Summer is a welcome occurrence for us, as we expect it is for all of you. We are enjoying our maturing practice, mostly providing Boston area divorce mediation and arbitration services, but more generally with family law and other substantive areas of private dispute resolution services in Westwood and Northampton, MA. Our practice continues to be predominantly mediation-focused, but we have also been very busy with private conciliations, arbitrations and master appointment work. We continue to write, teach and train actively. Chouteau taught high school civics in the Boston Bar Association’s Law Day service effort, while both of us have continued to train mediators. Bill is looking forward to training family law arbitrators in Chicago later this summer for the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (www.aaml.org); and he has recently attained new mediator designations from the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation (www.mcfm.org), the Association for Conflict Resolution (www.acrnet.org) and the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (www.apfmnet.org), of which both Chouteau and Bill are Founding Fellows. We are pleased by the end of DOMA and are actively reviewing the new Child Support Guidelines. We will be actively blogging on both, and applying them in our cases, hopefully maximizing our clients' knowledge and enhancing their negotiations.

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 Counsel of 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.

This summer’s newsletter features three guest writers from diverse backgrounds, disciplines and perspectives. Beth Gamel, a founder and principal of Pillar Financial Advisors offers a brief set of alerts and practical suggestions about Estate Planning after ATRA, the most recent set of changes to United States tax laws. They can make a difference! We also provide Beth's recent guest post on our blog on Sudden Wealth. It doubles as a portal to our blog. For those focused on family law, attorney Bob Rivers of Lee, Rivers & Corr LLP, reprises Child Support Orders in High Income Cases — Searching for Guidelines, his well-received piece on the challenge for lawyers, courts and Massachusetts divorce mediators and divorce arbitrators alike: namely, discerning those factors that are influential is negotiating or deciding child support when income levels of the parties significantly exceed the $250,000.00 maximum threshold of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. With the new guidelines (eff. August 1, 2013) just released by the Trial Court Chief Justice, the subject has continuing primacy. Finally, for dispute resolution theory enthusiasts, we welcome organizational psychologist, Barry Stein, of Goodmeasure, Inc., who considers Managing Organizational Conflicts, about addressing and more importantly avoiding dysfunctional conflict in business and institutional settings. Dr. Stein’s thoughtful piece is relevant for all dispute resolvers and company managers.

Last, and we hope not least, please feel welcome to peruse our LDRC Blog. The recent posts will get you into our broader blog on the website; and it will enable you to grab the RSS feed, if you would like. And, don’t forget to send us your original or re-printed pieces that you would like to see in one of our newsletters (or guest blog), along with headshot and/or logo, if so moved. Bill's email is wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com.

Have a great summer.
Chouteau and Bill

Estate Planning After ATRA

By: Beth Gamel

These significant changes to the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax system in the recently enacted American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) present new estate, gift and insurance planning opportunities.

  • The estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemptions are set at $5.25 million per individual for 2013 and will be indexed for inflation going forward.
  • The top transfer tax rate is 40% (up from 35% in 2012; down from 45% in 2009).
  • Spousal portability was permanently extended.

Sudden Wealth

By: Beth Gamel

While receiving a windfall sounds like a dream come true, even well educated, sophisticated individuals find sudden wealth a surprising mix of opportunity and challenge. Whether the sudden wealth comes from the sale of a business or real estate, an inheritance, a divorce settlement or a lottery prize, it means a significant change in your circumstances. read more...

Child Support Orders in High Income Cases — Searching for Guidelines

By: Robert J. Rivers, Jr., Esquire

Our Child Support Guidelines (the "Guidelines") "are not meant to apply where the combined annual gross income of the parties exceeds $250,000.00. In cases where income exceeds this limit, the court should consider the award of support at the $250,000.00 level as the minimum presumptive order. Additional amounts of child support may be awarded in the Court's discretion." Child Support Guidelines, Part II, Section C (2009) (emphasis added).  read more...

Managing Organizational Conflict

By: Barry A Stein, PhD

Conflict is a part of life and a fact of life. Its presence can never be eliminated (nor should it be) but it can be adjusted, modified, resolved or eliminated and in general changed to be less costly, painful or difficult, and often more useful. There are many different ways of dealing with it, and most of them by far are simply part of the normal ways people manage their lives, in and out of organizations. read more...

© 2019 Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC. Dedham and Northampton, MA
781.708.4445 | 413.341.1017 | Email: wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com

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