With the Cape Cod Parent Resource Fair rapidly approaching we will be sharing blog posts on our participating sponsors, vendors and nonprofits. You will find out more about these amazing businesses and what they offer to our community. They will be sharing their services, advice, what challenges face our community as well as upcoming events they will be having. Make sure to check out our virtual program and resource guide ahead of the event so you can plan for what you want to see including our famous speaker panels. If you preregister for the speakers you will earn extra raffle tickets. You also earn them by attending any of our entertainment sessions! Just email us and you will receive tickets at the door! We hope to see you at the Resource Fair!
1. Tell us about your business/non profit and how it benefits local families?
I am an estate planning attorney that focuses on planning for young and non-traditional families with children. I work parents to ensure their children are properly safeguarded should a parent become incapacitated or pass, not only for passing of assets, but for care as well. I also work a great deal with families that have special needs children.
2. Where is it located?
My office on the Cape is located at 100 Independence Drive, Hyannis, MA 02601. I also have offices in Boston and Miami, Florida.
3. What is your favorite thing about our community?
I love how the Cape has wonderful outdoor activities available. Families are able to interact in a natural setting, allowing children to grow and develop with a deeper understanding of respect for the environment, animals, and nature.
4. How else do you get involved with the community?
I believe giving back to the community is important. I strive to give my time and legal experience through pro-bono opportunities for families and individuals who do not have the resources for legal services.
5. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing parents in our community?
I believe the education system is a challenge on the Cape, as well as in many communities. As parents, we want the very best education for our children. The public school system's focus on standardized testing, large class sizes, lack of sufficient funding, and non-individualized child attention by teachers and administrative staff lend many parents on the Cape to homeschool or look to private education options. For parents that do not have the liberty of these options, they are left to attempt to navigate and work with the system at hand.
6. What is your favorite memory or story over the years involving you and your business?
Over the years, I have been able to assist many families with their planning. My favorite memory is of a family I assisted with planning for their child with developmental disabilities, establishing a special needs trust. Due to this planning, the child is able to receive government assistance, while still maintaining the legacy left by her parents.
7. What advice would you give parents and caregivers in our community?
Make sure to take time to listen to the children. Sometimes we think we know better because we are older, but the wealth of knowledge in those little minds is astounding. We need to ensure we are encouraging the minds of the future.
8. Do you have any specials, events, or anything else taking place this upcoming year that our parents should know about?
I always give 15% off estate planning packages for Cape Cod Moms!
With the Cape Cod Parent Resource Fair rapidly approaching we will be sharing blog posts on our participating sponsors, vendors and nonprofits. You will find out more about these amazing businesses and what they offer to our community. They will be sharing their services, advice, what challenges face our community as well as upcoming events they will be having. Make sure to check out our virtual program and resource guide ahead of the event so you can plan for what you want to see! We hope to see you at the Resource Fair!
How does WE CAN benefit local families?
WE CAN is dedicated to empowering Cape women through our practical and unique services. We offer legal, financial, work support, mentoring, personal development, group support, and business growth services. WE CAN services are free and childcare reimbursement is available while women attend WE CAN programs in a wide range of Cape locations.
Where is WE CAN located?
WE CAN is located in Harwich Port and additionally offers our 1:1 services in Falmouth (at Falmouth Service Center) and Hyannis (at Cape Cod Child Development) through collaborations in the community served, as well as workshops in various Cape locations.
What is WE CAN's favorite part of the community?
WE CAN loves the special "sense of community" on the Upper Cape - a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared belief that members' needs will be met through their shared commitment.
How does WE CAN get involved?
WE CAN offers both 1:1 appointments and workshops on the Upper Cape. Our PathMaker Mentoring Program operates from September through June at the Museums on the Green in Falmouth. Women are partnered with a mentor, they meet individually and as a group, attend a monthly personal development workshop, and set their own agenda as to what they plan to accomplish during their unique, supported experience. 1:1 monthly sessions include Financial Empowerment, Work Support, and Legal Consults. GROW is for women business owners who wish to grow their business and is hosted in Hyannis. There is an array of workshops offered Cape-wide. WE CAN also offers volunteer opportunities, including the Upper Cape Ambassador Program.
What are the biggest challenges of parents today?
Parents are very busy and need targeted, on-point services. WE CAN strives to provide practical tools which support independence in families working and living on Cape Cod.
A favorite WE CAN story?
One WE CAN PathMaker Program graduate from the Upper Cape, June, had begun a fashion business when she learned that her daughter had a medical issue that would require more attention over the next few years. Instead of putting the clothing design business on hold, she transitioned to create an accessories brand and business. This allowed her to care for her daughter, continue to be creative, and build a successful business. "Because of my experience at WE CAN, it wasn't a question of if I could. WE CAN helped me gain confidence that I didn't even know I was lacking."
What advice would WE CAN give parents on the Upper Cape?
Reach out to WE CAN to learn more about our offerings. Visit our website at : www.wecancenter.org
Special offering/event on the Upper Cape?
