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.

Working with Collaborative Professionals

On May 8, 2015, Karen presented with Susan Miller, CPA, of Aurora Financial Services, Wellesley, MA, and Dr. Sanford M. Portnoy, Ph.D., at the very first Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council Support Staff Workshop. The workshop attendees were paralegals, legal assistants, receptionists and other legal support staff who are often the first contact a client has with a law office and the Collaborative Law process.

Karen and her colleagues presentation was entitled “Working with Collaborative Professionals,” and focused on teaching support staff the “rhythm” of a Collaborative case, including pre-briefs, debriefs, and how support staff can work best with the Collaborative professionals in a case particularly around scheduling and meeting preparation. The role of the coach was also discussed including how emotionality in divorce is handled differently in the Collaborative Law process compared to other legal processes. Both of Karen’s legal assistants, Jackie and Paula, attended. The workshop was a great success!

Legal Ethics Discussion

On April 16, 2015, Karen Levitt and Emily Weber from the Levitt Law Group, and Jeanmarie Papelian (formerly of the McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton Professional Association),  organized and co-facilitated a joint meeting of the Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire and two Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council practice groups, the Northern Massachusetts Practice Group and the Tri-River Practice Group.  Entitled “Ethics Café” and held at the McLane law firm’s Woburn, MA office, Collaborative practitioners from both jurisdictions considered four ethical questions and had a lively discussion about them all!

Societal Expectations and Life Experiences Colliding in Monetary Negotiations

Emily A. Weber, Karen J. Levitt, and Lynn L. Cooper, Ed.D, have been selected by the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council to present at its May 1, 2015 Advanced Training Forum, “Money Talks: “What Does it Say & What Does It Really Mean?”.

The presentation Emily, Karen and Lynn will be giving is entitled “Societal Expectations and Life Experiences Colliding in Monetary Negotiations,” and will focus on the impact of societal expectations on how we think, and how we expect others to think, about money, as well as the effect of these expectations on actual negotiations.