Friday, December 23, 2011

Divorce Books for Little Kids

Many will soon be giving or receiving holiday gift cards for a certain megabook chain or  So maybe now's a good time for some recommendations of books about divorce.  I just created two listamania lists on  One of them is a list of my recommended books for small children about divorce, and the other one is for a couple of books I recommend avoiding.   Below you will find the substance of both lists and my comments.  Happy Holidays!

These are good books for divorcing parents or other caregivers with children of preschool age. Read them first to see if they make sense for you and your own child.
Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child's Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce
1.  Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child's Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce by Tamara Schmitz

Dinosaurs Divorce
2.  Dinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown
The list author says:
"This book should stimulate discussion of more serious issues that may come up with slightly older children.  Use what you need, and ignore what you don't. You might choose to skip the part with mommy dinosaur drinking a martini with wine and liquor bottles, and a spilled pill bottle, behind her."

Two Homes
3.  Two Homes by Claire Masurel

Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two
4.  Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two by Isolina Ricci

Was It the Chocolate Pudding?: A Story For Little Kids About Divorce
5.  Was It the Chocolate Pudding?: A Story For Little Kids About Divorce by Sandra Levins

When I Miss You (The Way I Feel Books)

6.  When I Miss You (The Way I Feel Books) by Cornelia Maude Spelman

OK, now here are a few books to avoid:

If Daddy Only Knew Me
1.  If Daddy Only Knew Me by Lila Sprague McGinnis

Mom and Dad Don't Live Together Anymore
2.  Mom and Dad Don't Live Together Anymore by Kathy Stinson

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Probate and Family Court Rules

Revised rules for the Probate and Family Court of Massachusetts will go into effect January 2, 2012.  The new rules can be found on the website for the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries, as reported today in their blog:

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kobe Bryant Headed for Divorce

There's bound to be a bit of schadenfreude here in New England, as we Boston Celtics fans absorb the news of the impending divorce of our nemesis Kobe Bryant out in LA. But any divorce like this one - which involves two small children, ages five and eight - should be no cause for celebration.

On the bright side, it appears that this will be handled quickly and without painful public drama.  According to both TMZ and the LA Times, Kobe's wife Vanessa signed her petition on December 1, Kobe penned his response on December 7, papers were filed with the court on December 16, and the couple has already issued a joint statement late yesterday that they have come to an agreement privately through counsel and will have their divorce judgment entered next year.

According to TMZ, Kobe has already vacated their huge Newport Coast mansion, which wife Vanessa is to keep in their deal. It is clear from the filings, as released by TMZ, that Vanessa has claimed some jewelry as her separate property (including, presumably, the multi-million dollar ring Kobe gave her after his infidelity with the Colorado woman who accused him of rape back in 2003), that they did not have a prenuptial agreement, that she is seeking spousal support, and that both have requested joint physical and legal custody of their two girls.

Even though California has tightened up its rules for prenuptial agreements (following the Barry Bonds divorce, which was thought to have been unfair to his Swedish wife), it is possible in California to waive the right to share in community property and to limit the right to spousal support in a prenuptial agreement.   But Kobe Bryant, by failing to insist upon a prenuptial agreement at the time he and Vanessa married - over ten years ago, while they were very young, at the very beginning of what would become a very successful NBA career - will thus end up sharing a lot more, in both assets and in ongoing support obligations, of his earnings with Vanessa than he would likely have been required to do.

That is because the overwhelming bulk of their assets was accumulated during the past ten years of their marriage and Kobe's tenure with the NBA.  Consequently, they will likely be splitting their assets in half as it will all be "community property" - except for the jewelry she can claim as separate property because it was a gift to her.  That could mean she would walk away with slightly more than he does (on account of these expensive gifts she listed as separate property), and then continue to collect child support and alimony which will be tied to his continued high earnings.

But given estimates of their net worth in the $200-300 million range, and many more millions to come - through Kobe's expected NBA salary of $25 million plus endorsements for the next several years - the Bryants do not need our financial sympathy.

Let's just hope the girls will be okay with their parents living in separate lavish homes. And of course, go Celtics!

