‘The process doesn’t have to hurt’
Business name: Mediation Advantage Services/Law Offices of Polly A. Tatum
CEO: Attorney/Mediator Polly Tatum
Address: 300 W. Main St., Building B, Northborough
19 Cedar St., Worcester, Mass.
Contact information: 508-795-1557
Northborough – Polly Tatum believes that divorce does not need to be painful or expensive. As an attorney/mediator with a background in human services and divorce litigation—who negotiated her own divorce — she has brought knowledge and compassion to the over 3,000 divorces that she has mediated. She also brings her expertise to estate planning.
It might have been in the cards for Tatum to practice family law, and eventually become a mediator.
Raised in Leominster/Fitchburg area, she is a graduate of Fitchburg High School and the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover. She holds an LL.M. in Estate Planning and Elder Law from Western New England Law School in Springfield.
Tatum married young and had three daughters. Around that time, she found out that she was adopted. Tatum searched for her birth parents, and discovered that her family was from Bermuda. She reconnected and formed strong bonds.
Tatum and her husband divorced when the girls were pre-teens and teens. They have successfully co-parented their daughters, attending extra-curricular activities together, all high school, college, and law school graduations, as well as holidays and family celebrations.
Tatum’s firm has a long track record of Divorce Mediation Success. She uses this wisdom and expertise throughout the Divorce Mediation Process to ensure the preservation of dignity, assets and family. Her firm’s mission is to help change the idea that divorce is the end of family. Tatum has an excellent track record of helping couples successfully complete the Divorce Mediation Process and reaching a Separation Agreement. She helps clients reduce conflict and effectively communicate and co-parent after divorce.
Her firm is a sought after resource by the courts, therapists and other lawyers to help resolve high conflict parenting disputes post-divorce.
Since 1997, as a mediator, Tatum has helped families redefine themselves as separate but cooperative units. Her website ( www.mediationadvantage.com) provides support through a complimentary webinar, Co-Parenting Success Series, ebooks, blogs, videos, and lists of resources.
She charges a flat fee — depending on assets and the complexity of the case.
She provides a comprehensive and structured process to help couples stay on track and focus on reaching a fair agreement. At the same time, the process is fair and completely transparent in order to maintain neutrality. Tatum’s staff includes a Customer Care Manager, as well as administrative staff, and other attorney/mediators who she trains, supervises and mentors.
She said, “Mediation requires a commitment from both spouses. That includes providing me with extensive documentation, and thinking carefully about what will work best for your family.”
Mediation starts with a two-hour Mediation Success Planning Session. The discussion focuses on the couple’s background history, goals, and objectives, and the advantages of mediation. There are usually two to three follow-up sessions to handle custody, parenting schedules, child support, alimony, college planning, budgets, division of assets, ( i.e. real estate), retirement, pensions, business interests, stock options, liabilities, health insurance, alimony, life insurance, and tax issues. The final appointment is reserved to go over the Separation Agreement and Court Process.
“Don’t get me wrong – it is still emotionally difficult to go through a divorce, but the process doesn’t have to hurt,” she stresses.
Tatum follows a similar process for estate planning, and charges a flat fee. The initial two-hour family wealth planning session requires that both spouses be present if they are married, and that some homework is done ahead of time.
She also works on Kids Protection Planning, wills, health care proxy, durable power of attorney, living wills, and trusts.