Family Mediation for Modification of an Existing Order or Judgment

Family Mediation has become more popular with parents ever since August 2013, when the Probate and Family Court was permitted to accept Joint Petitions to modify an existing judgment or order. Pursuant to Massachusetts Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rule 412, parents can submit a Joint Petition in order to change a judgment or court order that is related to children; such as parenting arrangements, child support, the child’s primary residence and health insurance. Parents are often happy to hear that after an agreement is reached with a mediator’s assistance, the documents are prepared at the mediator’s office, the parties sign the documents at their convenience, the filing fee is relatively inexpensive and they do not have to appear at court. Rule 412 allows the modification to be processed administratively so that the parents do not have to take a day off of work and appear at court. If parents can mediate, they create an opportunity to save themselves time and money by submitting an uncontested action or joint petition to the court.