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.