Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Same-Sex Divorce, Parentage for Same Sex Couples - A Networking/Professional Development Event


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crown Plaza Boston – Newton Hotel
320 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02458

5:30-6:00 PM Meet and talk with other professionals – Share ideas ~
Make new contacts ~ Enjoy refreshments
6:00-7:30 PM Lecture and Discussion

Attorney Joyce Kauffman will discuss the intricacies and complications of same sex divorce. Discussion will include:

• Impact of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act;
• Custody and Parentage Issues;
• Portability of Same Sex Marriage;
• Dissolution of Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions.

Speaker Biography: JOYCE KAUFFMAN is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and a trained Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer. Her practice focuses exclusively on family law, with an emphasis on issues impacting the LGBT community. Attorney Kauffman is a member of the Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, former co-chair of the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association (now known as the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association), and former chair of that organization’s Family Law Section. She is also a member of the Emeritus Board of Directors of Family Equality, a national organization advocating for the rights of LGBTQ families. Lawyers Weekly selected her as one of the Lawyers of the Year in 2009.

Register here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Seeking a Marketing Consultant

The Divorce Center is a Massachusetts non-profit that educates and connects the public and professionals who specialize in Divorce resources (attorneys, financial planners, mediators, therapists, etc.). We are looking for help in reaching the public with our message, and of the highest priority in doing this is increasing attendance at our public education seminars (which to date have primarily been marketed via word-of-mouth and brochures through our membership). We believe that attendance could be increased by advertising in traditional and social media resources (which we could use professional expertise to connect with) and by increasing our online content resources.

We are hoping to find a part-time consultant to work with us on (and who has experience in) the following:

1. Developing an organizational strategy for involving membership in production of content (articles, presentations, etc.)

2. Developing (and assisting in the execution of) direct marketing of seminars.

3. Developing (and assisting in the execution of) advertising of seminars both through social media (twitter, facebook, linkedIn) and traditional media (local community resources, newspapers, etc.)

Ideally we would find someone who has experience with non-profit organizations and with our niche market (divorcing or potentially divorcing clients).

We are looking for proposals for a six-month part-time partnership, with the possibility of further work depending on results.

Please forward this to any contacts you may have that might be interested in this position or feel free to let us know the names of any people or resources that you believe could assist us in finding the right candidate.

Candidates can contact us at (888) 434-8787 or

Thank you for your time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Annual Meeting and Professional Development Event

Topic: "Immigraton Issues in Family Law"

Speaker: Attorney Srinivas Ramineni

Attorney Ramineni practiced in India before coming to the United States, where he graduated cum laude from Suffolk University Law School. His practice, located in Waltham, includes both immigration and family law. He is knowledgeable about the legal, practical and emotional issues that are present when immigration and family law intersect. Join us as Attorney Ramineni discusses this timely topic that impacts all areas of family law.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 from 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM (ET)

5:30 - 6:30 PM - Get-together & Annual Membership Meeting
Gourmet Hors d'Oeuvres Buffet will be served. Cash bar available.
6:30 - 8 PM - Professional Development Event

at the Crowne Plaza Hotel
320 Washington Street
Exit 17 off the Mass Pike
Newton MA

Register Here.

Access to Justice: New Procedures in Probate & Family Court

On March 15, 2010, the Chief Justice of the Probate & Family Court released uniform Probate and Family Court Scheduling Practices and Procedures.

These procedures include certain requirements intended to promote predictability and uniformity of practice for the scheduling of all types of hearings in the Probate and Family Courts throughout the Commonwealth. The practices include mandatory scheduling of a next event and other requirements intended to keep cases moving forward.

One of the changes is to the Motion scheduling practice. Although some courts, such as Plymouth Probate & Family Court, previously allowed for scheduling of Motions at the discretion of the litigants (within the Notice rules), other courts, such as Norfolk, Middlesex and Suffolk Counties, only allowed for scheduling of Motions by the rules of their individual trial departments. According to the Chief Justice's new procedures:

"There shall be no restrictions on the number or timing of motions which
may be filed except as set forth above regardless of the nature of the underlying

The exception is that the First Justices shall have discretion, with the approval of the Chief Justice, to limit the marking of Motions. "Any limitation on motion sessions approved by the Chief Justice shall be posted in the division (Registry of Probate and courtrooms) and on the web site of the Probate and Family Court."

