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Stephen F. McDonough

Mediation Attorney at Norfolk, MA

4.7   26 reviews
  • State Years
    Massachusetts - MA 18 years
    North Carolina - NC 19 years
  • Licensed for 18 years
    State MA
    Acquired 2005
    Active No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 19 years
    State NC
    Acquired 2004
    Inactive No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Stephen

Learn Stephen’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Mediation
    A large portion of our divorce and family law matters are resolved through mediation. As practice areas have to do with areas of law, and mediation is a process, it is difficult to convey this information with the pie chart.

    17 years

  2. Divorce and separation
    Divorce and family law is my primary focus area. Modifications, and contempt actions, for issues such as alimony, child support, custody and other matters. I am also an experienced divorce mediator and collaborative lawyer. Fixed fees are available for many cases, including mediation and collaborative cases.

    20 years

  3. Estate planning

    20 years

Future-Focused Dispute Resolution 

I am a Massachusetts divorce and family law attorney and mediator, and the owner of Next Phase Legal & Dispute Resolution LLC of Norfolk, MA.

Although I believe many families are best served by considering mediation or the collaborative divorce process, it is not an option for everyone.  In those instances, we provided trusted court representation in the Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts, primarily in Norfolk, Middlesex, Bristol, Plymouth, and Worcester Counties. 

I am experienced in guiding my clients through complex, high-net worth Massachusetts divorces. I have focused on divorce and family law throughout my legal career, both here in MA and previously in Charlotte, NC.   One of the most important things to me is also providing prompt service and communications to our clients.

At Next Phase Legal, we provide the option of a fixed fee for many of our clients, including our divorce mediation and collaborative cases.

Besides divorce, we work with clients needing help with modifications, parenting issues, child support, alimony, prenuptial agreements, and other family law matters.   We are also pleased to provide estate planning services, and are a Wealth Counsel member firm.

I am a member of several other professional organizations, including the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, Association of Professional Family Mediators, Association of Family & Conciliation Courts, Massachusetts Association of Guardian ad Litems, and the Norfolk County Bar Association. I am also a volunteer conciliator, and available for private conciliations also.

Please visit our informative website and blog. 

We look forward to hearing from you. 


