Author Archives: Kacy Tillotson

Attorneys Paul Chant and Leslie Leonard voted Super Lawyers Again!

May 2, 2017

April Lunch & Learn Seminar – Mediation in the Workplace, presented by Randall F. Cooper, Esq.

March 23, 2017

Cooper Cargill Chant and the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce present a free Lunch & Learn series.  Details for April Seminar:

April 13, 2017 – Mediation in the Workplace, presented by Randall F. Cooper, Esq.
With over 40 years of practicing law in the Mount Washington Valley and recent mediator certifications, Randy believes in the power of mediation to resolve disputes in the workplace. This session will cover the process of mediation, how mediation works and can help your business resolve disputes in a timely cost effective manner while empowering your employees. Also to be discussed will be the types of disputes where workplace mediation can be most effective and more!
BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH | RSVP: Lisa 356-5701 ext. 300
Location: North Conway Water District Building – Conference Room
104 Sawmill Lane (behind POLO)

Facebook Event Details

“It Happened at a Closing” – 2 Hour Realtor Credited NH & ME Course hosted by Cooper Cargill Chant affiliate Presidential Title Services

March 23, 2017

Cooper Cargill Chant Attorney Tyler Ray Admitted to Maine Bar

January 30, 2017

Cooper Cargill Chant Attorney Tyler T. Ray was sworn in to the Maine State Bar. Pictured (Left) Attorney Nicholas J. Morrill of Jensen Baird Gardner & Henry, attorney sponsor and witness of (Right) Attorney Ray’s swearing in ceremony.

Cooper Cargill Chant Attorney Dennis Morgan Volunteers on the KHS Scoreboard Project Committee

January 25, 2017

Kennett High School Scoreboard Project Closing In On Fundraising Goal

The Kennett High School Scoreboard Committee has announced the receipt of a donation by the Zeb’s Charitable Fund in the amount of $1,500.  This grant will be a welcome addition to the monies already raised for the purchase and installation of two electronic scoreboards for the girls and boys field hockey/lacrosse/soccer fields.  “These scoreboards will be a tremendous enhancement to the spectator experience and give our athletes a sense of pride in their school when competing on the athletic fields,” commented Neal Weaver, Kennett High School Athletic Director.

The Scoreboard Committee, partnering with the Gary Millen Foundation on the project, is closing in on the amount needed for the scoreboards.  “We are over 50% towards the fundraising needed for this project.” commented scoreboard committee member Dennis Morgan, “and very much appreciate everyone’s support. We are so close and hope the community will put us over the top as we schedule future fund raising events.”  The first such event will be a “Dine To Donate” fund raising event on January 26th from 5:30 pm – 9 pm at Black Cap Cafe.  A large fund raising event will take place later on in April.

If interested in making a contribution, checks can be sent to Kennett High School Athletic Department (re: Scoreboard Project), 409 Eagles Way, North Conway, NH 03860.  For further information, contact Neal Weaver at 356-4335.  Information on Zeb’s Charitable fund may be found at www.zebs.com.

Common Law Marriage: Fact or Fiction?

December 15, 2016

People often ask whether or not couples can be considered to have a common-law marriage in New Hampshire, and thus, entitled to the same benefits which formally married couples are entitled. The long-standing, erroneous belief is after “7 years (or some other arbitrary number), you become common-law married.” This may be true in a few states, but not in New Hampshire. There is no common law marriage in New Hampshire for purposes of tax benefits, health insurance coverage, or any of the multitude of benefits married couples enjoy. Similarly, legal benefits available for married couples for divorce, alimony, and/or property division upon the end of a relationship are unavailable to unmarried couples, no matter how long they have lived together, or how many kids they might have.

What New Hampshire does recognize, however, is a common law spouse upon death of the other party for inheritance purposes only. This means that a couple who cohabitates for more than three years, and holds themselves out to be married to the public, and who are generally believed to be married by the public, are not considered legally married while both partners are living, but, upon the death of either partner, a Court can find a common law marriage exists for purposes of estate distribution. This would grant the surviving partner an opportunity to have a “spousal share” of the deceased partner’s estate.

The standard for common law marriage for inheritance purposes under the statute (RSA 457:39) is high. Generally, it is easy for partners to prove they have lived together for three or more years. Where the trouble often lies is in proving that they held themselves out to the public to be married, and that the community believed them to be married. This means more than simply sharing a checking account, owning a home together, or having a child together- or even a combination of all three!