This should result in greater consistency throughout the counties, something probably more noticeable to attorneys than individual litigants. In the counties that used to limit the number of Motions, this will also result in getting into court more quickly (usually something desired by clients).

There is a downside though as well. At a recent Motion session in Suffolk which I attended with a client, there were 76 Motions scheduled. Luckily we were number three, but I would hate to be number 76. Although you might get into court a week or two before you otherwise would have, you should plan to be there all day.

Hopefully, as the courts get used to the new system these overloaded days will be less likely. Either way, I believe consistency of procedure among the counties is a good thing. Access to Justice should be the same no matter where you live.

Reposted with permission from the Kelsey & Trask, P.C. Family Law Blog.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What if I can't take the Parent Education Course? Is there an alternative option?

Under Standing Order 99-1 of the Probate & Family Court, if you have any minor children at the time of the filing of your divorce case, you are required to attend the Court-sponsored Parents Apart education program before you can present either a settlement of your case, or present your case for trial. A brochure which lists the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the various organizations that provide this program, in alphabetical order by town, is available by clicking here.

You should immediately enroll in and attend this course because your case cannot end until you have completed the course, which consists of two 3 hour sessions. After completion of the program you will be provided with a golden Certificate of Completion, which you must provide to the Court. If you give this golden copy to your attorney, they can ensure that it is properly filed with the Court and this requirement fulfilled.

But, what if you can't attend?

I have worked on numerous cases where one of the parties had moved to another country or state and was unable to return to Massachusetts to take the course, usually due to financial constraints. In those limited circumstances, Judge's will sometimes allow a Motion to Waive Attendance.

Pursuant to a recent Press Release from the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Department, dated April 12, 2010, the court may suggest use of a DVD as a replacement for participation in the program (as a an alternative to a complete waiver).

According to the Press Release: "On a limited basis, use of a DVD program entitled KidCare for Co-Parents: An Educational Program for Divorcing Families is now available when a judge is considering a waiver.

KidCare for Co-Parents is a four and a half hour multimedia, interactive program which can be used with a DVD player on either a personal computer or a television screen. Completion of the interactive aspects of the DVD is required in order to obtain the Certificate of Attendance which must then be provided to the Court."

Friday, April 30, 2010

Issues in Divorce with Families with Disabled Persons

The Divorce Center presents the next Networking/Professional Development Event:

Issues in Divorce with Families with Disabled Persons

5:30 - 6:00 PM - Meet and talk with other professionals
Share ideas, make new contacts, enjoy refreshments
6:00 - 7:30 PM - Lecture and Discussion

Effective counseling for divorcing families that include persons with disabilities requires addressing the complex issues faced by these families. What do you do when a spouse has a significant mental health problem or chronic illness? What needs to be addressed where the parties have a child with special needs? What role do government benefits play in crafting an appropriate settlement? Come and learn to identify potential issues when a divorcing family also faces the challenges of disability.

Alexandra "Sasha" Golden

Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is the Principal of Golden Law Center located in Needham. She has provided legal services to the elderly, persons with disabilities and their families for over 15 years. She serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Guardianship Association and is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and the Probate Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association. She also serves as a guardian ad litem on behalf of persons with disabilities in the Probate Court. Ms. Golden received both her undergraduate and law degrees from Boston College.

Wellesley Public Library
Main Branch - Arnold Room
530 Washington St
Wellesley, MA 02482

Register Online Here

Saturday, April 10, 2010

PAUL R. BLATCHFORD - What does a Vocational Expert do?

Meet Paul R. Blatchford – one of our newer members of the Board of Directors. Unlike many of our other board members, Paul is not an attorney, nor is he a psychologist or a financial planner. Paul is a vocational consultant and expert.