Photos and videos


Next Phase Legal & Dispute Resolution LLC
65 Holbrook Street
Suite 270
Norfolk, MA, 02056
Next Phase Legal & Dispute Resolution LLC
20 Cabot Blvd
Suite 300
Mansfield, MA, 02048
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4.7 / 5.0
  26 customer reviews
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Posted by Deborah A. Mason, Esquire | September 12, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Absolutely outstanding conciliator
Attorney McDonough was a consummate professional during our conciliation. He gave us two full days to settle what was a very difficult and complex matter, one that was absolutely going to trial and managed to guide both counsel and their clients to a full settlement. His demeanor and knowledge of the law, our Judge and his ability to be empathetic and balanced to both clients was the turning point of this case. I would highly recommend Attorney McDonough for any matter which requires his level of professionalism in a mediation, conciliation or divorce.
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Response from Stephen McDonough September 13, 2016
Thank you Attorney Mason for your positive feedback. I hope to work with you again in the future.
Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly Recommend to All
I feel so lucky to have found Stephen for divorce mediation services (lucky we did not have to turn to lawyer services). He was unbelievably professional but also kind and sensitive during such a difficult period in anyone's life. I can not recommend him highly enough and would not hesitate to use his services again in the future if ever necessary. Our case was sensitive and difficult. Stephen provided helpful suggestions and insights, above and beyond mediator services, that turned out to be very valuable. Initially he was the only individual who gave his condolences when I was trying to evaluate and choose a mediator. That initial kindness was a great indicator of his character. Very kind, knowledgeable and fair to both parties involved. Thanks so much for all of your help guiding us in such a difficult time.
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Posted by Jennifer | January 13, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Helped simplify the Mediation Process
Steve McDonough and Next Phase Legal were a tremendous help as I went through the process of divorce. In choosing to do Mediation, there needs to be a high degree of trust that your attorney will provide honest and fair advice to both parties. Steve created a very open, trusting environment. My ex-husband and I both went into the meetings with high stress levels, but Steve was able to diffuse the tension and help us work toward a common goal at each session. The mediation process went quickly and we were able to cover all areas within six sessions. The Next Phase team prepared all of our paperwork, making it simple to file with the court. Overall, Steve helped make the painful process of divorce go smoothly and as pain-free as possible.
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Response from Stephen McDonough January 14, 2016
Thank you for your nice comments. We are glad the mediation process worked out well for you and your family.
Posted by Karen | January 13, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Stephen was my divorce attorney
I would highly recommend attorney Stephen MdDonogh. I was going through a painful divorce after 23 years and he was able to keep me focused and help me to understand what I needed to do to not only take care of myself, but what I needed to think about going forward. Really can't say enough!
Response from Stephen McDonough January 13, 2016
Thank you for your positive feedback!
Posted by Brian | January 7, 2015
Good guy
Steve was great to work with. Divorce is an awful situation and Steve treated me with respect and kept me calm through the process. He moved the divorce as quickly as the court could accomadate and was very fair with his bills. I would highly recommend him
Posted by Heather | September 22, 2014
Professional and Compassionate...
Stephen F. McDonough proved to be the best decision I ever made when hiring a lawyer for my divorce. McDonough provides practical advice, as well as an ear, to help work through what is an incredibly emotional and painful process. He went above and beyond in his quest to help me achieve my goals. His compassion and knowledge have helped to make the process a little less painful. He is well educated on all current laws. I highly recommend him to anyone going through the divorce process.
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Posted by Hilary | April 4, 2014
Great attorney for family law, divorce, and child custody issues.
Stephen McDonough has been my family law attorney for many issues relative to my past divorce. He is wonderful to work with, talk to, and he continuously puts my mind at ease when we have had to go to court. He's worth entrusting your legal needs with. I would gladly recommend him to others and use him again when necessary.
Posted by Mark | April 1, 2014
Norfolk, Medfield, Westwood Divorce and Family Law Attorney's
If you need a Norfolk/Medfield/Westwood divorce/ family law lawyer, I highly recommend attorney and mediator Stephen McDonough at Next Phase Legal LLC in Medfield, MA. I have used Stephen McDonough as my attorney on multiple occasions, starting with my divorce and later for post-divorce parenting and child support issues. Stephen is well-prepared and gets favorable results. He is always prepared and does a great job on the customer service side by keeping me advised about my case and returning calls and emails promptly. If I need a Norfolk/Medfield/Westwood divorce/family law attorney in the future, my first call will be to Stephen at Next Phase Legal.
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Posted by Peter | March 27, 2013
Highly Recommend The Divorce Collaborative LLC - Shrewsbury Dad
A divorce is never pretty or fun but the good folks at the Divorce Collaborative helped make the process less confusing and as painless as possible. I worked with Steve as my attorney while involved in divorce mediation in Worcester County. Steve was extremely helpful by answering all of my questions and coaching me between the mediation sessions. His knowledge of the financial issues and ideas on bargaining helped me negotiate a fair settlement - for me and my children. Since Steve is also an experienced mediator, he did not try and upset the mediation process, but was supportive and understanding. Steve, along with others at the firm, were always quick to respond to my emails or telephone calls and were very accommodating around my busy schedule. I highly recommend him and The Divorce Collaborative LLC.
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Response from Stephen McDonough February 15, 2014
The Divorce Collaborative was my former firm. I have since founded Next Phase Legal LLC in Medfield, MA. Please call (508) 359-4043 for more information.
Posted by Cate | February 13, 2013