Increasingly, couples choose to cohabitate together for any number of reasons. That reason no longer is limited to marriage. Couples move in together for financial reasons, for love, for convenience, in anticipation of marriage, in lieu of marriage, and many other reasons. Couples also make active decisions regarding their finances- whether to share bank accounts, who to name as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy, or their 401(k) or investment accounts, whether to buy property together, to name a few. These decisions may not necessarily reflect a person’s position on marriage, but they are precisely the factors that Courts will look at to determine whether a common law marriage existed at the time of a parties’ death.

The intent of the parties is what matters in determining whether a common law marriage existed for purposes of inheritance. Did people in the community believe the couple to be married? Did the couple call each other husband and wife? Did they wear wedding bands or other pieces of jewelry reflecting their level of commitment or believe that they were married? The determination is absolutely fact-driven, and will turn on testimony of friends, family, witnesses, and people in the community to give their perception as to the nature of the parties’ relationship.

The solution, if there is one, to the quandary of “are we or are we not married and entitled to each other’s stuff'” is to formalize your union. Get married, in a formal ceremony. Or don’t. But beware that, unless you make formal a legal marriage, you will not be legally entitled to all the benefits which married couples receive. Without a marriage, when your partner dies, you may not be entitled to any portion of that estate, because you may not be able to prove you were common-law married. However, just as a formal marriage may provide the security a person needs in a relationship, simply completing your estate plan, and discussing those plans with your significant other, will likely reduce the need for litigation down the road to prove you were a spouse for inheritance reasons. If you and your partner have estate documents which establish the intent to distribute the estate to each other, or at least include provisions for each other, then the issue of common-law marriage should not be at issue.

Leslie Leonard is an attorney at Cooper Cargill Chant in North Conway, NH, focusing on family law and estate planning. Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have over 150 years of experience. Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys are recognized leaders of the New Hampshire Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the New Hampshire Bar Association, the New Hampshire Association for Justice, and the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. Lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work. With offices located in North Conway and Berlin, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant is counsel to hundreds of small businesses and associations, and thousands of individual clients throughout northern NH and western Maine. For more information, call 603-356-5439 or visit them online at www.coopercargillchant.com.

Cooper Cargill Chant Attorneys Receive Accolades From Super Lawyers

November 14, 2016

NORTH CONWAY, NH – Cooper Cargill Chant, PA is proud to announce that its Partner Paul  Chant has been selected by Super Lawyers New England Magazine for recognition in its 2016 publication.  Super Lawyers, a Thompson-Reuters business, is a prestigious honor awarded to attorneys who exemplify the highest standards and abilities in areas of law.

Cooper Cargill Chant, PA’s Super Lawyer for 2016 is Attorney Paul Chant.  Attorney Chant was named for personal injury practice, on the Plaintiff side.  He has 30 years of experience representing Plaintiff’s in personal injury and workers’ compensation litigation.   Attorney Chant was selected by Business New Hampshire Magazine as its “Top personal injury lawyer” for 2015 for the entire state of New Hampshire.  Paul is President of the Mount Washington Valley Economic Council and a Member of the New Hampshire Bar Association Board of Governors.

In addition to Attorney Chant’s selection as a Super Lawyer, Cooper Cargill Chant, PA Associate Leslie Leonard was named a Rising Star.  Attorney Leonard is an Associate whose practice is in family law, estate planning, personal injury  and employment law.  She is the Past-President of the Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum Board of Directors, Vice President of the Rotary Club of North Conway, a member of the Board of Directors of the White Mountain Health Center. and a Graduate of the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program.

Attorneys chosen to the list of Super Lawyers must pass a rigorous, research driven selection process that consists of peer nominations and ratings and in depth evaluations by a highly credentialed panel of attorneys.  Lawyers who make the final list have attained the highest degree of professional achievement and recognition from their legal peers.

Super Lawyers Magazine was created to honor exceptional attorneys and to provide consumers in need of legal services in their region with access to an objective list of top lawyers in their area, because no more than 5% of attorneys in this state are named to the Super Lawyers Magazine list – and no more than 2.5% of attorneys are selected to the list of Rising Stars.™   (Honoring lawyers age 40 or younger or in practice 10 years or less). Consumers can feel confidence in choosing lawyers who have been recognized by the trusted publication.  For more information, visit the Super Lawyer web site.

Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have over 150 years of experience. Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys are recognized leaders of the New Hampshire Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the New Hampshire Bar Association, the New Hampshire Association for Justice, and the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. Lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work. With offices located in North Conway and Berlin, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant is counsel to hundreds of small businesses and associations, and thousands of individual clients throughout northern NH and western Maine.

For more information, call 603-356-5439 or visit them online at www.coopercargillchant.com.

Gray Divorce – How Boomers are changing the face of divorce

November 7, 2016

If you are over 50 and getting divorced, you’re not alone. A recent study from Bowling Green State University called, “The Gray Divorce Revolution,” reports that in the past two decades, the divorce rate has doubled for people over 50, while declining for younger couples.

In 2009, 25 percent of divorces included a spouse over 50. Researchers point to several factors including: older people are more likely to be in second marriages, which have a higher rate of divorce, decline in the stigma surrounding divorce, and increasing lifespans have changed the view of marriage as a lifetime commitment. Middle aged clients see this phase of their life as an opportunity to make changes that would have been more difficult when they were raising children and building careers.

Challenges of the Gray Divorce
Divorce brings the realization that a middle aged couple will have to divide their carefully nurtured nest egg between them. This can be difficult, since most people over 50 have their assets contained in real estate and restricted retirement plans or pensions. Expenses will increase, when, for example, each has to pay for their own health insurance and housing. Even common expenses like utilities, auto insurance or a vacation become more daunting.
At middle age, most people have reached their highest earning capacity and are looking towards retirement, when their incomes will decrease and become fixed. Divorce may lead to a change of retirement plans, or reentering the workforce and putting off retirement entirely for a time.

Easing Troubled Times
All this is happening while the primary relationship of each spouse’s life is dissolving and they have to face an uncertain future. Many over 50 are worried about the impact of divorce on their spouse and their families. Many  want to be fair and insure each will leave the marriage in as good a shape as possible. In most cases, each spouse wants to avoid an expensive and lengthy court battle.

Given these challenges, those over 50 should seriously consider the most flexible and creative solutions to divorce. Using mediation or collaborative law promotes a problem solving approach to divorce. Avoiding court battles will significantly reduce the cost and length of a divorce. In some cases, it may not make sense to get divorced at all. New Hampshire now allows married couples to create “post-nuptial” agreements. Using a “post-nup” can allow parties to separate assets and create support obligations, while still taking advantage of the benefits of remaining married, such as favored tax status, the right to inherit and continued health coverage on family plans.
Published November 2016 – Business NH Magazine

Leslie Leonard is an attorney at Cooper Cargill Chant focusing on family law and estate planning.

Cooper Cargill Chant and Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce present Free Lunch & Learn Series

October 25, 2016

Cooper Cargill Chant and the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce present a Lunch & Learn series.  Each session in this series will focus on an area of expertise from a Cooper Cargill Chant attorney. These Lunch & Learn sessions will give you the opportunity to learn and network with Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys in an informal environment on legal topics important to you.  All sessions are free and a new Lunch & Learn is presented each month!  Sessions will be brown bag lunches (bring your own lunch).  All sessions are interactive, so please bring your questions.  Here is more information about each of the sessions in the upcoming Lunch & Learn series:

April 13, 2017 – Mediation in the Workplace, presented by Randall F. Cooper, Esq.
With over 40 years of practicing law in the Mount Washington Valley and recent mediator certifications, Randy believes in the power of mediation to resolve disputes in the workplace. This session will cover the process of mediation, how mediation works and can help your business resolve disputes in a timely cost effective manner while empowering your employees. Also to be discussed will be the types of disputes where workplace mediation can be most effective and more! BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH | RSVP: Lisa 356-5701 ext. 300
Facebook Event Details

 

May 11, 2017 – Commercial and Residential Landlord/Tenant Law – What You Need to Know, presented by Dennis L. Morgan, Esq.

Disclaimer
All presentations are general and non-specific overviews of topics involving law.  The information offered by these presentations, both written and oral, should not be considered legal advice, and does not give rise to an attorney-client privilege.  You should consult with a lawyer to discuss your individual situation if you believe that the topics discussed herein apply to you or your business.