WE CAN's PathMaker Mentoring Program for Upper Cape women begins in May with information sessions at various locations in the community on the Upper Cape. After a "Big Match Event" in August, monthly meetings are held in Falmouth at the Museums on the Green from September through June. WE CAN offers Circle of Support on the Upper Cape (a divorce support group for women). WE CAN also offers volunteer opportunities, including the Upper Cape Ambassador Program, which is ongoing.
783 Route 28, Harwich, MA 02646
WE CAN offers free 30 minute appointments with an attorney each month at the Falmouth Service Center! The attorney specializes in family law (custody issues/divorce/child support) but this month they will also give advice on criminal law matters.
So you’ve got a collection agency chasing after you. Some guy calls you four times a day and threatens to sue you and tell your employer that you are a deadbeat for a 57.00 bill from two years ago for something or some service you might have bought but you are not even sure you bought it much less paid for it. Sound familiar? Your circumstances may be better or worse. But there are rules that the collector has to follow which you should know about.
There is a federal statute called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA for short. There is a very similar Ma. Regulation called the Code of Massachusetts Regulation or CMR for short. The CMR has regulations for many things and the debt collection part is in 940 CMR 7.00. These statues and regulations put several burdens on the debt collector which you should know about to protect your rights whether you owe the debt or not.
There are pages of regulations that the collectors must follow and by not following these rules leave them open to a claim by you against them. We don’t have the space here to go over ever one but I will highlight a few common violations.
Let us look at the example I started with. The collector called you 4 times in a day. He is not allowed to call more than twice in a seven day period. He threatens to sue you for $57.00 debt. He can’t threaten to sue you unless they normally sue people for $57.00. It would not be cost effective to do that so he probably never does and therefore can’t threaten you with that claim. He threatens to tell your employer about the debt. He cannot communicate with any third party about your debt and in particular your employer. You are not sure whether you do remember or do not remember the debt. If you ask the creditor to verify the debt he must stop any collection activity and within 30 days provide you with verification of the debt.
Robert Osol, Esq
536 Main Street
Falmouth, MA 02540
Attorney Osol is a partner at Melia & Osol. He practices law focusing on creditor law, commercial claims, bankruptcy, real estate law, small business law and estates.
By: Attorney Jeni Landers, Esquire
Although I do help clients during some very happy moments in their lives such as purchasing a home or starting a new business, much of my work is of course helping people get through very difficult times such as divorce, injury, and deaths of family members. Sometimes just having information and getting a sense of where they stand can help people feel stronger and certainly more prepared to take the next steps.
Disclaimer: This post is meant to give you some general information about the divorce process in Massachusetts. It is NOT all inclusive and is NOT meant to be a step-by-step guide for a DIY divorce. The laws on divorce, custody, alimony, and property division are complex and you should retain counsel if possible. By providing you this information I am not in any way undertaking representation of you, creating an attorney-client relationship with you, providing you with specific advice on your situation, or guaranteeing you any particular result in a divorce action. You may not rely on nor cite this blog post in any action for divorce.
Divorce actions come in all shapes and sizes and the first thing to remember is that there’s no “winning” in a divorce. Divorces are handled in the Probate and Family Court here in Massachusetts and generally you would file for divorce in the county in which you live. A divorce action is meant to resolve all the issues between the parties including but not limited to child custody (legal and physical) and support, parenting time (aka visitation), alimony, asset and debt division, health insurance, life insurance, and taxes. When making decisions that affect children, the court using the “best interest of the child” standard which is extremely fact specific and may create what appears to be opposite results sometimes; each case is different. The standard for property division is “equitable distribution.” Remember, equitable doesn’t mean EQUAL. The distribution is fact specific and based on multiple factors to be discussed another day.
There are basically two ways to get divorced in Massachusetts. The first is referred to as a 1A (Mass General Laws c. 208, § 1 A) or “uncontested” divorce. In an uncontested divorce the parties file a joint petition for divorce and a “Separation Agreement” that they have negotiated and drafted either themselves or with help from an attorney or mediator. If there are minor children involved, each party must also attend a parenting class and present the certificate of completion to the court. The court will also require additional documents including but not limited to a financial statement completed by each party (under oath), a certified copy of the marriage certificate, and affidavits from both parties that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and cannot be fixed.
The Separation Agreement should resolve all issues between the parties including custody, support, property division, etc. Once the Court has all the required documents, a hearing will be scheduled. Both parties must appear (with or without counsel) unless a party files an affidavit in lieu of appearance. At that hearing the parties are sworn in, the Judge asks each party questions about the Separation Agreement and the financial statements, and if there are no outstanding issues or problems with the Agreement, the Judge orders the divorce. Although this is meant to be a “final” outcome, decisions relating to children (and possibly other issues depending on how the agreement is drafted) are modifiable by the court upon the filing of a Complaint for Modification by either party in the future.