I had a very good experience with Stephen McDonough. He was personable and put me at ease right away. He seemed very experienced and knowledgable and was able to answer most, if not all of my questions. He was very patient with my husband and me, as we hit quite a few bumps along the way. Cost wise, the mediation process was much less expensive than a contested divorce. I think my husband and I were both satisfied with the process and the final agreement. I would highly recommend Stephen and his staff and the mediation process as well.
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Posted by Hilary | October 24, 2012
Review for Stephen McDonough
Having to go through family court for custodial issues is hard enough on it's own; having Stephen McDonough by my side has made navigation through this process less stressful. Stephen is incredibly knowledgeable in the system and the procedures, and represents his client well both in the court room and outside of the court room. Throughout my interactions with him he's been very professional, personal and attentively listened to communication. He and his firm have represented me in several court proceedings over the past two years and I would have no reservations about continuing with his services for family court. I would recommend his services to anyone who is looking for top quality representation.
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Posted by Bill | June 27, 2012
Less stressful than I ever would have imagined
I went into our first meeting not knowing what to expect and right away Steve made me feel at ease and comfortable. He did an excellent job of explaining the entire process and brought up many things that I had not yet thought about. I left our first meeting feeling that we (my ex-wife and I) made the correct choice in hiring Steve.
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Posted by anonymous | May 2, 2012
Steve was very professional and thorough and was able to help us reach a mutual agreement, he was a very good fit for my ex husband and for me too and I would highly recommend him.
Posted by Lisa | December 15, 2011
I highly recommend Steve for mediation services.
Steve did a great job guiding us through the mediation process and keeping both parties focused on the important issues.
Posted by Sue C | November 14, 2011
When you want mediation done right . .
Going through a divorce isn't easy but Stephen helped ease the stress through mediating the process. He explained the process, advised on what to expect, and helped make it less stressful. Stephen is very knowledgeable and knows what to anticipate in divorce court. This helped us to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with the least amount of pain. No grief and aggravation of lawyers battling and the fees going up and up. If you are reasonable adults and appreciate a true professional, working with Stephen is the way to go.
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Posted by Marilyn | August 9, 2011
Great Mediator
Steve was the third attorney/mediator we met with when searching for assistance with our uncontested divorce. He was very professional, fair, and thorough. His sense of humor and levity helped put us at ease. When we went to court, the judge commented that our divorce agreement was a very well-drafted document.
Posted by John | July 26, 2011
Testimonial for Stephen F. McDonough
The obvious emotional stress of going through a divorce is certainly enough for anyone to cope with. Working with Stephen made this difficult time a little easier with his knowledge and communication during our mediation process. He was able to help us reach a mutually beneficial agreement, and I would recommend Stephen to anyone and welcome any inquiries regarding the process from my own experience.
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Posted by Kelly | May 30, 2011
Divorce Collarborative, LLC is excellent
I've been divorced for about 10 years and in my past court dealings I have not been represented by an attorney. While I've "survived" in the past, I've always left feeling that maybe I'd been taken advantage of or not had my daughter's best interests represented. When my ex-husband filed for a reduction in child support (again) I felt that I needed to have someone in my corner. Contacting Steve McDonough at Divorce Collaborative was the best decision I could have made. From the moment I spoke to Steve I felt confident that I was getting the best representation I could. He immediately made me understand what was going on and what he was going to do on my behalf. He understood that we were dealing with not only a financial issue but an emotional one as well because we were talking about matters concerning support of my daughter. Steve was not only professional but reassuring as well. From the very beginning he was confident about my case and was able to instill some of that confidence in me as well. We went into court because my ex-husband was looking for a reduction in child support. After our court date, not only was there no reduction but he was ordered to pay more per week due to Steve's arguments on my behalf. Not only will I never go back to court without him on my side, I would recommend his services to anyone needing legal assistance regarding divorce, separation or child support issues.
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Response from Stephen McDonough February 16, 2014
This review was written when I had my previous firm. I have since founded Next Phase Legal LLC in Medfield, MA. Please visit: for additional info.
Posted by Todd | March 12, 2011
Divorced father using the collaborative process
Divorce is an unfortunate and difficult process. I have heard horror stories of huge expense and bitter conflicts. Steve was immensely helpful on the process, on what to expect and how to manage productively through the process. His guidance helped us build a very good agreement, even applauded by the court judge. He is an intelligent and understanding person, aware of the emotional toll and conscious of the typical challenges that face a couple throughout. Steve has an exceptional knowledge of the law and particularly of the collaborative process. I would highly recommend Steve for any of his services, especially for collaborative divorce.
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Posted by Julie | January 1, 2011
best part of my divorce
I found Steve by just looking online for alternatives to divorce litigation. I loved the website for the The Divorce Collaborative. My initial meeting with Steve was very informative and put me at ease. My ex is a tough person to please-hence the divorce, but Steve was able to make him feel comfortable, which is a tall task. We both enjoyed the process with Steve. I believe his previous career enables him to react to people under stress in a very calming, appropriate manner. He has a fantastic sense of humor, but I suppose that's subjective. When we went to court, the judge was quite impressed with our agreement - saying nothing was left uncovered/unaddressed. Steve was a perfect fit for my ex and I and our divorce.
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Response from Stephen McDonough January 17, 2016
Since the time of this review, I have founded a new firm, Next Phase Legal LLC in Medfield, MA. Please visit our website at, or call us at (508) 359-4043.
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  • Hourly Rates $ 350-385 per hour
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 8.9 (Excellent)

