Few human problems are as emotional, complicated, or important as those that clients bring to our Family Law attorneys. At Conn Kavanaugh, we approach these human problems with the confidence and skill that comes from our extensive experience and reputation in the field. We understand that the well-being of children, family peace, and economic stability are paramount concerns of our clients.
Our Family Law attorneys represent clients involved in all aspects of family law. We regularly negotiate and prepare premarital agreements intended to protect family trusts, inheritances, and ownership in closely held businesses in the event of divorce or death of a spouse. We represent clients in divorce proceedings, paternity actions, custody disputes, domestic violence matters, contempt proceedings when court orders are violated, and modification proceedings when circumstances change. We understand the complex financial aspects of matrimonial law, such as sophisticated asset valuation issues and the tax consequences of support payments and property division. In addition, we are well-versed in the evolving area of law involving same-sex marriages and legal issues involving domestic partnerships.
Family Law disputes frequently occur in a volatile and emotionally charged atmosphere. At Conn Kavanaugh, we bring a calm, dignified advocacy role to these matters. The problems and expense of family law proceedings can be daunting and should be handled by experienced practitioners who know how to cut through complex issues, be creative in finding solutions, and be able to articulate these solutions to the other side or to a court if necessary.
Our Family Law attorneys serve many functions. Often the appropriate role is to be a skilled litigator – the person who can help clients achieve their goals in court. Our formidable trial reputation enhances our effectiveness in any negotiations to bring reason and resolution to complex and sensitive issues – before they have to be tried in court. Effective courtroom advocacy demands the very highest skills.
Conn Kavanaugh’s attorneys stand out in those instances where the appropriate role is to be a negotiator or resolve differences by way of settlement. Outside the courtroom, our attorneys take a counseling, problem-solving approach for clients in resolving difficult issues and conflicts. In addition to advocacy, our attorneys are well-versed in the problem-solving involved in negotiations.
Our years of experience have earned us the respect of other members of the bar as well as the judiciary. Our Family Law attorneys frequently lecture at continuing legal education programs for members of the bar – we are looked upon as the attorneys who train others in family law matters.
Frequently in divorce proceedings or other family law matters, it is necessary to work closely with other professionals to provide our clients with multidisciplinary services. Our attorneys have significant experience dealing with valuation experts, medical providers, and financial advisors.
- In a typical contempt action, the firm represented the father of two children who had parenting time with his children pursuant to a parenting plan set forth in the parties’ separation agreement. The mother denied our client parenting time on several occasions, stating that the children did not want to see their father. The court entered a judgment of contempt against the mother, and awarded our client attorney’s fees.
- In a divorce action we represented the husband who was principal of an investment advisory firm. The issues were valuation of his interest in the firm, including whether personal good will was to be considered in the valuation and whether his income received from the company would be used in the valuation of the company and then used to determine the level of alimony – the classic “double dipping.” We were able to convince the court that the valuation of the business had to be discounted and we were also able to convince the trial judge that the alimony component for the wife had to be tied in to her “needs,” not a percentage of the husband’s income. A very good result for the client. This case is typical of valuation issues, particularly of closely held corporations, and the ongoing issues of double dipping and good will in Massachusetts.
- Typical of the divorce cases we have, we represented a wife whose husband was very secretive about his income and assets, leaving her in financial dark. Through a good deal of forensic accounting assistance and obtaining of documents, we were able to show the husband’s “real” income to be used for support purposes and we were also able to show that he had been dissipating assets through marriage to support a girlfriend. The judge was convinced to impute a higher level of income to the husband and also to pull back into the marital estate the amounts that he had dissipated on the third party, giving the wife a greater share of the marital assets.
- We negotiated a property division settlement with marital assets valued over $50 million, taking into consideration the tax basis of the assets to ensure an equitable division.
- We regularly negotiate settlements that result in the division of stock options which can result in the saving – or recovery – of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- We obtained a divorce judgment at trial awarding alimony for our client of over $150,000 annually in addition to a multi-million dollar property settlement.
- We succeeded in a divorce trial by having the Probate Court adopt our business valuation expert’s opinion of value of a family owned closely held corporation worth over $4,000,000.
- We succeeded in a divorce matter by having the Probate Court order our client’s spouse to vacate the marital home because the person’s continued presence in the home jeopardized the health, safety and welfare of our client and the children.
- We successfully represent clients in obtaining abuse prevention orders and domestic relations protective orders when our clients are victims of domestic abuse.
- We successfully defend clients against fabricated allegations of domestic abuse.
- We frequently negotiate settlements with alimony and child support payments structured to maximize useable income and minimize tax liability for our clients.
- We successfully represent clients in contested custody matters involving expert testimony by mental health professionals and court appointed Guardians ad Litem.
- We succeeded in increasing ongoing child support payments for our client due to her former husband’s increased earnings.
- We succeeded in reducing our client’s alimony obligations due to his retirement and reduction of income.
- We succeeded in establishing a child’s paternity and having the Probate Court order an appropriate parenting schedule for our client.