I believe sincerely that mediation provides you with a sensible and dignified alternative to the traditional divorce. It may sound a bit corny, but I like to think I’m doing a small part in making the world a more peaceful place.

Considering Divorce Mediation?

If you have questions or just want to talk, please call me. I answer my own phone, and there’s no charge. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best.

Daniel E. Dalton

Divorce Mediator & Attorney


Office Location
9 Fletcher Street, Chelmsford, MA 01824
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Office Hours
Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 8:30 to 5
Tuesday/Thursday: 12 noon to 8:30
Saturday: by appointment

Phone
978-851-2444

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