Wonder at the Possibilities

Those of you who have gotten to know me know that I am a big Red Sox fan and that my passion for the Sox has been passed on to my now teenage son. Over the years we have shared many great moments together around the baseball diamond. One moment I will never forget occurred as the Fenway Park groundskeeping crew was preparing for a rain delay. I brought my then 8 year old over to “canvas alley” to watch the crew cover the field. As I explained the job, he looked up at me in amazement. “You mean they actually get paid to work at Fenway Park?” His little mind couldn’t comprehend that people would not want to volunteer at Fenway Park for free every day.

When I recall this learning moment for my son, I know that it is also a reminder for me. When you are lucky enough to do something each day that you feel passionately about, it transforms from simply being work, to being something that can engage you and amaze you. I am truly grateful for the opportunity I have to help my clients each and every day. I recommit to doing all that I can to maintain “the beginner’s mind,” and wonder at the possibilities. Happy New Year.

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 marty@martinmurphyatlaw.com

Resolve to Finish by Beginning Again

For those considering divorce, this “merry” season can be fraught with stresses that lead to arguments, frustrations, and a sense of hopelessness. If you have been overcome by the stress of the season, I simply suggest that you take a few moments to reflect back on the moment you decided you were ready for a new start. This isn’t the moment you were filled with anger, frustration or anxiety, but the moment of clarity when you knew without question it was time to move on.

Suzuki Roshi was a Sōtō Zen monk and teacher, and is credited with saying “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind, there are few.”

Approaching the obstacles of the season with the “beginner’s mind” will help you develop more potential options for their resolution. New traditions can be crafted, and families can be reshaped. Disagreements can be sorted out, and life can move on in a new direction. Mediation and Collaborative Law are processes that can help you stay focused on the ultimate goal rather than give in to the distractions and frustrations foisted upon us.

As the calendar turns to the New Year, resolve to finish the process already begun by focusing on that moment of clarity that truly began you on this journey. I wish you the very best in the New Year.

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 marty@martinmurphyatlaw.com

The Right Parenting Plan

The kids heading off on a Disney cruise through the Bahamas with one parent may seem completely reasonable, but how about the other parent wanting to visit relatives with the kids…. in Somalia?

International travel is one of the many areas in a parenting plan where parents have to be particularly thoughtful and considerate of the future. Parents headed through a divorce might want to consider this and other important issues.

Drop Off Duty
Which parent is responsible for dropping off the kids? What happens when the kids are intentionally running late? One way to avoid the “waiting in the driveway” syndrome is to have the parent with the kids be responsible for delivering them to the other parent.

Time Off vs. Time With
In today’s economy with both parents usually working, the primary or custodial parent is often looking for some “time off.” Making sure the other parent lives up to his or her allotted time allows for the custodial parent to rest and recharge their batteries.

Sick Days, Doctors’ Appointments and No Power Days
Providing for “surprise days” and scheduled doctors’ appointments will make for a better parenting plan.

She’s a Teenager!
Preparing a flexible parenting plan that allows for the needs of a sociable teenager is wise. At the same time, it is equally important that the parents try to have a consistent voice about what is permitted behavior and what is not!

Family Traditions
If your spouse’s family has a tradition of spending the 4th of July with multi-generations in New Hampshire, are you sure you want to demand alternating all such holidays? At the same time, divorce can be all about starting new traditions with your kids. Finding the best parenting plan for your family is an important part of the divorce process.

Mediation and Collaborative Law can provide you with the best opportunity to come up with the best plan for your family. If you have any questions on finding the right parenting plan, please contact my office for a free process presentation.

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 marty@martinmurphyatlaw.com

Election Fatigue – Three Steps to Eliminating Washington Gridlock using Mediation Techniques

Like many, I am fatigued by the barrage of ads and endless news coverage of the 2012 election. Personally I am grateful for the fact that I don’t live in a swing state. I can’t imagine the saturation point of the average citizen there. I never thought an ad for a personal hygiene product or for a drug that will cure some dysfunction would bring a sense of relief while watching a little television.

For me however, watching the election of 2012 was more troubling because so many of the approaches, behaviors and activities being played out on the national stage were the very things I work day in and day out to eliminate as a mediator and Collaborative Attorney. The polarizations, personal characterizations and positional approaches make it harder for people to work together to build consensus.

So what recommendations would I make to help Washington break its gridlock and get back to the work of the people? My experiences with mediation clients can help highlight some potential options. Here are three are three steps that can lead us forward in a very productive way.

