Top: More than 150 family law practitioners and judges participated in the MBA's 24th Annual Family Law Conference
Middle left: Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Angela M. Ordoñez speaks to attendees
Middle right: MBA President-elect Robert W. Harnais welcomed everyone to the Friday reception
Bottom: Family Law Conference speakers Hon. Amy L. Blake of the Appeals Court (left) and Kimberley J. Joyce, Esq. of Lee & Rivers LLP
Photos by John Pregmon.
The 24th Annual Family Law Conference took place on October
17-18 at the Chatham Bars Inn. The conference featured a number of
excellent panelists and was attended by more than 150 family law
practitioners and judges. In addition, Probate and Family Court
Chief Justice Angela M. Ordoñez delivered the annual address on the
state of the court.
With a packed programming schedule that began on Friday
afternoon, conference attendees were treated to five substantive
sessions featuring judges from the Probate and Family Court across
As was the case at last year's conference, alimony reform was at
the forefront of conference discussion. Kimberley J. Joyce of Lee
& Rivers LLP in Boston moderated a panel that included Fern
Frolin of Grindle Robinson, and David H. Lee of Lee & Rivers
LLP, who discussed the complexity of the issues implicated in the
alimony reform act.
Afternoon programming included sessions on representing
children, as well as an interactive discussion on the child support
guidelines led by Judge Anne M Geoffrion and Judge Anthony R. Nesi.
Attendees also heard a keynote address from recently appointed
Appeals Court Justice Amy Lynn Blake. Blake had been a family law
attorney in private practice for 16 years before becoming a judge,
and was named a "Distinguished Jurist" in 2013 by the Massachusetts
Association of Women Lawyers.
The first day of the conference concluded with a welcome
reception at The Beach House Grill on the edge of Aunt Lydia's
Cove. MBA President-elect Robert W. Harnais delivered opening
remarks saying, "There is no better place to discuss the important
issues of the day than here with your colleagues at the MBA's
Annual Family Law Conference, which is always one of the highlights
of the MBA's year."
Ordoñez started day two of the Family Law Conference with the
traditional "State of the Probate and Family Court" address. She
thanked conference attendees for the work they do day in and day
out. Now more than a year into her term as chief justice, Ordoñez
talked about the creation of a pilot program designed to settle
cases where the majority of the contested issues have already been
resolved. Ordoñez also reminded everyone the importance of taking
time off from the demands of work.
Saturday programming included panel on navigating a DCF
investigation and substance abuse and it's affect on parenting
This year's conference was chaired by Massachusetts Bar
Association Family Law Section Chair Jennifer R. Clapp, and planned
by a conference committee, which included Lloyd D Godson, Kimberley
J. Joyce, Amy K Vaughn and Lynn M. Isaman.