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REPORT ON LDRC

For a change of pace, instead of talking about ourselves, we thought we would start this April’s newsletter with our first and perhaps only LDRC Quote of the Year.

It comes to us courtesy of colleague Chuck Doran of Mediation Works Incorporated (MWI), who brought us a story from Reuters.com, under the March 25, 2014 byline of Suzanne Barlyn: “Wall St arbitrator booted for fake credentials heard nearly 40 cases”. Ms. Barlyn tells of the Financial Industry Regulatory Board’s (FINRA) dismissal of a veteran California arbitrator for misrepresentation, namely, that he is a lawyer and a member “of the bar in several states”, when he was none of the above.

After denying FINRA’s allegations, the defrocked arbitrator later admitted to Reuters that he was never licensed to practice law in New York or Florida. Asked why he had lied about the Florida license, he said:

“It’s a damn good question and one that I’m having trouble with.”

Without a tinge of irony apparent, FNRA, the guardian of mandatory arbitration between the wolves of Wall Street and its consumers, declined comment on whether it had disclosed this news to the 38 unfortunate sets of parties whose financial disputes had been determined by their imposter. If Reuters asked FNRA why it declined comment, do you think they would have been so eloquent as he?

We at LDRC swear that we actually are lawyers and members of the Massachusetts bar. You could look it up! (We have the certificates. They’re just not hanging on our walls.)

And, with that sort of light note, we welcome you to our April 2014 newsletter. We tackle three important issues today, with two guest contributions.

-- Your tax horse may already be out of the barn since we are deep into April, but our friendly CPA Rich Streitfeld (who actually likes to call himself the “Zen Mensch”), gives a light touch to a serious topic: “Is Sex Therapy Deductible?” We like Rich’s succinct style and we expect to follow on with equally catchy titles in future newletters.

-- Next, attorney Claire McGorrian, who is senior staff attorney and Director of the Commercial Insurance Appeals Program at Health Law Advocates (HLA) offers “Health Insurance and Divorce in the Age of “ObamaCare”, an original piece for LDRC for which we are incredibly grateful. You may want to look back at out blog, after reading this one, as we have been exploring various aspects of heath insurance in the context of existing divorce statutes a lot lately.

-- Finally, we have been “all alimony all the time” on our blog lately; and here we present our recent entry, “SJC to Payors: No Credit for Time Served”, which is also a gateway into our blog. Please feel free to subscribe and you will get it in your inbox twice monthly, usually on Wednesdays.

And, if you enjoy reading our guest contributors, don’t be shy. Send in your submissions on anything that you think will be interesting and/or entertaining to our readers, to wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com. Authorized re-prints are welcome.

Enjoy the read and have an easy spring.

Chouteau and Bill

Health Insurance and Divorce in the Age of Obamacare

By: Clare D. McGorrian, Esq.

Maintenance of health insurance coverage can be challenging after a divorce. Recent federal health reforms may expand the options available but may also make the insurance landscape more complicated. This article is intended to help family lawyers and mediators help clients to maximize access to health coverage after divorce in the age of “Obamacare.” read more...


Is Sex Therapy Tax Deductible?

By: Rich Streitfeld CPA

I get asked this a lot.

Actually, yes -- as long it is doctor-prescribed. (The lodging is on your own.)

Clarinet lessons -- Deductible "if advised by dentist for treatment of tooth defects". (But tooth whitening to reverse discoloration -- nope, this is cosmetic.) read more...

S.J.C. To Alimony Payors: No Credit for Time Served

LDRC Blog

Finally, the first precedential appellate case on the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act (eff. 3/1/12) has emerged under the name of Holmes v. Holmes (April 2, 2014). The issue addressed is whether or not the payor of alimony under “temporary orders” of the court (payments by agreement or judge-made decision during the pendency of a divorce case) is entitled to “credit” for those payments against what the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has now named “maximum presumptive duration” of general term alimony. The answer is “no”.

In reaching this conclusion, the court reasoned that temporary alimony orders arise from a different statute altogether (M.G.L., chapter 208, section 17) and that the context of the new statute is fully about divorce and modification judgments. The SJC emphasized the maximum in the presumption of duration and left it to Probate Court judges to consider case-by-case whether the matter was “unusually long” or “unfairly delayed… [by the alimony recipient] in an attempt to prolong the payment of alimony…”

Lawyers joked when the new alimony law became public that it was the “lawyer’s full employment act”. This first “reported” case support’s the bar’s prediction.

While we do not quarrel with the legal analysis of the decision, compare its impact with ta contrary result. If the SJC has said “yes”, then everyone would know, going forward, that their temporary orders would “count” against the duration of alimony. read more...


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