First, insist on an atmosphere of respect. Personal attacks, belittling comments and broad generalizations about others have no place in a mediation and will have a detrimental impact on any negotiation. Instead, all parties have to begin to truly accept that those who hold positions that vary from their own are not “bad” people because of it. I would ask each politician to consider their staunchest opponent and then list three things about that person that reminds them of themselves. Personalizing the “enemy” in this way should lead to a decrease in the acrimonious rhetoric.

Second, create a mutual acknowledgement that some differences because of ideology will just not be able to be diminished. In mediations, I typically get clients who want to win the war on the “facts” of a particular event. After allowing each to present their perspective, I often inquire if there is anything the other could say that would change this perception of the past. Accepting that those differences will just coexist frees the parties to focus on other issues. We need our politicians in Washington to start focusing less on their differences and more on the common needs of all the people.

Lastly, I would suggest that we take a little more time to celebrate the successes. I regularly highlight for my clients the “mini” agreements they have reached throughout the process. This positive momentum helps build consensus on other more difficult topics. Too often, clients and politicians focus on why something failed. We need to focus more on the concrete successes.

Our President has presented a message for moving forward. I would suggest that he and all of our elected officials consider the above steps as a way to help them begin moving forward together.

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 marty@martinmurphyatlaw.com

5 Things You Need To Do To Get The Most Out of Your Divorce Mediation

1. Be Flexible

Don’t begin a mediation fixated or stuck on one outcome for a particular topic. Whether it relates to the kids, the house, or the retirement accounts, flexibility can often lead to options that result in a better outcome than what you “had to have” at the beginning of the process.

2. Be Prepared

Most seasoned mediators will provide their clients with an agenda for each meeting containing a list of topics that have been agreed upon. Be ready to discuss those topics as best you possibly can. Being unprepared will often lead to a meeting that is far less productive.

3. Be Advised

While a mediator may help educate a couple on a particular topic, neutrality prevents him or her from advocating for either party. Someone going through mediation is often best served by meeting with an attorney twice: once at the beginning of the process to understand his or her rights and responsibilities and again at the end of the process to review the proposed agreement.

4. Be Proactive

Your mediation is an opportunity for you to help plan for your future. Parenting issues, the fair and reasonable division of assets, and the handling of marital liabilities may all have a very significant impact on your new life moving forward. Truly engage in the process and help set the course for your new future.

5. Be Forward-Looking

While there are many times in life to “look back.” mediation is often not one of them. While you may need to briefly speak about the past to inform the present, mediation is really about coming up with a plan for the future. You have begun the divorce process because you don’t want to keep repeating the past. Let mediation be one of the first steps away from the past and towards a brighter future.

 

While this is not an exhaustive list of approaches, if you follow these five steps you will maximize the benefits you receive from your divorce mediation. If you have a question about how these steps may help you or about mediation in general, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.

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 marty@martinmurphyatlaw.com

Bringing People Together who are Getting Further Apart

The role of a mediator is to help people create and consider options for their future. The work is often challenging yet rewarding. Typically the parties to mediation will meet around a table with their neutral mediator who will assist them in coming to an agreement. However, over the last several months I have had a number of cases in which the parties were moving further apart – geographically, that is. The nature of our society has made us far more mobile, and the demands of today’s economy often require parties to move physical locations before they have concluded a mediation and a filing with the local court.

Thankfully mediation is a flexible tool and I often look to technology to assist my clients with these new geographical challenges. I’ve used email, phone conferences, Skype and GoToMeeting videoconferences to meet with parties who are ready to take the next step in their lives and have already moved on in some physical way. While I generally prefer to meet in person, these technologies help my clients complete the process in a certain time frame and in a cost effective manner that works for them.

The technology is sound, and I often find that it helps clients by reducing the emotions in the “room” and allows them to focus on the issues at hand. I have to work a bit harder to make sure that physical cues aren’t being missed and that everyone has their opportunity to be heard.

Once the couple has resolved all the issues surrounding the divorce or other family matter, I can draft the necessary documents and then express mail them around for signatures. In cases of divorce, I can often help the parties by drafting a joint motion to excuse the appearance of the party who has moved far away if returning for the hearing would be overly burdensome. This provides a tremendous savings to the “remote” party and can expedite their resolution.

When geographical or scheduling challenges create obstacles to resolution, mediation combined with the latest technologies can help the parties to move forward in a timely and cost efficient way. If you would like to know more about how mediation may help you, please contact my office.

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 marty@martinmurphyatlaw.com