REPORT ON LDRC
Welcome to our Fall 2013 newsletter. We had a great summer including lots of good work, travel and two new grandsons.
For those of us who work primarily in the family law area, it is a time of change and intellectual interest. With the 2012 alimony “reform” legislation just now begetting appellate case law (the first case, Green v. Green, just arrived) is challenging advocates, mediators and arbitrators, as are the implications of our brand new Child Support Guidelines (eff. 8/1/13) after quadrennial review. We have been actively blogging on these topics, as well as working with them hands on; and as always, we invite you to subscribe to our for-the-most-part-weekly blog, for brief takes on these evolving matters. A portal to the LDRC blog appears here.
Over the summer, Bill taught arbitration as a part of a four-member faculty in Chicago, as part of AAML’s continuing effort to promote and refine family law arbitration, by training excellent arbitrators. He is launching into another season, now, of promoting a dedicated statute for Massachusetts, a true challenge, but a worthwhile one. Meanwhile, his arbitration work continues to grow despite the lack of a refined statute here, because the need for it is real, and its advantages manifest. Our blog frequently features arbitration, too.
This fall, Chouteau will begin volunteer service on a pilot project for the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice Angela Ordonez. The Limited Issues Settlement Conference project begins in November, 2013, sited for statewide use at the Probate and Family Court in Canton, MA. As a retired Probate Court judge, she will join former colleagues in assisting to resolve cases that are close to settlement, but for defined outstanding issues, in courthouse conferences geared towards attaining final resolution and a judgment on the conference day. The conferences will occur monthly with each judge handling a day’s worth of business.
Meanwhile, Bill continues to work with the Probate Court’s Interdisciplinary Settlement Conference project that has been in action for several years now, pairing a lawyer-mediator with a mental health professional, to help resolve cases after pre-trial conference and that involve at least some aspect of parenting.
We believe that supporting the courts and community by helping to resolve cases short of public trial is consistent with the mission of LDRC, easing the load of the courts a bit while reducing trauma to families in transition, throughout the Commonwealth.
Both Bill and Chouteau have been named to 2014’s Best Lawyers (Smith and Naifeh, Best Lawyers in America) in all three categories of: mediation, family mediation and arbitration. We are honored and pleased.
Finally, we continue our practice here of presenting diverse writings from friends and colleagues.
In this newsletter, you will read about:
-- “Overcoming Barriers”, a collaboration of psychologists, Robin Deutsch, Ph.D. and Peggy Ward, Ph.D., and Massachusetts Chief Probation Officer (Norfolk Probate and Family Court) Donna Feinberg, LICSW. In its fifth year, this program is a non-profit summer camp program for families enmeshed in high-conflict divorce, and our authors report on progress of this important initiative.
-- “Breaking Up With Your Mortgage”, a practical look at the challenges of re-financing homes in the wake of divorce in the post 2008 underwriting environment, a movable feast that is mysterious and perplexing to those going through it both as clients and as advisors, offered by Sheira MacKenzie , a Senior Loan Originator and Divorce Specialist with Fairway Independent Mortgage.
-- “The Entrepreneur’s Legacy: Preparing Family Finances for a Business Owner’s Passing”, by Lake Street Advisors, LLC’s Senior Relationship Manager, Judith Schreiber Rowland, JD, CPA, about realism and planning for that which none of wants to plan, really.
We thank all of these wonderful contributors and encourage any of you who wish to reach our readership in a future newsletter to send your writings (they need not be created exclusively or expressly for us), along with your logo and/or headshot if you wish, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please look for our upcoming article, Massachusetts Alimony Reform and Divorce Mediation: Is it Information or Legal Advice?, in the Fall 2013 issue of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation’s “Family Mediation Quarterly”. You can also look back at our piece: Its No Sin: Filing and Serving A Complaint Before or During Family Mediation in FMQ’s Spring 2013 issue. MCFM’s website is www.mcfm.org.
As this is published, we are recently returned from the second annual conference of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, in Denver. More on that later.
Have a great fall season and wonderful holidays; and see you on the blog.
Chouteau and Bill