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

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