781.708.4445

wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com

Divorce Mediation Blog

WHAT THE #%&*?! Or, Yikes, It’s the Probate Court: Creedon v. Haynes

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Preface: We love the Probate and Family Court. It struggles daily with unrelenting demand, a vulnerable population, a crumbling social safety net, short staffs and an indifferent funding legislature. Between us, we made our living, and served, in the Probate Court for more than 5 decades. But, sometimes, you just shake your head, and say “You can't make this stuff up”. This is one of those days.

Creedon v. Haynes is a perfect storm of Massachusetts Probate and Family Court dysfunction:

    A separation agreement and divorce judgment required the husband to designate his children as beneficiaries of an existing life insurance policy with death benefits of $100,000.00.

    It didn’t specify any security purpose for the insurance benefits.

    He didn't have a life insurance policy.

    The Wife sued in contempt.

    A judge found Husband in contempt from the bench.

    The judge didn’t issue a paper judgment.

    The judgment never entered the docket.

    The wife asked that the court issue a written judgment.

    The contempt the judge had retired, so a new judge heard her motion.

    The new judge dismissed the wife’s contempt complaint because the children were adults.

Say, what?

Five years after the start of the contempt action, the Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed the dismissal and ordered the Probate Court to reduce the retired judge’s decision to writing. The appellate panel recounted, without any irony, its own decision to obtain the docket from the Probate Court, to search for the contempt judgment. Few Probate Court veterans are surprised to learn that the docket disclosed nothing useful.

How the wife successfully entered the appeal, without a paper judgment or supporting trial court docket entry, is mystery enough.

How the second Probate Court judge dismissed a complaint after her former colleague purported to enter judgment, on her own, and without request by the defendant, is equally curious.

Whether the first judge actually did not produce a written judgment, or if it somehow died in dictation, or if it sits in a dusty pile of paper somewhere in the courthouse to this day, is something that we will never know.

But, the wife will get her judgment; and, someday, she just may need to do something with it. Except, of course, when the wife finally does obtain her written judgment, and if it is docketed, the husband's appellate rights will begin.

Oh, my.



Get e-mail notifications of new blog posts! Enter email address below.:



Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles


recent posts


tags

dispute resolution Cohabitation Massachusetts divorce mediators family support Child Support Guidelines General term alimony medical benefits Levine Dispute Resolution Center fraud private dispute resolution Baseball health coverage divorce arbitrators Massachusetts alimony and child support med/arb Uniform Arbitration Act litigation COLA LDRC divorce arbitration family law arbitrator Alimony Reform Act arbitrator Massachusetts divorce lawyers Defense of Marriage Act Same Sex Marriage disputes annulment how baseball arbitration works self-adjusting alimony divorce and family law mediators health insurance lawyers mediator divorce lawyers divorce and family law mediators Matrimonial Arbitration Divorce Obamacare family and probate law disputes divorce agreement arbitration divorce arbitrator Boston Massachusetts alimony support orders resolve disputes alimony reform legislation child support Baseball Players DOMA Levine Dispute Resolutions divorce mediator high-risk methodology Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC Baseball Arbitration alimony law rehabilitative alimony divorce judgment Massachusetts Family Law Arbitration special master separation SJC arbitrators alimony statute divorce mediations Divorce Agreements MLB labor agreement lawyer Levine Dispute Resolution family mediation Major League Baseball Arbitration traditional negotiations The Seven Sins of Alimony facilitated negotiations med-arb Self-adjusting alimony orders Massachusetts lawyers divorce mediators alimony divorce process family law arbitrators mediation Act Reforming Alimony in the Commonwealth divorce mediation family law mediation Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly divorced pre-ARA alimony lawyer-attended mediation divorce litigation Chouteau Levine alimony orders conciliation IRC §2704 family law mediations