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Christopher Hitchens, Rest in Peace

With the passing of Christopher Hitchens, we have lost a most brilliant, provocative writer and thinker. He was active and influential on both sides of the pond. I share my English brother John Bolch's admiration for the man and his writing. See John's post and the video contained therein: Family Lore: Christopher Hitchens, 1949 - 2011.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lindsay Lohan's Judge Gives the Gift of Porn

Photos from Lindsay Lohan's much-hyped nude photo spread, to be officially released in next week's Playboy, leaked out on the internet today.  Playboy claims to fear the leak may negatively affect sales of the magazine, which will need to be phenomenal enough to justify its nearly million dollar payout to Lindsay.

But for this holiday gift of porn we really have a criminal court judge to thank.  Many stockings can be stuffed, just in time for Christmas, with the Lindsay spread thanks to one Judge Stephanie Sautner. Sautner's the judge who last month allowed Lindsay Lohan to delay her scheduled stint in jail so she could do her photo shoot first and not jeopardize her contract with Playboy.

As TMZ put it, "justice is not only blind...sometimes it's stark naked."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Father Absence Affects Sons More than Daughters?

A new working paper  recently discussed in the Freakonomics blog, and which looks at the relationship between the absence of fathers from the home and juvenile delinquency, suggests that the presence of fathers, while beneficial for both sons and daughters, may be much more beneficial for sons than daughters.  The working paper finds, among other things, that "adolescent boys engage in more delinquent behavior if there is no father figure in their lives.  However, adolescent girls' behavior is largely independent of the presence (or absence) of their fathers."  

Of course, we should always view claims of findings from such social "science" reports with a healthy dose of skepticism.  A commenter on the Freakonomics blog named Todd makes the good point that this new study may be missing some important factors, especially as previous biological evidence shows father absence early in life may affect daughters by dramatically altering the age at which they get their first period. I would add that longitudinal studies in the United States and New Zealand have previously shown that father absence is strongly correlated with a higher risk for daughters of early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy.

However differently father absence may affect daughters versus sons, what is clear is that father presence has positive effects and father absence has negative effects - that is the common denominator of all studies to date, including this latest one.  And while that may seem self-evident to most of us, it is not uniformly understood or believed due to the sad pervasiveness of men bashing in certain circles.

Father absence and its effects on children - both sons and daughters - should concern us all, as we have gone from a nation, here in the US, with 8 percent of children living in mother-only homes in 1960 to one with fully 23 percent living in such homes in 2010, according to the US Census bureau.  I hope more such studies will be done, and that more of us will pay attention to them and the issues they raise.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Divorce Parties

Divorce is not only the end of a marriage, but also the beginning of a new life, and for some people, even a cause for celebration.  As I recently discussed here, some newly divorced or divorcing individuals have begun to mark the end of their marriages with some form or other of leisure travel.

Well, even if you prefer not to travel, you can celebrate your new status in a more public way right in your hometown:  you can throw a divorce party for all your friends.  Divorce parties are not new, as they have been going on for some time, but the ones I have known about have been relatively private, small, informal affairs.  However, in Los Angeles at least, an industry has sprung up to cater to an apparently growing demand for divorce parties there.   Maybe this is a trend that will catch on elsewhere.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Testosterone and Fatherhood

scientific study done in the Philippines suggests that men who become fathers have hormonal changes that may help them to adapt to their new role - i.e., they have a drop in testosterone upon becoming fathers.   That should come as good news to those of us who already know that men can and do make excellent, nurturing parents, and who envision a world of increasing gender equity, both at work and at home.

Gender stereotypes and prejudices, backed by faulty biological assumptions, have inevitably resulted from thousands of years of history in a predominantly patriarchal culture (with fathers in the bread-winning role and mothers in the primary parenting role), and they continue to stand in the way of men in search of parenting equity at home, even as women have made tremendous strides in the workplace over the past fifty years.   This scientific study provides hope to the optimist in me that parenting equity and equality in the home will eventually catch up to, and parallel, the rapidly advancing workplace equality women have achieved, and are continuing to achieving, both in this country and throughout the developed world.

