Vicki L. Shemin J.D., LICSW, ACSW contributed a chapter in section 4, “Advice on co-operative co-parenting….” The book highlights the continuing strain on families who are struggling with the consequence of the pandemic – illness and death, lockdowns, economic catastrophe, distance learning, virtual work, and anxiety caused by constant uncertainty.
The fiftyplus advocate featured Attorney Jonathan Fields on navigating divorce issues. Attorney Fields discussed some of the specific legal issues that are unique to gray divorce that must be considered when assessing financial matters, including mental competency concerns such as dementia. “From a lawyer’s perspective, a big concern is whether and to what extent each party is competent to represent their own intentions,” he stated.
While the 35-to 50-year-old cohort remains his practice’s largest divorce demographic, Fields suspect he has seen more gray divorce clients compared to 10 years ago, particularly between ages 60 and 65. “It is a growing area for sure,” he affirmed. Please see the article on gray divorce if you would like more information.
The Family Law Section is designed to improve the Probate and Family Court’s accessibility and efficiency to benefit lawyers, judges, staff and the public by offering educational seminars, providing updates on legislative activity, and facilitating bench/bar networking opportunities.
“I am pleased and proud to be serving on the MBA’s Family Law Section Council during a pivotal time for families and family law in Massachusetts, especially as the community continues to adjust to the unprecedented challenges wrought by COVID.”
The interplay between inheritance, trusts, and divorce raises a series of issues every estate planning and family law attorney must be prepared to address. What steps should estate planning attorneys take to protect assets prior to or in anticipation of divorce? What is the procedure for courts to value a trust interest for purposes of equitable distribution and/or support payments? What are the recent legal decisions that influence practices related to inheritance, trusts interests, or divorce? Attend this online program to hear expert faculty answer these questions and others that arise when these topics collide.
It is a tremendous honor to announce that Jonathan E. Fields has been selected by Best Lawyers. This honor is bestowed on him by both his clients and peers. Best Lawyers was started four decades ago by two Harvard Law Graduates and is one of the most prestigious peer review publications. Their Lawyer lists are compiled by tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluating their professional peers. No fees can be paid to become listed in the Best Lawyers publications. If the lawyer is recognized as a Best Lawyer they must maintain their subsequent votes in the polls to continue to be included in future editions.
See Sheryl Dennis’s recent interview with Citybiz.
Along with Chief Justice Casey and the Honorable Judge Giordano, Vicki L. Shemin will be co-presenting with other family law practitioners on the topic, “What Have We Learned? Parenting Coordination Developments Since the Issuance of Standing Order 1-17,” sponsored by the BBA’s Family Law Section. Please save the date and RSVP:
Vicki L. Shemin, a partner at Fields & Dennis in Wellesley, will co-present on April 16 on the topic of “Unlikely Partners: Divorce Attorney and Couples Therapist” at the NASW 2021 Symposium on “Voices of Empowerment & Social Justice.”
Inspired lawyer proposes Bench-Bar Civility Honor Roll
Across the nation and in Massachusetts, there has been a call to arms to promulgate civility in all bench-bar facets. For example, annually the American Inns of Court designates a month to spotlight the need to work toward a “vision of a legal profession and judiciary dedicated to professionalism, ethics, civility and excellence.”
And, as recently as Feb. 22, the Massachusetts Bar Association held a program on “How the Bench and Bar Can Work Together to Improve Lawyer Civility.” While I believe we can all agree that it is easy to “talk the talk,” when there are no directional signposts to navigate theory into practice insofar as “walking the talk,” we are left to wonder where the rubber meets the road. Just three days after the MBA conference, I was privileged to have witnessed firsthand a spontaneous act of civility at its finest.
At long last, on Feb. 25, we had a 9 a.m. hearing on an uncontested G.L.c. 208, §1A, divorce case. The parties had been waiting since July 2020 for their court date. After two and a half hours in the Zoom waiting room, parties and counsel were finally called for the hearing.
The judge asked for a clarification and written edit to the child support section of the separation agreement and told us she could not approve the agreement as is.
After attorney Jared Wood and I hammered out a written revision, attorney Wood snatched victory from the jaws of defeat: He dashed out to his car, drove to the parties’ homes to get their original signatures on the edited agreement, and then rushed to the Middlesex County courthouse to flag down a court officer and get the revised agreement into the hands of the judge’s clerk. (There may or may not have been the necessity for attorney Wood to have not one but two McDonald’s cheeseburgers and a milkshake on the way back to his office, for his emotional and physical fortification.)
Just three days after the MBA conference, I was privileged to have witnessed firsthand a spontaneous act of civility at its finest.
At 3 p.m., parties and counsel took a leap of faith by signing back into the judge’s Zoom waiting room. With five minutes to spare, at 3:55 p.m., the judge gave us a second call, enabling the parties to have their long-awaited hearing and their agreement approved. None of this could have happened without attorney Wood’s tenacity, grace and kindness under pressure. He literally went the extra mile(s)! In his honor, I propose that we institute a Bench-Bar Civility Honor Roll to inspire us to attain the lofty theoretical “vision of a legal profession and judiciary dedicated to professionalism, ethics, civility and excellence” — and to celebrate the role models among us who have truly elevated their professional practices as models of civility. For, in the end, they are our guideposts. See full article
Vicki L. Shemin is a partner at Fields & Dennis in Wellesley. She can be contacted at VShemin@FieldsDennis.com.
Expertise selected Fields and Dennis as one of the top Divorce Lawyers in the Boston area.
Each year Expertise.com reviews over 326 divorce lawyers in the Boston area to find the top 19 in the area. Fields and Dennis LLP was selected as one of them. They base their selections on five criteria.
- Availability, or its responsiveness and availability to their customers.
- Qualifications, do they build customer confidence with their licensing, accreditations, and awards?
- Reputation, do they have a history of outstanding service?
- Experience, are they masters of their craft?
- Professionalism, do they provide service with honesty, reliability, and respect.
Fields and Dennis LLP has met and exceeded these expectations!