Work Experience

  • Owner, Attorney/Mediator
  • Next Phase Legal LLC
  • 2014 - Present
  • Owner - Principal Attorney & Mediator
  • The Divorce Collaborative LLC
  • 2009 - 2013
  • Managing Partner
  • Wagner McDonough LLP
  • 2007 - 2009
  • Attorney
  • Rosen Law Firm
  • 2005 - 2006
View all work experience


  • Suffolk University Law School
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2004
  • Westfield State College (Westfield)
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • 1998

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Collaborative Divorce
  • Settlement on all issues


  • Association of Professional Family Mediators
  • Member
  • 2016 - Present
  • Town of Norfolk, Massachusetts
  • Advisory Board
  • 2015 - Present
  • Bar association of Norfolk County, MA
  • Committee on Bench-Bar Relations
  • 2014 - Present
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Member
  • 2009 - Present
  • Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation
  • Member
  • 2006 - Present
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2006 - Present
  • Norfolk County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2006 - Present
  • Norfolk, MA Lions Club
  • Member
  • 2006 - Present
  • International Association of Collaborative Professionals
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • American Bar Association, Law Practice Management Section
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • MEMO - Medfield Employer's and Merchant's Organization
  • Director
  • 2015 - 2016
  • Bar Association of Norfolk County
  • Volunteer Conciliator - Probate Court
  • 2014 - 2017
  • Association for Conflict Resolution
  • Member
  • 2010 - 2015
  • Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council
  • Board of Directors
  • 2009 - 2010
  • Western Norfolk County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2009 - 2012
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Quest for the Best - Divorce Lawyers, Silver Award
  • MyFM 101.3 - Milford, MA Listener's Choice
  • 2021
  • Volunteer Recognition Certificate
  • Norfolk Probate and Family Court and Norfolk County Bar Association - Massachusetts
  • 2015
  • Certified Mediator
  • Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation
  • 2015
  • Honorable Mention - Best Oral Advocate
  • Suffolk University Law School, Legal Practice Skills
  • 2001
  • Distinguished Brief
  • Suffolk University Law School - Legal Practical Skills Class
  • 2001
View all awards


