Circumstance = Opportunity

Use Mediation or Collaborative Law for Resolving Divorce Out of Court

Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”.  With limited access to the Courts right now due to Covid-19, why not try to resolve your divorce or other family law conflict out of court?

You don’t have to wait for the Courts to reopen, and in fact you shouldn’t – even when they open, they have a back log and it will take some time for your case to move through the Court system. You can turn these extraordinary circumstances in which we are currently living,  into an opportunity to resolve your case using an out of court dispute resolution process such as Mediation or Collaborative Law.

In Mediation you hire a neutral third party who is usually an attorney, who works with you and your spouse to resolve your differences and reach agreement.

In Collaborative Law, both you and your spouse have attorneys at the table who are advocates not adversaries, and who take a settlement approach rather than the litigation route to help  you and your spouse reach a mutually beneficial agreement for the family. Continue reading “Circumstance = Opportunity”

Training to be a Collaborative Law Attorney

Attorney Karen J. Levitt was a guest lecturer again this past fall at the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, MA. Karen spoke to a lively group of law students in their Collaborative Justice course, taught by Assistant Dean and Professor of Law Paula Kaldis. Karen spoke about Collaborative Law, its use in divorce and family law, and its application in business and probate disputes. Karen focused on the Collaborative Law process, training to be a Collaborative Law attorney, and the intentional focus on settlement in Collaborative Law which is different than the traditional ligation model which is focused on “winning”. The law students were very astute in their questions, really wanting to learn about different kind of dispute resolution processes. Law students often have no real life experience in dispute resolution, and as lawyers will ultimately be part of some type of dispute resolution process whether it is in or out of court, Karen enjoys teaching and sharing her knowledge and experience with law students. Karen formerly taught legal research and writing to first year law students at Boston University School of Law.

Tis The Season for Divorce (and Dispute Resolution)? Why More Marriages end in August

Are there “Seasons” for Divorce?

Vacations, outdoor events, the beginning of a new school year – for many, August is synonymous with family time. But for some, this month marked the season for divorce.

Research from the University of Washington found the number of divorce filings in a number of states consistently peaked in the months of August and March. What’s behind the seasonal up-tick? Several factors could be at play.  “Rather than a time of bonding, the holidays and vacation periods can often lead to disappointment as couples and families discover that increased time together may exacerbate existing problems rather than help mend them,” Anne Tamar-Mattis, attorney and Executive Director of the IACP said.

Tamar-Mattis is the Executive Director of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), a global membership-based organization that aims to keep these divorcing couples and their children out of court by using Collaborative Law. Continue reading “Tis The Season for Divorce (and Dispute Resolution)? Why More Marriages end in August”

Collaboration: What does it really mean?

You have finally decided to move forward with divorce and to consult with an attorney.  However, you don’t know what to expect.  You have heard horror stories about what happens in Court, and you are concerned about the impact of divorce on you and your family, both emotionally and financially.  You really want to work things out by agreement with your spouse, but don’t know how best to do that.

You have heard about Collaborative Law and Mediation; or maybe you haven’t heard either of these processes, but the lawyer you consult tells you about them.  Or what if your spouse consults with a lawyer first, and tells you that they want to proceed with divorce using the Collaborative Law Process or Mediation? Continue reading “Collaboration: What does it really mean?”

Attorney Karen J. Levitt Faculty at September 2019 MCLC Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law Training

Attorney Karen J. Levitt will be one of the faculty at the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council’s Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law Training, scheduled for September 19, 2019 and September 20, 2019 at MGM Springfield, MA.

The training will benefit a wide variety of professionals from different disciplines, including family and business law attorneys, financial professionals, psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals, coaches and mediators, child development and co-parenting specialists and anyone working with family or business clients in divorce or other conflicts. Continue reading “Attorney Karen J. Levitt Faculty at September 2019 MCLC Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law Training”

Attorney Karen J. Levitt presenter at MCLE program in June 2019

Attorney Karen J. Levitt is going to be a co-presenter with Attorneys Karen Van Kooy and Cynthia Runge at a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education program scheduled for June 11, 2019, entitled “Representing Moderate Income Family Law Clients – Working Efficiently.”

