Online Mediation of High Conflict Cases

Attorney Karen J. Levitt Panelist at October 2020 APFM Conference with Bill Eddy, Sean Weber, and Michael Lomax: Online Mediation of High Conflict Cases

Attorney Karen J. Levitt is joining mediators Bill Eddy, Shawn Weber, and Michael Lomax as a panelist on a program entitled “High Conflict Personalities in Online Mediation”, to be presented at the Academy of  Professional Family Mediator’s (APFM) annual conference which is taking place October 16-17, 2020.  Attorney Levitt’s panel is scheduled for Saturday, October 17, 2020, at 2:30 pm EST.  Levitt will talk about mediating with high conflict personalities online from the “feet on the ground” perspective. As an attorney who mediates and does other forms of dispute resolution such as Collaborative Law, Levitt also litigates, providing in online mediation the court perspective which can help parties positively negotiate while understanding the legal framework for negotiations. Continue reading “Online Mediation of High Conflict Cases”

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”

Innovative and Strategic Use of Neutrals in Mediation

Attorney Karen J. Levitt’s presentation at the 2019 fall joint conference of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, Association of Divorce Financial Planners, and the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, with Susan M. Miller, CPA/PFS, CFP®, CDFA, Managing Director and Senior Wealth Advisor of The Colony Group, Wellesley, MA, and Karen Ela Kenny MSW, LICSW, of Nashua, NH, on “Innovative and Strategic Use of Neutrals in Mediation” was a success! Not only did 300 people attend the conference, but for the first time ever at this conference some of the presentations were selected to be live streamed and Karen’s workshop was one of them! The live streaming including attendance from coast to coast and around the world, including South Africa, Australia, Israel, Greece, France and Canada, for this first of its kind conference experience for a national mediation organization.

Pictured are Karen, Susan, and the “other” Karen at the conference after their presentation. The use of neutrals in mediation is often underutilized, and Karen wanted to share with participants how to identify what kind of neutral is needed, how to help the parties select the neutral, determining how best to work with the neutral and the clients in mediation, and learning how to be strategic as a mediator when using a neutral. The concepts provided at the presentation are also relevant to Collaborative Law and litigation. When using the term neutrals, it can encompass financial neutrals, vocational experts, business valuators, child specialists, and a myriad of other professionals to assist with specific issues in mediation. It can actually be less cost to clients to use a neutral for a particular purpose as the neutral is usually experienced and knowledgeable on a specific topic, and approaches the conflict from both parties’ points of view. The next APFM conference is this fall in Phoenix, Arizona, for more information go to www.apfmnet.org.

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”

Karen Levitt’s “Innovative and Strategic Use of Neutrals in Mediation” Workshop

Attorney Karen Levitt’s workshop on “Innovative and Strategic Use of Neutrals in Mediation” has been chosen by the Academy of Professional Mediators (APFM) to be one of its programs at APFM’s conference “The Next Generation of Innovation – Divorce Professionals Partnering for Excellence,” which will be held November 7-9, 2019 in Boston. Continue reading “Karen Levitt’s “Innovative and Strategic Use of Neutrals in Mediation” Workshop”

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”

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!”

Emily and Karen complete co-mediation divorce case

Emily and Karen just successfully completed their first co-mediation in a divorce case! It was very exciting to work together to mediate a divorce case with some difficult emotional and financial issues.

While all the attorneys at the Levitt Law Group mediate individually, co-mediation is another model that is helpful in difficult cases or in cases with multiple parties.