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Showing posts from July, 2019

It's time for less BUTs in mediation

Use "and" instead of "but" .  It's a simple change that in conversation and writing can mean a world of difference.  That difference is inherent in how we hear and read the word "but".  "But" has a negating connotation, implying that everything that came before it isn't true. I think this is a valuable lesson, but it's not revolutionary.   I think this is a valuable lesson, and  it's not revolutionary. Which one of those sentences gives you the impression I think both things are true (which I in fact do believe)?  Obviously the "and" changes the way we read that sentence.  In fact, you only have to search google for the phrase  "and instead of but"  to see that many people have shared this idea before me.  It's not revolutionary, and it remains a valuable lesson, especially for mediators and negotiators. Frankie, a contributor on Medium, highlighted  that the importance of making this cha

Innovation in the Family Court: Real & Imagined

Some Judges have long recognized the need for what Frank Sander called the "multi-door courthouse," a place where people in a dispute can find multiple ways of resolving that dispute, not just litigation. In a concurring opinion in the Cooper v. Keto case, Massachusetts Appeals Justice Brown pointed out that "Litigation should be the last option, not the first."   He also quoted a retired Judge's article in the Boston Bar Journal lamenting whether lawyers were adequately addressing this issue: "'technical competence' of lawyers to litigate is greater today than ever, but lawyers often 'fail to consider whether doing it is useful'." The good news is that many courts, especially family courts, are starting to recognize this need, and there are a more and more pilot programs taking place that provide opportunities for families to find alternative ways to resolve their conflict.  In Massachusetts, there is a program in the Hampshire

Should Alimony Recipients be Able to Save for Retirement?

In Massachusetts, Alimony is defined by the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 (the "Act").  We've previously explored how the Act outlines "need" and the case law that has developed around that definition: Alimony: You Get what You Need !  The question we're exploring today, is whether or not this definition of need includes saving for the future, or retirement. Chapter 208 Section 53 of the Massachusetts General Laws states that: "(a) In determining the appropriate form of alimony and in setting the amount and duration of support, a court shall consider: the length of the marriage; age of the parties; health of the parties; income, employment and employability of both parties, including employability through reasonable diligence and additional training, if necessary; economic and non-economic contribution of both parties to the marriage; marital lifestyle; ability of each party to maintain the marital lifestyle ; lost economic opportunity as a result of