Paul graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. He subsequently earned a Masters in Educational Counseling from Suffolk University. Additionally, he has had extensive training for Vocational Testing and Labor Market Research. Paul is certified by the American Board of Vocational Experts as a Diplomate – the highest status that one can reach.

After graduating from college, Paul initially worked for Youth Activities of Southeastern Massachusetts, providing services to the Welfare Department under the Work Incentive (WIN) program. In this capacity, Paul provided counseling, vocational training, and assisted in job placement of women who were welfare recipients. Paul also worked with severely handicapped individuals for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. For seventeen years, he was contracted by the Social Security Administration to provide testimony in disability hearings, as an impartial vocational expert.

As a member of the Board of Directors, Paul also serves as Co-Chair of the Professional Development Committee. This committee is the arm of The Divorce Center which offers seminars to our membership and other professionals interested in a particular topic. He is also member of the National Association of Disability Evaluators (NADE), and the International Association of Rehabilitative Professionals (IARP).

Paul has maintained a private practice as a vocational consultant for more than thirty years. He has been qualified as an expert witness by numerous federal, state, and administrative bodies. He has offices in Brookline and Worcester.

What exactly does a Vocational Consultant do?

Initially, consultant assesses the capacity of a person to do work and to earn money. If a person is able to work, then the vocational expert determines this person’s ability to sustain work, i.e., whether the person can work full time or part time. This assessment is done by gathering vocational information such as the person’s age, education, prior work history, and presence or absence of disability. Once this information is compiled, the vocational expert develops an analysis of the individual’s vocational profile and earning capacity. In certain instances, standardized vocational testing can be utilized.

Who would have need for a Vocational Expert? Various organizations, such as the Industrial Accident Board and the Social Security Administration, along with attorneys who concentrate in divorce cases, wrongful death, personal injury, long-term disability, and medical malpractice cases utilize these specialized evaluations.

Why and when would a divorce attorney require such services? In divorce litigation, an attorney may want his or her client’s employability factors analyzed to determine what type of jobs (full or part-time) their client would potentially be able to perform. The expert witness would also determine the earning capacity associated with those jobs. In divorce litigation, it can also be beneficial for an attorney to secure this information on their client’s unemployed or underemployed spouse. This information can be utilized in mediation or in trial. It can provide a judge or mediator with data necessary to make an informed decision.

It is helpful for an attorney to hire a vocational consultant, such as Paul, prior to drafting the interrogatories and prior to conducting any depositions. Paul could utilize his expertise to assist the attorney in knowing what questions to ask for both of these discovery tools.

When Paul is not working, he is very involved with his family. He is married and has two teen-aged children. If Paul is not at home or working, you might be able to find him fishing on Cape Cod, or maintaining his colorful and diverse garden.

If you would like to speak with Paul regarding his fees or to find out more about his services, he may be reached by calling 617-244-5642 or emailing him at

Free Divorce Seminar Series - Spring 2010

The Divorce Center
in association with the Waban Improvement Society
is proud to present

Everything You Want to Know About Divorce in Massachusetts
And Now You Can Ask.....

Tuesdays, starting April 27, 2010 at The Waban Library Center
Wednesdays, starting May 5, 2010 at Braintree Rehab Hospital
Both venues: 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Metrowest Address: Waban Library Center, 1608 Beacon St, Newton (Waban)

Braintree Address: Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital, 250 Pond St., Braintree

Session 1: What is the process and where do I start?
Date: April 27, 2010 - Waban
Date: May 5, 2010 - Braintree

This session provides valuable, practical information about the divorce process and its alternatives (litigation vs. mediation/arbitration vs. collaboration) and how to choose the right attorney.

You will:
Learn where and how to begin
Hear what needs to be filed and where
Gain appreciation for the important role of the Family Service Officers

Laura Unflat, Esq., Rebecca Gagne, Esq., Barbara Marcus, Mediator - (Waban)
Rebecca Gagne, Esq., Lisa Lewis, Mediator, Karl Topor, Esq. - (Braintree)

Session 2: How do I protect my finances?
Date: May 4, 2010 - Metrowest
Date: May 12, 2010 - Braintree

This session delivers tips about mandatory financial disclosures, court rules, the "discovery" process, the form and importance of motions for temporary orders. Learn the criteria considered by the courts to determine alimony and child support orders and whether a spouse should be ordered to move out of the marital home.

