Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2014

Court Awards Custody to Abusive Father. Still Think Court is Safer than Mediation?

The Massachusetts Appeals Court published a decision today in a particularly saddening and difficult divorce case in which the lower court awarded custody to a father despite a finding that the father had been physically abusive to the mother.  The job of a trial Judge is not an enviable one and I don't intend to second-guess the decision which included weighing the testimony of two experts and was very fact specific. In reading the full decision it is obvious the court was forced to choose between two extremely undesirable results. The trial court relied on the children's problems with their mother and abuse between them and her in awarding primary custody to the father.  The Appeals Court points out that the GAL and children's therapists could not find any evidence that the father brainwashed or alienated the children from the mother.  However, the court acknowledged that the children witnessed abuse by the father against the mother, and pointed out the harm suffered

Appellate Questions on Alimony Termination – You Decide!

UPDATE: The SJC decided all three of these cases on 1/30/2015.  Our post regarding the decisions can be read here:  Lifetime Alimony is Back (for some)! - Chin v. Merriot Original Post: There are three appeals pending before the Massachusetts SJC which will significantly impact how the Alimony Reform Act of 2011  is interpreted by the courts.  All three cases have to do with whether the parts of the Act can apply when modifying Judgments or Agreements entered prior to the Act’s effective date (March 1, 2012).  Each case deals with a slightly different component of this issue: Doktor v. Doktor (SJC-11727) presents the question of whether the Act's provision regarding termination of general term alimony upon full retirement age (see M.G. L. c. 208, § 49f ) applies to a divorce judgment that predates the Act, where the payor reaches retirement age after the effective date of the Act.  In addition, the case should address whether, and how, the parties' respective assets sh

3 Things that Mediation is NOT

Mediation has become a popular alternative to court proceedings, with mediators resolving disputes of all kinds ranging from private family matters to the very public NFL lockout .  But there is still a significant amount of confusion about what is mediation and what can a mediator do for you.  Some of the most common misconceptions follow: 1. Mediation is NOT Arbitration! Many people assume that the purpose of a mediation is to have a trained third party help them make decisions by choosing a solution when they can't agree, and this misconception has been popularized by shows like Untying the Knot .  Bravo TV's show about a New Jersey divorce attorney and mediator, Vikki Ziegler, follows one issue (usually property division) through brief evaluation and "recommendation" sessions. In order to be able to fit the resolution of an issue into a half hour of drama, the show has a formula based on Vikki pushing the spouses to settle their disputes by making a "

Collaborative Law is Growing!

If you follow our posts at all you're probably aware that attorney Justin Kelsey is a Collaboratively trained Divorce attorney and Mediator.  But did you also know that three other attorneys at Kelsey & Trask, P.C. are Collaboratively trained as well? Full time Associate, Valerie Kua , and of counsel   Jonathan Eaton  have both taken the Collaborative Training and regularly use those skills in their family law practice to settle both Collaborative and cooperative cases (if you don't know the difference click here ).  In addition, of counsel to Kelsey & Trask, P.C., Beth Aarons  is a trained Collaborative attorney who practices in both family law and estate planning & probate. At Kelsey & Trask, P.C. we strongly believe that Collaborative Law is the future of dispute settlement, and not just in divorce cases.  For example, if you have an estate planning or probate dispute, you may want to consider Collaboratively trained counsel as well.   Even other civil m

Divorce Support Groups in Massachusetts

Going through a divorce is the second most stressful life event next to the passing of a loved one. When a loved one dies, we have numerous traditions and rituals that ensure that we have support to help us grieve.  In contrast, divorce is too often experienced alone.  While we encourage our divorce clients to seek support of friends, family and therapists, that doesn't work for everyone.  Sometimes friends and family don't understand, and therapy isn't the answer for everyone. When some options don't work, that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to go through your divorce alone.  It is important to realize that other people are experiencing the loss of divorce as well and in some cases sharing that experience can be useful.  Divorce Support Groups are one way to find that support and there are options for both women and men: Divorce Support Groups for Women:  http://oonametz.com/ Divorce Support Groups for Men:  http://cambridgemindbody.com/couples-c