The other type of divorce is a 1B or “contested” divorce. This type of divorce action resembles traditional litigation. One party files a petition for divorce which can be based on a variety of grounds, including the very general “irretrievable breakdown.” That party then becomes the Plaintiff and serves a summons and copy of the petition (or “Complaint”) on the other party. The second party becomes known as the Defendant and must file an “Answer” to that Complaint. Unless one or both parties file motions for temporary orders (such as asking for a certain custody arrangement pending the trial), the first time the parties go to court is the Pretrial Conference. Prior to that conference, the parties must, among other things, exchange certain financial documentation, complete their financial statements, meet (with or without counsel) to try to resolve the issues, and draft Pretrial Memorandum to be submitted to the court. At the Pretrial Conference the Judge will listen to the parties (or their attorneys) and usually then schedule the trial. Sometimes the case will need another Pretrial Conference. And occasionally the Judge hears enough (in cases with limited issues) to decide the issues and order the divorce that day.
A divorce trial is like any other trial and involves substantial preparation, the calling of witnesses to testify, the submission of exhibits and other evidence to the court, and opening and closing statements. Some people represent themselves, but it can be very difficult to do so since “pro se” (self-representing) parties are still expected to follow the rules of evidence and procedure. After the trial the Judge will issue a decision on all of the issues including custody, support, property division, etc. As with a 1A divorce, decisions made by the Judge that affect children are later modifiable based on a change in circumstance.
To further confuse matters, sometimes you start working on a separation agreement with the hopes of filing a 1A/uncontested divorce, but negotiations break down and you end up heading to a trial. On the other hand, sometimes one party files a 1B/contested divorce and it looks like you’re headed for a trial, but you’re able to negotiate an agreement on your own or through your attorneys and you can present that agreement to the court and avoid a trial.
What I’ve just described are typical scenarios, but cases often take different and more complicated directions based on the issues. Most days in Barnstable Probate Court there is a “Lawyer of the Day” who can provide you with free, limited advice. If neither party has an attorney, the Judge will most likely send the parties to speak with someone in Family Services/Probation to see if an agreement can be reached on all or some of the issues. There is also a law library in Barnstable District Court and the librarians can direct you to useful information on divorce.
Jeni A. Landers, Esquire
Wynn & Wynn, P.C.
300 Barnstable Rd.
Hyannis, MA 02601
By: Attorney Jeni Landers, Esquire
Hi everyone! I’m very pleased to be joining Cape Cod Mommies and look forward to sharing helpful information with you. As you may have read in my bio, I’m originally from Dennis. After college I lived and worked in New York City and then in Paris. At age 30 I decided to change paths and moved back to Boston to attend law school. My husband and I were married in 2006 and I graduated from law school in 2007. Since then I’ve been practicing at Wynn & Wynn in Hyannis, a general practice. Between work, my son, helping out my parents, and volunteering for some great organizations (CCYP, Latham, WE CAN, etc) I keep busy!
Much of my practice is Family and Divorce Law, but I also handle personal injury, business and contract law, general litigation, probate, some small criminal matters, and some real estate. I want this blog to be useful so I’d like to know what subjects/areas of law interest you. I can’t answer specific questions about your particular legal matter in this forum due to confidentiality and conflict of interest rules, but I can certainly answer more general questions and gear my posts towards topics of interest to you.
Thank you to Cape Cod Mommies for welcoming me to this great group of advisors. Look for my posts on the first Thursday of every month, and please leave a comment if there’s an area of law you’d like to hear more about!
Jeni A. Landers, Esquire
Wynn & Wynn, P.C.
300 Barnstable Rd.
Hyannis, MA 02601
Join us in welcoming the newest Adviser and local
Cape Cod Mom to our team: Jeni A. Landers, Esquire.
Born and raised in Dennis, Jeni is a graduate of Smith College (French Literature) and Northeastern University School of Law. Since her admission to the Massachusetts bar in 2007, Attorney Landers has concentrated her practice in family law, civil litigation, and personal injury. Attorney Landers is fluent in French and is a member of the Barnstable County Bar Association. Jeni volunteers for several local non-profits and community agencies and received a Cape and Plymouth Business Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Award in 2012. Jeni lives in Dennis with her husband, her 4 ½ year old son, and her parents.
Memberships & Activities
Board of Directors & Board Development Committee Chair, Latham Centers Inc.
Board of Directors & Treasurer, Smith College Club of Cape Cod
Barnstable County Bar Association
Pro Bono Legal Services Provider & Chair of Legal Advisory Committee, WE CAN
Scholarship Review Committee Member, Cape Cod Foundation
Member, Village Improvement Society of Dennis and Chair Ad-Hoc Playground Committee
Cultural Center of Cape Cod
Board of Directors & Clerk, Cape Cod Young Professionals 2011-2013
Winner, Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine 40 Under 40 Awards 2012
Volunteer, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts
Volunteer, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Cape Cod
Jeni A. Landers, Esquire
Wynn & Wynn, P.C.
300 Barnstable Rd.
Hyannis, MA 02601
Cape Cod Moms