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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?

UPDATE: The MA SJC weighed in on this issue with a definitive "yes": in  Openshaw v. Openshaw - Massachusetts SJC Rules that when savings was part of the marital lifestyle then a judge may consider that history in determining a recipient's "need" for alimony in divorce: The SJC ruled that when the court finds that "ongoing, regular saving was part of the couple's standard of living during the long-term marriage and that the parties' combined postdissolution income is adequate to allow both spouses to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage" then a "judge may account for a divorcing  couple's custom of making regular contributions to their savings plans in determining, under G. L. c. 208, § 53 (alimony statute or § 53),  the amount of alimony needed to maintain the marital lifestyle." Original Post: In Massachusetts, Alimony is defined by the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 (the "Act").  We've previ