Attorney Deborah Fauver to serve as panelist for “Being Mortal” Event regarding end of life decisions and advance care planning.

September 23, 2016

‘Being Mortal’ film screening event to be held Oct. 5

“Hope is not a plan.” — Dr. Atul Gawande
CONWAY — The Mount Washington Valley community is invited to a free screening of the PBS Frontline documentary, “Being Mortal,” on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Kennett High School.

Following the film, a panel of local professionals will answer audience questions and share their own perspectives on advance care planning. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with refreshments and informational displays; film begins at 6 p.m. in Loynd Auditorium.
The evening is hosted by Visiting Nurse Home Care & Hospice, Memorial Hospital and members of the Community Health Collaborative. According to Sandy Ruka, Visiting Nurse executive director, the screening is another part of the group’s ongoing campaign to bring advance care planning education and assistance to the community.
“The film encourages families to have these tough but important conversations,” said Ruka, who chairs the collaborative’s advance care planning committee. “We also hope it can be a catalyst for discussions between patients and their health-care providers. The goal is to take real steps in identifying, communicating and documenting our end-of-life wishes.”
The Hospice Foundation of America selected the collaborative to host the event as part of the foundation’s “Being Mortal” public awareness campaign. The national effort is based on Dr. Atul Gawande’s best-selling book, “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Really Matters in the End.”
The project uses the PBS Frontline film, “Being Mortal,” to educate audiences on the importance of talking about end-of-life preferences and values with families and medical professionals. Gawande asks, “How do we start the conversation with our loved ones and health-care providers? What would our priorities be if our time was limited?”
Leona Cloutier, family nurse practitioner with Memorial Hospital Primary Care, says working in family practice means embracing end-of-life care. “We have to educate people that these are not sad conversations to have. By knowing how a person wants to be cared for at the end of life, you have the chance to honor their wishes.”
Cloutier also stresses the importance of conversations between patient and provider. “I think it’s important to have well thought-out and meaningful conversations with my patients. Being prepared gives family members the chance to spend more quality time with their loved one.”
A guided discussion will take place after the screening facilitated by Rev. Mary Edes and Julie Lanoie, hospice volunteer director. Panelists include Dr. Rachel Hamilton of Memorial Hospital Primary Care, Dr. David Ladly of Saco River Medical Group, Rev. Sean Dunker Bendigo, attorney Deborah Fauver of Cooper Cargill Chant, Christine MacDonald of White Mountain Community Health Center, Memorial Hospital’s discharge planner Jennifer Grise, Jayne Maher from ServiceLink and family caregiver Jane Duggan.
Ruka said the group felt it was important to have a diverse panel available to answer questions. “It helps people see how all of these roles are inter-related in the discussion of advance care planning.”
She added that more educational opportunities are already planned for later in October. For those in health-care related fields, Continuing Medical Education credits are available through Memorial Hospital for the Oct. 5 program. Cooper Cargill Chant and the Hospice Foundation of America are sponsoring the event.
In his book, Gawande wrote, “As our time winds down, we all seek comfort in simple pleasures — companionship, everyday routines, the taste of good food, the warmth of sunlight on our faces. We become less interested in the rewards of achieving and accumulating, and more interested in the rewards of simply being.”
“After all,” he concluded, “our ultimate goal is not a good death, but a good life to the very end.”
For more about the “Being Mortal” event or advance care planning services, call Visiting Nurse, Home Care & Hospice at (603) 356-7006 or (603) 800-499-4171, or Memorial Hospital Population Health at (603) 356-5461, Ext. 2187. Additional event information can be found at VNHCH.org.

 

Cooper Cargill Chant Attorney Chris Meier Accepts Special Recognition for the MWV Trails Association From Governor and Executive Council

September 14, 2016

Photo Caption: Chris Meier (third from right) Accepts Special Recognition for the MWV Trails Association From Governor Maggie Hassan (center) and Executive Council.

NORTH CONWAY, NH –  Volunteerism and public service is part of the culture at Cooper Cargill Chant, northern New Hampshire’s largest law firm. This fact was exemplified on September 7, 2016, when Attorney and Partner Chris Meier received special recognition on behalf of the non-profit Mount Washington Valley Trails Association, on whose board Meier serves as President. Meier and the MWVTA received a special proclamation from Governor Maggie Hassan and Executive Council members at their North Country meeting last week at the North Conway Community Center in North Conway, NH.