New York Times: In Study, Fatherhood Leads to Drop in Testosterone, excerpt:

          This is probably not the news most fathers want to hear.
Testosterone, that most male of hormones, takes a dive after a man becomes a parent. And the more he gets involved in caring for his children — changing diapers, jiggling the boy or girl on his knee, reading “Goodnight Moon” for the umpteenth time — the lower his testosterone drops. 
So says the first large study measuring testosterone in men when they were single and childless and several years after they had children. Experts say the research has implications for understanding the biology of fatherhood, hormone roles in men and even health issues like prostate cancer. 
“The real take-home message,” said Peter Ellison, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard who was not involved in the study, is that “male parental care is important. It’s important enough that it’s actually shaped the physiology of men.” 
“Unfortunately,” Dr. Ellison added, “I think American males have been brainwashed” to believe lower testosterone means that “maybe you’re a wimp, that it’s because you’re not really a man. 
“My hope would be that this kind of research has an impact on the American male. It would make them realize that we’re meant to be active fathers and participate in the care of our offspring.” 
The study, experts say, suggests that men’s bodies evolved hormonal systems that helped them commit to their families once children were born. It also suggests that men’s behavior can affect hormonal signals their bodies send, not just that hormones influence behavior. And, experts say, it underscores that mothers were meant to have child care help.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stevie B, Owing $420K in Child Support, Arrested At Springfield Concert

Stevie B, singer of "Because I Love You" (The Postman Song) and other hits from the 80s and 90s, was arrested in Springfield this past Friday night after his concert at the MassMutual Center and hauled off to jail for an apparent child support debt, to a woman in Agawam, of a whopping $420,000.

According to the Springfield Republican, when Stevie B was apprehended as he was leaving the arena after his show, the arresting officer found him "cooperative but surprised by the arrest" and concerned "that he might miss a weekend gig in Providence, RI."

Stevie B is apparently now regularly residing and working in Vegas.  Did he forget about the child support he skipped out on here in Massachusetts? Did he think he was in the clear by now?

Hmmm, reminds me of another music celebrity, Bobby Brown.  He too was arrested several years back after returning to his native Massachusetts (from Georgia, in his case) to see his daughter cheerleading, and was hauled off to jail for huge back child support.  One of the lessons I derived from this story, as I blogged back then, was:  
If you happen to become a celebrity when you "grow up" and if you happen to get way behind on your child support, then do not go to visit your daughter as she is cheerleading in public.
Perhaps I now should add to that:
...and do not perform a public concert in the very state, and in the nearest city, in which the ex to whom you owe massive child support happens to live.
On this past Monday, October 3, TMZ reported that Stevie B was indeed arraigned on Monday, but still remained in custody until able to pay at least $10,000 of what he owes to get out of jail.  The Associated Press more recently has reported that he got out of jail on Tuesday by paying $11,000, but Stevie B disputes the amount of the debt.    More details, from the the AP story:
On Monday, he agreed to a schedule of payments for approximately $420,000 in child support, including a lump sum payment of $10,000 and weekly payments of $921. His lawyer said he paid an additional $1,000 with the required lump sum and has offered to pay an extra $500 per week.
An extra $500 a week toward arrears would be just a tad less than what would be necessary just to pay the 6 percent annual interest that would be assessed on his $400K+ debt (to say nothing of the other 6 percent ordinarily assessed in penalties). I see more lump sum payments and possibly seizure of assets in Stevie B's future.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Divorce: Hair Loss, Weight Gain, Binge Drinking

We hardly need any more reasons to convince us that divorce is to be avoided if possible.  But some recent studies indicate that following divorce women are more likely to lose hair (hat tip to Family Lore) and men are more likely to gain weight.   What about the kids, you ask?  Well, after their parents split, kids are more likely to become binge drinkers by the time they reach 16.

Could be worse, I guess.  It could have been found that after divorce, women are more likely to gain weight and men are more likely to lose hair.  After all, we know women really hate to gain weight, and men really hate to lose their hair.  But you know, since men as they age are much more likely to lose hair than women anyway, and as women are more likely to have already gained weight during the marriage, there's not really any good news here for those of us who get married and divorced.