You will:
Hear who should pay for medical insurance and expenses
Learn about the tax benefits (and burdens) to paying (and receiving) alimony vs. child support
Gain knowledge of what is considered “marital property” and how to divide it equitably and efficiently (including gifts and inheritances)
Receive tips on what judges look for and how to maximize your chances of getting a better financial award or settlement

Karen Buckley, Esq., Barbara Shapiro, Financial Planner, Barbie Jetter, Mortgage Expert - (Waban)
Barbara Shapiro, Financial Planner, Barbie Jetter, Mortgage Expert, Karen Buckley, Esq. - (Braintree)

Session 3: What about my children?
Date: May 11, 2010 - Waban
Date: May 19, 2010 - Braintree

This session offers valuable information on the different types of custody arrangements available to divorced parents.

You will:
Gain a full understanding of the roles and utilities of a Guardian ad Litem and a Parenting Coordinator
Receive tips on writing a reasonable, workable parenting plan
Learn what judges look for when crafting custodial orders and how to maximize your chances of getting the most favorable custodial order or settlement
Learn whether you or your spouse may relocate with the children in or outside the state, if court approval is required, and, if so, what judges look for when making move-related decisions.

Justin Kelsey, Esq., Deb Smith, GAL/Parent Coordinator, Beth Ross, Mental Health Expert - (Waban)
Sue Klueppel, Esq., Alan Albert, Mental Health Expert; Tanya Gurevich, Parent Coordinator/GAL; Larry Dannenberg, College Solutions - (Braintree)

Session 4: Where do I go from here?
Date: May 18, 2010 - Waban
Date: May 26, 2010 - Braintree

Topics: This session focuses on delivering strategies for coping with divorce stress and pressure that can be brought on by managing changes in your daily life, helping your children adjust, coping with time-sharing holidays and vacations and dealing with overall schedule changes.

You will:
Gain understanding about the psychological stages of divorce and its impact on you, your life, your family and your settlement possibilities
Learn ways of developing coping strategies to manage stress, balance family and work and gain control of your life
Hear how a satisfactory divorce judgment and/or agreement can be modified

Bryna Kleven, Esq., Fran Davis, Mental Health Expert - (Waban)
Rachel Condon, Esq., Beth Ross, Mental Health Expert - (Braintree)

Question and Answer period after each session

Program is being provided free of charge

(Suggested Donation $20. per session)

Register via mail at
The Divorce Center, P.O. Box 1207, Framingham, MA. 01701
Include your name, address, phone and email (for verification of registration), and desired class location.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Unemployed/Underemployed Spouse in a Divorce

Paul Blatchford, a member of the Board of Directors of The Divorce Center, is scheduled to speak, along with Mary R. LaCivita of the Boston Law Collaborative, LLC at the Boston Bar Association regarding how to use a vocational expert in your family law case, including topics on selling the idea to the client, demonstrating the likely return on their investment, considerations for attributing income to an unemployed/underemployed spouse (such as how the new Child Support Guidelines are affected by attributed income) and how such a report can be the impetus for settlement.

The program is entitled The Unemployed/Underemployed Spouse in a Divorce Case.

The program, sponsored by the BBA’s Family Law Section, is at the Boston Bar Association's office on 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA on Tuesday, April 13th from 5:30 to 6:30 immediately following the Family Law Steering Committee’s meeting at 4:30.

Paul and Mary will discuss and answer questions regarding when to engage a vocational expert in a divorce case, how to utilize and work with a vocational expert, selling the idea of a vocational expert to your client and demonstrating the likely return on their investment, attributing income to an unemployed/underemployed spouse such as how the new Child Support Guidelines handle attributed income and how a vocational evaluation of an unemployed/underemployed spouse can be an impetus for settlement or used at trial.