The MWV Trails Association and its Rec Path Committee are working to build and maintain multi-use recreation paths within the Mount Washington Valley area that provide residents and visitors alternative community access and opportunities for safe and family-oriented recreation and transportation. It is their mission to build pathways in the community for families, elders and kids to walk, run, bike, rollerblade, and ski in a safe and pleasant environment.
 
The MWVTA is just one of the non-profit organizations supported by Meier and by Cooper Cargill Chant. Chris also serves on the board of the MWV Chamber of Commerce and a past board member of many other organizations including the New Hampshire Bar Association, the White Mountain Community Health Center and the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust.   Collectively, Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys give their time to dozens of local organizations, including the MWV Children’s Museum, Rotary, Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring Foundation, MWV Economic Council and more.
 
Meier shared, “It was a great honor to accept the proclamation from Governor Hassan on behalf of the Trails Association and Rec Path Committee. It recognizes the hard work of the entire board, and the support of townspeople who recently voted in favor of the effort. It’s great to be part of a law firm that encourages and expects its attorneys to be community-minded.”
 
Meier joined Cooper Cargill Chant in 2007, and became a director in 2010. Before coming to New Hampshire, Chris practiced in Massachusetts and clerked for the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court.  He concentrates his practice on the litigation of business, commercial, land use, probate, and consumer disputes.  Chris also counsels businesses in the areas of regulatory and corporate compliance, land use and municipal permitting and litigation avoidance. Chris regularly represents clients before both State and Federal courts throughout New England, administrative tribunals, municipal boards and private arbitrators and mediators.
 
Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have over 150 years of experience. Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys are recognized leaders of the New Hampshire Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the New Hampshire Bar Association, the New Hampshire Association for Justice, and the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. Lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work.
 
For more information, call 603-356-5439 or visit them online at www.coopercargillchant.com .

 

Online Renting: Traps for the Unaware

June 30, 2016

NORTH CONWAY, NH –  Use of online rental services like Airbnb, VRBO and Home Away has exploded in the last few years.  While use of these services may provide a relatively easy way to earn extra money from your in-law apartment or the unused time at your camp or condo, there are many traps and pitfalls of which a homeowner should be aware before listing your home.

Generally, when you transition from hosting friends in your home or guest room to strangers paying for it, you’ve changed from private property owner to business person. The law governing the use of your property changes accordingly.
 
First – Taxes:  the money you earn is income and you have to claim it on your federal and state income tax return. In addition, in New Hampshire, you may have to pay rooms and meals tax for each rental. Some services, like Airbnb actually collect the rent and pay it out to you, and then send you a form 1099 at the end of the year. This means the IRS is getting notice of the rent you’ve been paid. Other services like VRBO actually allow you to collect the rent directly from the renters and you have to keep track of your income.
 
Second – State law protects renters: In New Hampshire, short term vacation rentals are governed by RSA 540-C. Most importantly, this statute requires a property owner to obtain written rental agreements with specific provisions to evict a renter if they overstay their welcome – lest they become long term tenants. There are penalties for wrongful eviction.
 
Third – Insurance:  Property owners should check their homeowners insurance, as most standard  residential homeowners’ policies do not cover tenants or renters; and you may be violating your policy by renting.  In any case, damage caused by renters is not likely covered; and worse, if someone is hurt on your property, you may face a lawsuit with no insurance coverage. To be  covered, you will likely need to purchase additional insurance to cover your commercial use.
 
Fourth – Liability:  Most people hold the properties they rent in their own names, and therefore if a renter brings suit, your other assets might be exposed.  Property owners should consider additional liability protection, whether through corporate structuring, or additional umbrella insurance. 
 
Fifth – Condominium rules, zoning ordinances and safety regulations: Renting your property may be prohibited or limited by your condominium documents, homeowners’ association documents, deed restrictions, local zoning regulations, or safety codes.  Again, once you rent your property, you have changed the use of your property to a commercial use; and separate laws apply.  Short term rentals are prohibited by many Association documents; and the safety and fire codes may require substantial upgrades to the property for rental uses, including extra means of egress and automatic fire suppression.    
 
