VOLUME VIII | Fall 2022
Peridot Family Law is a full-service family law firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. Our goal is to help clients transition through their family law matter in the best possible way. We do this by listening to our client’s goals and objectives. We meet our clients where they are in the process and offer practical, reasonable solutions to produce a positive outcome for their situation.
NEW CASE SUMMARY: Cavanagh v. Cavanagh, SJC 13222, (MA SJC August 8, 2022)
MINDFULNESS MATTERS: Autumn - New Beginnings

FALL 2022

Now that school is back in session, we’re getting lots of calls about legal custody issues regarding the payment of extra-curricular activities, college expenses, and child support. If you have any questions about your rights and obligations, please set up a consult with our office.

Speaking Engagements/Presentations

Cindy is a presenter at, “Perfecting Your Technique: A Continuing Bootcamp for Trial Advocacy” for the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Annual Family Law Conference at the Chatham Bars Inn on October 28th – 29th.

On March 31, 2023, Cindy and Shannon M. Barnes, Esq., who is Of Counsel to Peridot Family Law, will do a presentation on Limited Assistance Representation (“LAR”) for MCLE. Cindy and Shannon will discuss how attorneys can use LAR to assist self-represented litigants on a limited basis without undertaking full representation of a client on all issues related to the case.

Quarterly Zoom Presentation: On November 17, 2022, 12 pm EST, Cindy will interview Hannah Holman, PhD, who will speak about, “Finding Your Way to a Healthier You”. Hannah Holman, is a PhD. and the Healthy Living Director at Burbank YMCA. Hannah will speak about ways to get healthy through better sleep habits, diet and exercise. Before she became involved in fitness, Hannah grew up in Maine and received her B.S. in Physics and PhD. in Geophysics from Purdue University and later worked at MIT Lincoln Labs. When she is not working out or teaching, she spends her time with her two children and husband. Hannah has some great tips for helping folks to get started toward a healthier level of fitness.

To join this free Zoom Webinar at 12 pm ET on November 17, 2022, please click the following link: Click Here to Register


Good news! Peridot Family Law is growing and will be taking on more space beginning in January 2023! As such, we are putting our “Artist of the Quarter” series on hold until the beginning of the year when we have even more wall space. Stay tuned for details concerning our next exhibition!


Cavanagh v. Cavanagh, SJC 13222, (MA SJC August 8, 2022)

A case in which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that alimony and child support can be awarded concurrently.

In 2016 the Parties filed for divorce after 21 years. The Mother had briefly worked at the beginning of the marriage; but spent the majority of the time being a stay-at-home mother for the Parties’ three children, only one of which was not emancipated at the time of the divorce. The original judgment required the Father to pay $800 a week in child support. Mother did not get any alimony, and during the trial the Parties agreed not to include Father’s medical center job in income calculations for alimony ro child support.

Both Parties sought a modification of this judgment. Father sought a modification of child support and Mother sought alimony. The Trial Court reduced Father’s alimony to $650 a week and denied Mother’s request for alimony as the Father’s income had already been used to calculate child support.

Both Parties appealed this judgment as well, with Mother making an application for direct appellate review to the SJC, which was accepted. The SJC ruled that the Alimony Reform Act, codified as M.G.L. Chapter 208, must be taken as a whole and parties cannot use Section 53(c)(2) to essentially eliminate the possibility of alimony in cases also involving child support. Section 53(c)(2) asserts that the court, when ordering alimony, must exclude from its income calculations gross income that it already considered in making a child support order. The decision highlights the fact the other provisions in the Alimony Reform Act explicitly consider concurrent alimony and child support provisions, and require judges to inquire about the facts regarding the parties circumstances before denying alimony.

The Court proceeded to outline a framework under which alimony and child support decisions are to be decided. The Probate and Family Court must:

• Calculate alimony first in light of the factors enumerated in the Alimony Reform Act, then calculate child support based on the parties’ post-alimony incomes;
• Calculate child support first, then calculate alimony based on the remaining income, if any; and then,
• Compare the two awards and the tax consequences of each, and choose the award that is more equitable.

The SJC also made some determinations regard what can or cannot be counted as income in these situations. Persuaded by the Pennsylvania Court’s recent decision that employer contributions could be manipulated to be a shield from support obligations; the Court ruled employer contributions to retirement accounts are income for child support. Under a similar reasoning the Court ruled employer contributions to a health saving account are also income as they can be withdrawn “at any time and for any purpose”. The Court also notes that capital gains only need to be regular income when they relate to real and personal property transactions. Therefore, other such transactions, capital gains, interest, and dividends can be considered income for the purposes of calculating child support.



By Attorney Cindy Runge & Jess Landry

Fall is one of the best times of the year. It is a season for reassessing what works in one’s life and what needs adjustment. The school year always starts in the Fall and even though it takes place towards the end of the year, it always feels like a new beginning when it comes.

Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and acknowledging your thoughts and feelings, whether they are pleasant or uncomfortable. Mindfulness helps us to pay attention to what is happening around us without trying to fix or change it. Fall is a particularly appropriate time to begin practicing mindfulness meditation as it is a transitional period which encompasses change and letting go.

Stop and look around. Listen to the rustle of the wind in the trees. Feel the crisp, cool air on your face. Watch all the colorful leaves drift down on the breeze. Consider the bounties of the last year and what areas of your life could benefit from your attention in the coming year. Bring a notebook with you on your walk and jot down any thoughts that come to mind while you wander. Most of all, enjoy this time of year and use it to think about what you want to bring more of into your life between now and next Fall.