I do promise, however, to report any good news when I see it.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Judicial Guidelines Updated for Abuse Prevention Orders

The Massachusetts trial court system has issued the fourth edition of Guidelines for Judicial Practice: Abuse Prevention Proceedings.   The updated guidelines reflect a number of substantive and procedural changes, and reflect changes in statutory and case law since the guidelines were last revised in 2000. Hat tip to  Massachusetts Law Updates.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Census Bureau Reports Marriage & Divorce Statistics

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its report "Marital Events of Americans: 2009," which is the bureau's first such report after including questions about marital events as part of its American Community Survey (ACS), beginning in 2008. The report confirms previous indications from other sources that divorce rates, and marriage rates, are higher in the South than in the Northeast, among other things.  See the bureau's report here or read the summary from Reuters.

From the Reuters news article (August 25, 2011):

....Statistics from "Marital Events of Americans: 2009," show that in the South, per 1,000 men or women, divorce rates were 10.2 and 11.1 percent.

By contrast, Northeastern men and women had divorce rates at 7.2 and 7.5 percent.The national divorce rate was almost 10 percent, at 9.2 for men and 9.7 for women.

The report is the first to examine and detail marriage, divorce and widowhood among Americans ages 15 and older, using data from the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS).

"Divorce rates tend to be higher in the South because marriage rates are also higher in the South," Diana Elliott, a family demographer at the Census Bureau, stated in the report's release.

"In contrast, in the Northeast, first marriages tend to be delayed and the marriage rates are lower, meaning there are also fewer divorces."

Fourteen states had above-average divorce rates for men and women. Southern states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas had divorce rates above the United States average for both genders.

For the 10 or so states that had below-average divorce rates for each gender, about half were in the Northeast.

States like Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York saw fewer divorces than average for men and women.

Divorces did impact the economic well-being of families.
Three quarters of children living with a parent who divorced in 2009 lived in a household headed by their mother.
Of women who divorced in the year studied, 23 percent received public assistance, against 15 percent of recently divorced men who received such assistance.
But such women also reported less household income than recently divorced men, with 27 percent having less than $25,000 in annual household income compared to 17 percent of recently divorced males.
They also were more likely to be in poverty; 22 percent of recently divorced women compared to 11 percent of such men.
Almost 30 percent of children living with a parent who recently divorced lived in a household below the poverty level, compared with 19 percent for other children.
Historically, data on U.S. marriages and divorces were collected from marriage and divorce certificates filed at the state level. According to the report, beginning in 2008, questions about marital events were added to the ACS to fill a void in the data collected in the United States.
Previous Post on Related Issues:


For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Destination Divorce

We have long had destination weddings.  Why not destination divorce?  Zagat has published a guide to the best restaurants for dumping your mate, as I have reported here two years ago.  There are already restaurants you can visit to dine and dump your spouse, so why can't there be destination resorts or hotels where you can go to make that dumping official?

It's not so easy just to head to the beach, or somewhere exotic, to get an actual legal divorce, you say? Well, not only are some enterprising travel businesses trying to sell the idea of divorce vacations, in Mexico and elsewhere, but there is now even, in the Netherlands, what is called the Divorce Hotel (Hotelscheiden). If you are Dutch, you can actually show up at a five-star hotel for about three days with your spouse and mediate your divorce settlement, spending potentially far less time and money on the trip and the luxurious hotel accommodations than you might otherwise have spent on legal fees back home.

Or so they say.  So far, the new idea has only had a small number of takers, and it is of course only available to Dutch citizens.  Take a look at the Divorce Hotel's website and video.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Alimony Reform Bill Signed Into Law

It's official!  Around 4 PM yesterday, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the alimony reform bill.  (See my discussion of this in my last post where I link to previous blogs on alimony reform).  The new law goes into effect March 1, 2012.  Go ahead and peruse the complete text of the new law, or check out the well-written summary of the new law provided by Francine Gardikas of Burns & Levinson at their law firm's family law blog, Massachusetts Divorce Law Monitor.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sweeping Massachusetts Alimony Reform Bill Now Awaits Governor's Signature

At long last, a sweeping alimony reform bill, passed by both houses of the Massachusetts state legislature, has been sent to the Governor's Desk, it was reported on Monday. Governor Patrick has 10 days to sign it, and there is nobody saying that he won't. In fact, I just heard from a reliable source that the Governor will sign it on this coming Monday.

