Thursday, December 21, 2017

Alimony and the new tax bill

Alimony and the 2017 GOP Tax Bill

Under the 2017 GOP tax bill, alimony will no longer be deductible to the payor and no longer income to the payee. To quote an article in Forbes:

Under the bill as written, the existing rules regarding alimony(deductible to the payer and taxable to the payee) remain in effect through the end of 2018. Alimony will not be deductible, nor taxable, under new agreements signed beginning on January 1, 2019. As for those old agreements? Even though you didn't ask, they stay as is, unless you modify them after January 1, 2019, by specifically referencing the new law. 

See: for full story and more to follow.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Free Initial Consultation

In the mediation class I teach at a local law school, I will ask the class how many would offer a free initial consultation as a mediator and how many would charge.  I am always surprised that the breakdown is almost 50/50 of those that would charge and those who would offer a free consultation. I see a free consultation as crucial. Let me first explain what the free consultation session includes.  During this session, which typically can last from as little as 10 minutes to 30-45 minutes, I explain the process, give the clients information about my background, my philosophy about mediation and why I do it and give clients an opportunity to ask questions about any of the above.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

More Frequently Asked Questions that can be answered with “it depends”.

1. How long will it take?

            Alongside “How much will this cost?”, this is probably the most common question I receive.  The answer as you can probably guess is, “it depends”. The response to this question involves two parts. The first question is, “how long will the mediation process itself take?”  The second question is,” How long will the court process take?” 
Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mandatory Mediation

The Hampden Probate and Family Court Mandatory Mediation Program: A Successful Collaboration between a Probate Court, Law School and a Community Mediation Program

In January of 2016 we began an experimental mediation clinic at the Hampden County Probate and Family Court. The Clinic was a collaboration between the Hampden Probate and Family Court, Western New England University School of Law (WNEU) and The Mediation and Training Collaborative (TMTC), a court-approved, community mediation center in Greenfield. The clinic built upon a pilot mandatory mediation program which had been running at the Hampden Probate Court since the fall of 2014, and was administered by TMTC. Under this pilot, the court referred 4 cases per month (2 cases on 2 separate dates). TMTC scheduled mediators to conduct the sessions, and conducted intakes and screening in each case prior to the scheduled date.