For further details or to sign up visit the BBA's site here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Meet the Board - Barbara Marcus and Lisa Lewis

Barbara Marcus and Lisa Lewis are both members of the Board of Directors of the Divorce Center and serve on the Public Education committee. Lisa and Barbara are both mediators and the founding partners of Navigating Resolutions, a mediation and conflict management firm. They help families have difficult conversations and make difficult decisions in a private and confidential setting. Their family mediation practice includes divorce, post-divorce, elder, disabilities and special needs.

Lisa has received extensive advanced mediation training in divorce, elder issues, landlord/tenant, collaborative law, negotiation, facilitation, parent coordination and Non Violent Communication. She gained invaluable experience serving as a volunteer mediator on the Boston Municipal and District Court Mediation Panel of Mediation Works Inc. She is also the Mediation Coordinator for Dance New England. Lisa received her BA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University, Marietta, Georgia. She operated a private chiropractic practice for 18 years in Scituate, MA. Lisa has 3 children and one grandson and enjoys dancing Swing and Argentine tango.

Barbara has received advanced education in collaborative law, parent /child, divorce, elder, marital and landlord /tenant mediation, parent coordination, advocacy, special needs planning and disability issues. Barbara currently mediates family and civil cases for the Harvard Mediation Program and Metropolitan Mediation Services, Brookline. She is a case liaison for Small Claims Court in Quincy, Massachusetts and a trainer for the family and peer mediation programs at both Harvard and Metropolitan Mediation. Barbara also serves on Mediation Works Inc. Boston Municipal and District Court Mediation Panel. Barbara received her BS in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University, a Masters in Public Health from Boston University and a Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution from University of Massachusetts Boston. She has worked extensively with families impacted by disabilities and special needs in community health settings and public schools. Barbara has two grown children and enjoys bicycle riding and knitting. She co-chairs the No Place For Hate Committee of the Anti- Defamation League in Hingham MA, coordinating community based educational programs.

Lisa and Barbara are both members of the Association for Conflict Resolution, New England chapter of the ACR, Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation and Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council. Integrating their experiences in healthcare and mediation, Lisa and Barbara bring a unique perspective to problem solving and help clients be proactive in their approach.

Navigating Resolutions is based on the South Shore, however Lisa and Barbara often travel throughout the greater Boston area to meet clients in order to better serve their needs.

To learn more please see their website at:
or call them at 617-633-4716.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meet the Board - David L. Seaquist, Ph.D., Co-President

David is a practicing psychologist providing counseling services to individuals/groups including computerized tests, couples counseling, biofeedback, stress management, performance enhancement and career counseling. He has administered clinical services as part of the Department of Mental Health in MA., was Director of Counseling & Study Services at Boston University and provided psychological testing consultation for Law Enforcement agencies in both Iowa and MA.

Before coming to MA., David was Chief Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Counseling Center & College of Education at Drake University in Des Moines and also Staff Counselor at University of Minnesota. His professional affiliations include the American Psychological Association, Iowa Psychological Association, and MA. PsychologicalAssociation. Extremely adept with a computer, David's other interests include sailing, music and nature and golf.

David is a past President of the Divorce Center,a former Vice President, past coordinator of the Parents Apart court-mandated course, was a member of the Professional Development committee, and a frequent speaker at the public education series.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Networking/Professional Development Breakfast: Using Social Networking Technology


Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and blogs are all tools that a divorce professional can use to build one’s practice and inform and communicate with clients. Learn how to effectively use these tools to better serve your clients and expand your audience.

Justin Kelsey, Esq. - Attorney Kelsey is a partner in the law firm of Kelsey & Trask P.C. in Natick, where he concentrates his practice in domestic relations and bankruptcy law. He is the author of two law-related blogs: Scaling the Summit: A Family Law Blog; and Don’t Go Alone: A Bankruptcy Law Blog. To learn more about Justin L. Kelsey visit his Google profile.

Newton Marriott(Intersection Rte. 95/128, Mass Pike & Rte. 30) In the Restaurant

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
7:30 – 8:00 AM Meet and talk with other professionals – Share ideas
Make new contacts – Enjoy full buffet breakfast
8:00 – 9:30 AM Lecture and Discussion

Register Online HERE!

We hope to see you there!