The most important thing to understand is that when you rent property to someone, your relationship with that person becomes a business relationship the law governing the relationship changes, and your exposure to financial risk is higher.  Before you list online, it is always a good idea to consult with your attorney and tax professionals to ensure that you and your assets are protected, and your new business is accomplished in a legal fashion. 
For more information, call 603-356-5439 or visit them online at www.coopercargillchant.com.

 

Cooper Cargill Chant Paralegal Elizabeth Johnson Awarded 2016 Affiliate of the Year

June 14, 2016

Cooper Cargill Chant and Presidential Title’s paralegal Liz Johnson was awarded the 2016 Affiliate of the Year by the White Mountain Board of Realtors for her dedication to the association, civic work and business accomplishments.

Cooper Cargill Chant Attorney and Firm Receive Best in the Valley Award

May 13, 2016

NORTH CONWAY, NH – Cooper Cargill Chant, PA is proud to announce that its Partner Kenneth Cargill has been selected as Best Lawyer in Best of Mount Washington Valley Awards sponsored by the Conway Daily Sun. In addition, to Attorney Cargill’s selection as Best Lawyer, Cooper Cargill Chant was named Best Law Firm in the Mount Washington Valley. 

More than 4,000 people cast about 110,000 votes in 107 categories of businesses and people during The Conway Daily Sun’s online survey to acknowledge and promote the best of Mount Washington Valley. All voting was done online, and promoted via digital and print media.

KRC Best Lawyer

Cooper Cargill Chant partners Meier and Morgan coach MWV Lacrosse Club Teams

May 12, 2016

NORTH CONWAY — What do Cooper Cargill Chant partners Chris Meier and Dennis Morgan share in common, besides a law office and legal expertise? You can find them both most Monday and Thursday afternoons this time of year on the fields behind Kennett Middle School, dedicating their time and talents to coaching Mount Washington Valley Lacrosse Club teams. Attorney Meier coaches the fifth and sixth grade girls’ team and Attorney Morgan coaches the fifth and sixth grade boys’ team. The MWV Lacrosse Club serves the youth of SAU No. 9 and No. 13 plus Fryeburg, Maine.

What began as a parental interest (both men coach their own children’s teams) has since grown into an interest in supporting the sport of Lacrosse for all student athletes in the area, and both now also serve on the Board of the Club.

According to Morgan, it’s all part of their firm’s philosophy of giving back to the community. “We’re coaching our own kids, but we’re also doing it because it’s important for everyone in our office to volunteer. It’s nice that it matches up with a family interest too.”

Meier added, “We’ve decided as a firm to require that all attorneys volunteer time in the community, and we encourage our staff to do the same. The attorneys each serve on two or more local non-profit boards, and practice-wide we serve on more than 20 boards. By having each Cooper Cargill Chant team member dedicate time to a non-profit and mission in which they believe, the goal is that our collective legal experience and enthusiasm can enrich the community in which we live and practice law as well as by.”

The Club organizes and runs youth and club lacrosse teams in the Mount Washington Valley and supports the Kennett Eagles High School Lacrosse teams. The club has been around for many years and was founded originally with a goal to build a youth program to support high school varsity programs. The Club is actively working to get the high school girls’ program recognized as a varsity program.

Meier started the girls’ elementary level teams two years ago, and now, including all age levels, there are 50 participating. Earlier this year, he joined the organization’s board to further help grow the girls’ program. He shared, “There is no shortage of girls who want to compete. Our goal is to get it to a varsity level at Kennett, and continue the reliable feeder program at the elementary and middle school levels.” The girls’ team is following the successful example of the boys’ team, which has been recognized as a varsity sport for over 5 years. Morgan states, “It’s growing in popularity and getting better and better. It’s been great having the youth program feed into the varsity program. Lacrosse is the fastest growing team sport and the oldest team sport in North America.”

Morgan and Meier kicked off practice for the lacrosse season in early April, and games for the program started on April 30.

The boy’s youth programs have now grown to include four teams ranging from third through eighth grade. The Kennett Eagles Boys Lacrosse teams are KHS sanctioned varsity and JV teams that compete in Division 22 NHIAA. The girls high school club team (grades 8-12) plays games against both public and private schools in the area. The club also has a co-ed K-2 to introduce younger kids to the sport as well. The club strives to make it a fun yet disciplined program for all participants. Their belief is that lacrosse is not just a game but a sport that combines athletic skill, intelligent decision making, encourages teamwork and teaches life lessons as well.