The program, which is for attorneys, will help attorneys think about ways to efficiently represent clients on a limited budget, and how to advise clients on leveraging their options and still have good representation but in a cost-conscious manner. Continue reading “Attorney Karen J. Levitt presenter at MCLE program in June 2019”

Attorney Karen J. Levitt selected as Workshop Presenter at International Conference

Attorney Karen J. Levitt was selected to be a presenter at two different workshops at the October 25-28, 2018 Annual Forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).

The theme of this year’s conference is “Collaborative Creativity” in divorce and family law.  The conference is being held in Seattle, Washington. Attendance is by attorneys, financial, mental health and other collaborative professionals from countries around the world who practice in divorce and family law.

Continue reading “Attorney Karen J. Levitt selected as Workshop Presenter at International Conference”

Divorce and Family Court Financial Statements: What we love and hate about them!

Each party in a divorce must complete a financial statement form and file with the Court to get divorced in Massachusettsit’s required.  Yet the financial statement form comes with little if any instructions.  Most clients and their attorneys hate these forms because they’re time consuming and painful to complete. However, learning why the form is necessary and how it’s used may make you love (or at least not hate) the form!

7 tips for completing the family court financial statements:

  1. The Court financial statement form incorporates the concept of full disclosure of income, assets, expenses, and liabilities. Why?  Because in divorce you are dividing or reallocating income, assets, expenses and liabilities, and can’t do so without knowing what those are.  The Court financial statement form that each party completes, lays it all out there for both parties to see.  This allows the Court to be sure that the parties have a shared understanding of their finances, and to determine if an agreement with respect to those finances is fair and reasonable.

Continue reading “Divorce and Family Court Financial Statements: What we love and hate about them!”

Attorney Karen J. Levitt to Present Workshop at MCLC 2018

Attorney Karen J. Levitt and her colleagues psychologist Gina Arons, Psy.D and Attorney Patrice Brymner, have been selected by the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council (“MCLC”) to present one of the four workshops at the MCLC 2018 Collaborative Practice Forum: Collaborative Leadership: Modeling Collaborative Values In Business, Life And Community, which is scheduled for April 27, 2018 at the Four Points Sheraton, Norwood, MA. Entitled “Navigating Leadership: The Rough Seas of Family Business & Divorce”, the workshop addresses how the Collaborative Law process can be used to help couples who have a family business navigate not just their divorce, but the division of the business and the running of the business both during and after divorce. Addressing family businesses in divorce not only may require a complex financial analysis, but the issue of leadership of the business to ensure its continuation post-divorce can be a challenge. The conference is attended by attorneys, financial professionals, and mental health professionals. Attorney Karen J. Levitt is excited to be part of this exciting conference!

Weber Elected to MA Collaborative Law Council Board

At the March 2015 Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council Annual Meeting, Attorney Emily Weber was elected to the organization’s Board of Directors, along with Linda Cohan, MSW, CSC, Attorney Jeffrey Fink, and Cathy Heenan, Ed.D. Emily looks forward to continuing her work with the organization in further developing the practice of Collaborative Law in Massachusetts. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, Emily was named Chair of the Advanced Training Subcommittee for 2015-2016.  Emily is joined on the subcommittee by Attorneys Patrice Brymner and Karen Levitt, and Dr. Allison Bell, Psy.D. Emily also continues as Co-Chair of the Tri-River Practice Group with Karen Levitt.

On May 1,  2015, MCLC’s Advanced Training Subcommittee hosted an Advanced Training Forum, “Money Talks: What Does it Say & What Does it Really Mean?” In addition to working with the rest of the subcommittee to organize the Forum, Emily also co-presented a workshop at the Forum.