  • The Norfolk Boomerang
  • Collaborative Law - The New Kid on the Block
  • 2008
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Luncheon Seminar
  • Divorce Financial Issues & Mediation
  • 2017
  • Prudential Page Real Estate Agent's Conference
  • Working With Divorcing Families
  • 2011
  • Norfolk, MA Lions Club Members Meeting
  • Collaborative Law - A Better Way to Resolve Conflict
  • 2011
  • Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council Members Meeting
  • Making the Collaborative Process More Affordable
  • 2011
  • Television Show, Sharon, MA Cable Access
  • Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce
  • 2010
  • Montachusett Estate & Retirement Planning Council
  • Divorce & College Financial Planning
  • 2010
  • Membership Meeting
  • Fixed Fees in Mediation
  • 2010
  • Attorney/Bar Organization
  • Use of Fixed Fees in Domestic Relations Cases
  • 2010
  • Alternative to Divorce Litigation
  • Divorce & Family Law
  • 2010
  • The New Massachusetts Child Suport Guidelines
  • Major revisions to Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines
  • 2009
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (14)
Given (26)
Endorse Stephen
Divorce and separation Attorney | Mar 30
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Steve is an excellent lawyer - I was involved in a case with him a few years ago and was impressed by his legal expertise and his collaborative, problem-solving approach. I would welcome the chance to do more cases with him."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Apr 03
Relationship: Friend
"Steve and I have known each other for a few years after first meeting at a conference. It became obvious from our first meeting that Steve is committed to remaining on the cutting edge of his practice both technologically and from a client services perspective. Steve has a passion for service to his clients. A family law case is one of the most stressful and difficult things a person can go through and Steve is committed to making it as easy on his clients as possible. I wholeheartedly endorse him not only for his legal skill but also his compassion."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Nov 19
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer. Steve is knowledgable and easy to work with."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Feb 19
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Stephen is a dedicated and caring attorney who is also involved in assisting families in medication and collaborative."
Family Attorney | Dec 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Steve is dedicated to helping his clients resolve their family law matters as quickly and smoothly as possible. He is always up-to-date on the latest news and technology, which he generously forwards to his clients and the legal community. I endorse this attorney."
Family Attorney | Nov 20
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer. I worked with Stephen for several years in the same firm. I know him to be compassionate, diligent, and ethical. I would not hesitate to recommend Stephen to a friend for the handling of any kind of family law case."
Mediation Attorney | Aug 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I highly endorse this lawyer. I have been very impressed with his legal blog, and know he has an excellent reputation as a lawyer, mediator, and collaborative lawyer."
Family Attorney | Jan 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I've met with Stephen McDonough to discuss how he and I both practice family law, divorce and mediation cases. Stephen has a great grasp on the emotional complications of divorce cases and the right way to minimize the trauma of clients going through a divorce. From my interaction with Stephen I believe he understands the challenges of divorce law and the necessity of balancing good representation and service with the value to families of settlement and moving on with their lives. Although our practice areas overlap, I intend to recommend Stephen to potential clients in his area when I have the opportunity to do so."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Jan 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I would highly endorse Attorney Stephen McDonough. He is a very intelligent, caring and committed professional. Stephen is down to earth and he has a great sense of humor which makes him a pleasure to be around. Stephen is also a remarkable businessman. I am so impressed with his business and technical skills and also his incredible generosity in sharing his expertise with his colleagues. Although I have not yet had the pleasure of working directly with him on a case, I would wholeheartedly recommend him, and I very much look forward to working with him."
Family Attorney | Mar 10
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I have worked with Steve and have referred matters to him with the utmost confidence. Steve is dedicated, pragmatic, and focused on obtaining great results for his clients in a manner that is both effective and rational. Steve is an excellent resource both as an attorney and mediator."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Mar 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work. I carefully consider the impact of referrals to other attorneys on my own law practice. I can honestly say that a referral to Steve is given in full confidence. He cares deeply about his clients and his practice. It shows in his ability to combine his skills and knowledge as an attorney/mediator with a sense of humor, enthusiasm and genuine good nature. Steve also serves his clients well by assimiliating the latest technologies into his practice. Glenn J. Murphy, Esquire"
Divorce and separation Attorney | Mar 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I want only the best results and best relationships for my clients in their family law and divorce cases. I am therefore very pleased to recommend fellow lawyer Steve McDonough. Steve is not only well versed in domestic relations law, but he also cares deeply about his clients. I know this because I share an office building with him. Steve is highly organized, discreet, smart, quick, funny, and good company. After 25 years in the practice of law, I know that clients will need to rely on all of these attributes through their divorce. Steve has the street smarts that are useful in understanding human nature, the investigative nose that comes from years in law enforcement, and the guts to work hard for the client. He also loves families and wants the best for all concerned. From what I can see, Steve has always been a top performer. His leadership shows especially in his promoting of the collaborative approach to divorce, which really impresses me. I recommend Steve highly."
Family Attorney | Mar 16
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I enjoy working with Steve on matters and find him to be very thorough, creative, efficient and personable. He brings a unique perspective to his clients and continues to be a valuable resource to me and my clients who need his firm's services."
Family Attorney | Feb 26
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Stephen was a classmate of mine in law school. He is bright and compassionate. I have referred clients to him with complete confidence."
View more endorsements
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation
Estate planning
Social Security & Disability
Divorce and separation
Estate planning
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation
Real estate
Estate planning