What started long ago as an impassioned struggle has in recent years gathered strength as Massachusetts Alimony Reform, a new organization directed by Steve Hitner, came into being. The Massachusetts Alimony Reform organization came onto the scene with a tenacity, dedication, and persuasiveness that caused many, including opinion makers in the media and in politics, to wake up and pay attention.

A House bill which called for real reform was countered by a Senate bill that was, by contrast, a slight tinkering with the law that would not really have changed or helped much. Fortunately, as support for real reform continued to grow, and political support became apparent, it came to pass that legislators, lawyers, and bar associations all moved in the direction of supporting real reform. Now, with the passage of the final version of the legislation by both houses, real reform has prevailed; in other words, the final version is much closer to the original House bill than to the Senate bill, and it will bring about very substantial, extensive reform. Thus an alimony reform movement which once had only limited vocal support from a handful of family law litigants, legislators and attorneys, eventually gained very broad support - indeed support of seemingly everyone, including many lawyers and bar associations that had previously ignored, dismissed, minimized, or opposed any serious alimony reform efforts.

With the passage of this alimony reform legislation, we will see the law of alimony in Massachusetts at last reflect the social and economic realities of our time. I expect alimony determinations to be much more sensible and predictable, and much fairer as a result, as previously lengthy or even lifelong awards of alimony, many of which were out of all proportion to the length of the preceding marriages or the equities of their respective cases, will become a thing of the past. Although I have a few reservations about one or two provisions of the bill, overall I am very pleased with the legislation and I have no doubt the new law will be a huge improvement over the current law.

I will have more thoughts to express soon. Meanwhile we all await the official word that the Governor has signed this bill. For a brief description of the bill, see Alimony Reform Heads to Governor's Desk, Monday's Boston Business Journal article on this.

Previous Posts on Massachusetts Alimony Reform:


For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Not To Serve Court Papers (especially on a Red Sox pitcher)

From The Docket, the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly blog, David Frank brings us this interesting story behind the Red Sox loss yesterday to the Orioles:   a civil process server showed up at Fenway Park and served child support papers on Red Sox starting pitcher Erik Bedard a few hours before the pitcher was scheduled to take the mound.  

Don't the Red Sox have enough problems right now?  And get this - to add insult to injury, the process server was wearing a Yankees shirt!

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Sham Marriage Scheme Busted in Vermont

Many sham marriages - fraudulent marriages which often lead to residency and ultimately citizenship benefits for immigrants - go undetected each year by the United States government.   But sometimes sham marriage immigration schemes are uncovered, as in this recent example from Vermont, as reported in the Boston Globe, A Marriage of a Dream and a Scheme, in which case illegal immigrants (mostly, if not all, from Brazil) paid Americans to marry them to get legal residency status.  According to the article, Maria-Helena Knoller, a Holyoke woman and  Brazilian immigrant responsible for the scheme, was recently prosecuted and convicted for marriage fraud and concealing and shielding illegal immigrants in the case of 32 sham marriages, and is now out free on a $100,000 bond and working in a Chicopee Donut shop while awaiting sentencing.  22 of those 32 sham marriages occurred in Brattleboro, Vermont, and half of these 32 sham marriages have already ended in divorce here in Massachusetts.   Apparently, the scheme seemed to begin and end in Massachusetts, although many of these participants were led across the Vermont border to Brattleboro for their nuptials. (There were seven other additional sham marriages revealed, but Knoller was not prosecuted for those.)

