One Thursday a month I volunteer my time at Wrentham District Court for Summary Process hearings. Summary Process is the process by which a landlord terminates a tenancy and evicts or removes the tenant from rental property. Before the cases are brought before a judge the parties are offered an opportunity to resolve their case through mediation, and that is where I come in. The landlord and the tenant and I sit in the hallway in a makeshift mediation space and try to develop a resolution that is fair and agreed to by both parties. Sometimes we run out of time and the case ends up back before the judge after all. However, a large percentage of the disputes are resolved out in that hallway. Most times the tenants have good intentions and the landlords are prepared to be reasonable; sitting in the hallway with a neutral party helps both sides come to an agreement that makes sense for both sides.
If both sides are truly committed to seeking a resolution that is fair to both, they are good candidates for mediation. While they might begin the process with very different definitions of what is fair, the mediation will often provide them the opportunity to see their situation form different perspectives. It is this shift in perspectives that often leads to different options for resolution.
While the average person may think a summary process case is just about the money, there are often deeper levels of issues. Summary Process cases deal with a person’s shelter, one of the most basic human needs. These cases often impact custody of children, personal pride, and the ability of someone to begin moving forward with their life.
The same process that I use with the landlords and the tenants can also be used in divorce proceedings. Sometimes resolutions can’t be reached with mediation and the couple winds up in litigation. However, in a very high percentage of cases both the husband and the wife have good intentions and even though emotions may run high, they are nonetheless prepared to be reasonable. Sitting in a room with a neutral party helps both sides reach a better resolution.
Martin Murphy, Esq. is a collaborative attorney and seasoned mediator. He is dedicated to using the principles and benefits of mediation and collaborative law in the general representation of businesses, their owners and in helping families facing divorce, child custody and other family law issues. The Law Office of Martin Murphy, LLC located in Norwood MA, serves clients in the surrounding communities including Attleboro, Canton, Foxboro, Franklin, Mansfield, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, North Attleboro, Plainville, Sharon, Walpole, Westwood, and Wrentham., Marty can be reached at email@example.com