July 2010 Newsletter

All Star 



Mindy, aka Lawdog, is well known to my staff and clients.  Her photo was recently submitted to the Scituate Animal Shelter's annual calendar.  Mindy, in her beloved MG, Putt Putt, is making her calendar debut in July 2011 of the calendar.  Anyone interested in obtaining a calendar with the cutest canine and feline friends imaginable, please contact the Scituate Animal Shelter at

Thoughts From a Future Legal Eagle

Melaney Hodge, our Summer Intern, is a second year law student at the New England School of Law
All Star

The leap from classroom law to actual application reminds me of the Grand Canyon...a big 'ole gap!  In the classroom, one legal argument is put against another legal argument and one is the winner.  No human thoughts, actions, or feelings need be considered.  The cases in our textbooks hold immense legal significance, but they fail to address the human dynamic that is involved in every legal dispute.  This is the greatest lesson I have gained from this experience.  My legal education will provide the groundwork for my future success, but only through experiences like this, concerning client interaction and courtroom appearances, will I be able to truly appreciate the significance of my future career.

Attorney Ryan, Paula and Rachel have been fantastic in allowing me to experience every aspect of the probate and family court system.  Some of the concepts, I must admit, sounded a little crazy to me.  The idea of a four-way meeting absolutely blew my mind!  I thought putting two divorcing parties into one room would indefinitely lead to a fistfight.  However, it is a true testament to Attorney Ryan's commanding presence that she is able to actually negotiate settlements during these meetings.  She has the uncanny ability to remind everyone of the true issues needing to be resolved for the conflict to end as quickly as possible, avoiding extra expense and frustration for everyone.


I have loved the time I have been able to spend in the courtroom.  The judges and the staff run a tight ship.  Attorney Ryan introduced me to the judges who were extremely kind and down to earth individuals.  I appreciate their concern for any children involved in the litigation.  The judges are exceptionally considerate and ask specifically about the children's reactions and behavior throughout the divorce proceedings.  On one recent court appearance, we arrived to find the judge scolding two litigants for bickering over money without concern as to their three-year-old child.  I found it fascinating that the judge did not stand on decorum and told the parties what was really on her mind.  The clerks of the courtroom are my super heroes!  How they maintain organization through the chaos is amazing.  Likewise, the court officials are so kind and helpful to everyone.


I am impressed with the entire system's emphasis on settlement and resolving disputes amicably.  The Family and Probate Courts deal with such sensitive disputes, which I think is particularly unique to that court.  No one wants to go through a divorce, and I feel everyone involved in the proceedings directs the parties' attention to the true issues, allowing the divorce to proceed as smoothly as possible.  While parties may enjoy airing all their grievances, I feel the system is effective, reminding all involved that the point is to end it and move on. 

Also during this summer, I had the opportunity to work at the Clerk's Office at the Appeals Court in Boston.  At that position, I checked out legal briefs, looking at formatting, etc. (it is as dull as it sounds) and conducted research for the head clerk.  While I feel it was a worthwhile experience, I felt it lacked the personal interaction that is also missing from law school curriculum.  And, of course, it lacked the festive atmosphere of Attorney Ryan's Office!

Overall, these experiences gave me an appreciation for the actual people involved in litigation.  The human dynamics of the justice system are no longer such a mystery.  Having never been involved myself, I never fully appreciated the strain parties go through in order to resolve disputes, particularly divorces.  From Attorney Ryan, Paula and Rachel, I definitely learned the passion needed to rigorously represent clients.  Thank you for all those of you who allowed me to sit in on your meetings and court proceedings.  I truly value the experience and look forward to what the future has in store for me!
Accessing and Understanding DOR Records
If you requested services from the Department of Revenue, you are able to access records online regarding your account.  There are several screens available, providing you with information including the date of any payments, the amount of the payments, amount of arrearages, if any, and how the payment was made. 
Information as to who is paying the child support can be very important, particularly if the payor (non custodial parent) has stated he/she is not working.  If the money is paid by an employer, that is a sure sign someone is working!
To insure you have access to these records, you must have a pin number, and provide additional information to DOR.  For further information please refer to the Child Support Enforcement Division's website.
For those who are ordered to pay child support, online access is important as well.  Check and make sure your payments have been credited correctly to your account, and/or that your employer is making the payments in a timely manner.
If an employer is not making the payments at all, and/or not making them timely, it is possible to file a complaint for contempt against the employer as well as the non paying parent.
In the event there is a question about payments made or payments received, you can file a request for an administrative review of the account.  If payments have not been credited correctly, you may be able to correct the situation by providing copies of checks, money orders, or other forms of payment.
Issue: 18

scales of justice

In This Issue
Thoughts From a Future Legal Eagle
Accessing and Understanding DOR Records

Did You Know . . . ?


If you have renewed your car registration or registered a new car in Massachusetts within the past year or so, you may have noticed, or in some cases, may NOT have noticed, that your Certificate of Registration has a new look.  Gone are the 5 x 7 cards that fit neatly in your glove compartment.  When you receive your stickers for your license plate, you will also receive an 8 x 10 piece of paper that states at the top "Certificate of Registration."  Do NOT throw this away as it is not some type of receipt.  It is in fact your Registration.  If you have mistakenly thrown it away, you can obtain a duplicate Registration for $25.00 by visiting the Registry of Motor Vehicle's website.

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If anyone has a topic that would be of general interest, please do not hesitate to contact the office and let us know what items would be of general interest to the readers of this newsletter.
Susan C. Ryan, Esq.
Law Office of Susan Castleton Ryan, PC
(781) 982-8850

This newsletter is designed to keep you up-to-date with changes in the law.  For help with these or any other legal issues, please call our firm today.
The information in this newsletter is intended solely for your information .  It does not constitute legal advice, and it should not be relied on without a discussion of your specific situation with an attorney.