Knoller, it turned out, was a matchmaker of a special kind. For fees as high as $12,000, she would pair illegal immigrants from Brazil with Americans, arrange their marriages - and, in some cases, their subsequent divorces - after they received status as “lawful permanent residents’’ of the United States.
She pleaded guilty in February to federal charges of marriage fraud and concealing and shielding illegal immigrants for 32 of those marriages. But her prosecution is an exception, and Knoller’s case is a vivid example of how easy it is for illegal immigrants to dodge US immigration laws by getting married.
The US government estimates that of the 200,000 marriages that result in temporary or illegal immigrants receiving green cards each year, up to 30 percent are shams. And yet, while billions of federal dollars are devoted to protecting borders, enforcement efforts aimed at immigration fraud are hobbled by sparse budgets and understaffed agencies that, according to government auditors, allow an estimated 60,000 sham marriages a year to evade detection.
“The process of weeding out the fraudulent [marriages] - those arranged solely to obtain … a work permit and green card - is nearly impossible,’’ said David Seminara, a former US consular officer who wrote a 2008 study that faulted the process of identifying fraud in immigration petitions filed domestically and overseas. “Even when documentation is asked for, to show that the couple is living together, it’s easily doctored. There’s just too many applications and too few immigration officers handling these cases.’’
Taking her clients to Vermont for their nuptials made Knoller’s scam easier. Vermont does not require waiting periods or proof of identity to obtain a marriage license. While some of the 32 marriages for which Knoller was prosecuted were licensed in Connecticut and Massachusetts, 22 occurred in Brattleboro. Massachusetts, and every other state bordering Vermont, requires proof of identity.
For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Couple More Massachusetts Blogs for Your Blogroll

In the nearly two years I have been absent from the blogosphere (from November of 2009 until today), I have noticed a number of good Massachusetts legal blogs that either weren't around before, or just hadn't caught my attention yet. There are in particular two I would suggest that you check out, and add to your blogroll as well:

1) Scaling the Summit: A Family Law Blog. This blog is primarily the work of Justin Kelsey and his associate Jonathan Eaton and is published by their law firm, Kelsey & Trask in Framingham. Much thought and analysis has gone into this blog, and there is very helpful information about recent, and pending, legislation in the area of alimony reform (which is about to become law at last) and proposed custody law reform.

2) Massachusetts Elder Law Blog. This is an excellent blog I have recently enjoyed reading by elder law attorney Sasha Golden of the Golden Law Center, a practice devoted to elder law and disability planning in Needham.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Reduced Office Hours in Family Court

As a result of state budget cuts that have led to a reduction in staff in the court system, which is suffering from "case backlogs and staff shortages," many of the Massachusetts state courts (38 of them, to be exact, including all of the Probate and Family Courts) have reduced their public office hours. All the family courts will now have registry and phone coverage restricted after 3 PM on Monday through Friday. (However, apparently the Springfield family court will continue to stay open until 4:30, as Hampden County Register Thomas Moriarty has vowed to do so because he does not want to "deny our most important stakeholders, the taxpaying public, access to justice.")

Court sessions will continue as before, beginning at 8:30, and the only thing that will change will be the public office hours and phone coverage in the registry offices. So if you have business you need to transact with the family court registry in your county, make sure you get to the courthouse and to the registry's office, or make your phone calls, well before 3 PM. This change has been reported to be aimed at giving a shrunken staff more time to handle administrative work at the end of the day, free of interruptions from visitors to the front desk by individuals and attorneys.

I imagine it is sort of like what the banks do when they shut the doors to customers but keep the lights on while their workers continue to carry on their business at the end of the afternoon. For more info, including information about the other courts affected (some of the district, housing, juvenile and land courts), see the Supreme Judicial Court's press release.


Probate and Family Court
All Divisions
Registry Counter and phone coverage restricted after 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Applies to any court business, except emergency restraining orders and other emergencies. Court sessions still will begin at 8:30 a.m.
 [BUT see first paragraph above: Hampden County's Probate and Family Court will stay open until 4:30 as before.]

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Back to Blogging Again!

I have neglected my blog here for quite some time. I see my last post was in November of 2009! I could explain why I have been gone so long, and give all kinds of excuses. But it really is simple. I stopped blogging at a time when I was extraordinarily busy, and just never got back to it.

Until now! I hope once again to contribute some of my thoughts on divorce and family law and other issues that concern me and my practice, as I continue also to spread the word about ideas and information from others in this field.

As usual, I welcome your feedback here!

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.