In the area of divorce law in Massachusetts, the public rarely gets to see behind the dealings in the courtroom. The desire for privacy among the parties to a dispute, as well as the ethical rules of client-attorney privilege, preclude an abundance of information entering into the public realm. Occasionally, though, an event, such as the scandal involving a top attorney, throws light onto this world.
Gerald Nissenbaum built a reputation as one of the most famous divorce lawyers in the country, claiming he would only work with high-worth cases. Recently, though, according to an article in the Salem News, Nissenbaum received an injunction barring him from practicing law in the state for three years. His conduct during a high-profile case, according to a judge, involved lying, charging exorbitant fees and engaging in a conflict of interest. The case that precipitated the charges concerned a wealthy Cape Cod family, whose children claimed that a younger wife was squandering their father’s fortune and neglecting his medical care. The children did not approve of the marriage of their father to a younger woman who had a colorful past, including a record of prison time.
According to the CDC, Massachusetts has one of the lowest rates of divorce in the country. in 2017, the rate of divorce in the state was at 2.2 divorces per 1,000 people. The divorce rate remained relatively low for the period from 1990 through 2017, though occasionally rates rose as high as 2.8 in 1990. Only four states in 2017 registered rates as low or lower than Massachusetts.