Vermont’s Star Chamber Blacklists The Poor

Imagine living in a Vermont where you, without any notice, are put on a secret government blacklist so that you are prohibited for life from earning a livelihood in hundreds of occupations. Imagine the only way to be removed from the blacklist is, after seven years, to request the same government bureaucracy which accused you […]

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Defending against a Relief from Abuse Complaint or Domestic Violence Petition

Author’s Note:  Our firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants in New Hampshire and Vermont  in relief from abuse complaints (as they are called in Vermont) and domestic violence petitions (as they are called in New Hampshire).  This article deals with defense of such cases, in part because there are many sources of information for plaintiffs in both […]

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The Public Service Board, Industrial Wind Turbines, and the question of beauty

Vermont’s signature environmental law, Act 250, in place now for over 40 years, has protected Vermont’s environment through a process that requires developers to demonstrate that that they meet certain statutory criteria before they can begin their projects. Unfortunately, Act 250 does not apply to some of the largest developments Vermont has encountered in recent […]

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Finding hidden sources of a spouse’s income in a divorce

Obtaining an appropriate  award of spousal maintenance (alimony) or child support depends in large part on obtaining accurate information about your spouse’s income. Many people believe that their spouses are hiding income. There are ways to determine income, or to make an educated guess about income that the court will consider in determining alimony or […]

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A new and nifty way to obtain discovery out of state–with a caveat

As those of you who have practiced for many years know, it has been nearly impossible to obtain out of state discovery in a civil case. In order to obtain discovery, a litigant was required to obtain an order from a court in their home jurisdiction, file the order with the foreign jurisdiction and request […]

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Opinion: Unrepresented (pro se) parties in court should not have special treatment

A man  filed for divorce a year after he separated from his wife.  He was represented by an attorney at various times during the divorce, but at the final hearing, held two years after he filed, he was unrepresented.  The parties had been notified of the final hearing many weeks earlier.    The wife, who had an attorney, had […]

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Relationship with opposing attorneys—should it be adversarial or cooperative?

Author’s note: Litigation sometimes results in difficult relationships between attorneys.  This article is a reminder to myself as  much as it is a message to other attorneys and litigants.  Clients involved in litigation want to be sure that their attorneys are representing their best interests and have no conflicting loyalties. Thus clients are understandably uneasy […]

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Joint Legal parental rights and responsibilities—A good Idea?

In Vermont, parental rights and responsibilities are divided into two separate categories:  physical parental rights and responsibilities, and legal parental rights and responsibilities. 15 V.S.A. Section 664 defines legal parental rights and responsibilities as follows: ” ‘Legal responsibility’ means the rights and responsibilities to determine and control various matters affecting a child’s welfare and upbringing, other […]

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Parental Rights and Responsibilities in Vermont in the Age of Facebook

  In a contested hearing held in Vermont Family Court, Mother and Father each request sole parental rights and responsibilities of their minor children.  Mother brings with her pictures of Father partying, drinking, and in compromising poses with the opposite sex, along with comments about how much he enjoys his night life, all posted on […]

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