Those wishing to learn more about the Club can go to their website: www.mwvlax.com.

Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have over 150 years of experience. Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys are recognized leaders of the N.H. Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the N.H. Bar Association, the N.H. Association for Justice, and the N.H. Bar Foundation. Their lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work. For more information, visit them online at www.coopercargillchant.com or call (603) 356-5439.

 

COOPER CARGILL CHANT DIRECTOR CHARLES GREENHALGH NOMINATED TO CIRCUIT COURT JUDGESHIP

April 5, 2016

NORTH CONWAY and BERLIN – Cooper Cargill Chant P.A. extends it heartfelt congratulations to its Shareholder and Director Charles L. Greenhalgh on his nomination by the Governor as a Judge to the New Hampshire Circuit Court.  The Governor could not have made a better choice, particularly given Charles’s long time practice of law in Carroll and Coos Counties, and his record of service to our community, our counties, and the State of New Hampshire.

During his years at Cooper Cargill Chant, Charles was recognized by numerous organizations for his commitment to the local community and the legal community.  Among other accolades, Charles received the 2014 L. Jonathan Ross Award for Outstanding Commitment to Legal Services for the Poor, the 2011 NH Bar Association President’s Distinguished Public Service Award, the 2010 Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award for Rural Justice, and the 2009 Lynda A. Ruel Award for Representation of Victims of Domestic Violence.  He has served for many years as a Director of the NH Pro Bono Program, as a Director of the New Hampshire Bar Association, as President-Elect of the North Conway Rotary Club, and a Director of the White Mountain Waldorf School.

Cooper Cargill Chant will continue the firm’s practice in all areas in which we presently service clients.  The Litigation Department, including Partners Paul Chant, Christopher Meier, and Dennis Morgan, Senior Associate Leslie Leonard, and our paralegals and support staff, will continue the Firm’s litigation practice in all areas, including the family law, employment law, and landlord tenant practice areas which Charles helped grow during his tenure.  Cooper Cargill Chant is a full service law firm that practices in Carroll County, Coos County, and Western Maine.

For more information, contact:
Christopher T. Meier
COOPER CARGILL CHANT, P.A.
Attorneys at Law
2935 White Mountain Highway
North Conway, NH 03860
Voice:   (603) 356-5439
Fax:      (603) 356-7975
Web:     www.coopercargillchant.com

The Second Time Around — The opioid epidemic is making grandparents parents again

March 17, 2016

NORTH CONWAY — If you’ve been reading the news, you’ve no doubt heard of the devastating effects that the opioid or heroin epidemic has had on New Hampshire. Unfortunately, New Hampshire is the state with the highest teen substance abuse per capita, and deaths from opioids jumped 76 percent in 2014. The effect of this epidemic is not confined only to the drug users, but also has a profound effect on the families of the users, often long before an overdose or legal involvement.

Recently Cooper Cargill Chant’s family law practice has seen a steep increase in grandparents seeking advice on caring for their grandchildren after their adult child has died or become incapacitated by addiction. While the state has directed substantial resources into treatment and law enforcement, it has done little to assist families of the addicts. Grandparents, who may have already retired, are finding they are the only ones who can now raise their young grandchildren. Many of these children who have lived through their parent’s addictions, may come with medical and behavioral challenges of their own.

In New Hampshire, parents have sole authority over their children and can exclude even grandparents from contact. Without court intervention, grandparents may not be able to help neglected grandchildren. In other instances, parents may live with or rely on grandparents to care for their children, knowing they, themselves, are unable to do so.

Even when parents are cooperative, grandparents will still face legal challenges. Without court orders, grandparents have no legal right to make parenting decisions such as schooling or medical treatment. Even a routine trip to the dentist can be challenging, as grandparents have no legal ability to authorize treatment.

The most common legal option for grandparents is guardianship. As a guardian, the grandparent is given the legal authority to act as a parent for their grandchild (also known as the ward). If the parent is cooperative, then obtaining a guardianship can be relatively routine; however, if not, it can involve a complicated and expensive legal proceeding. Of course once appointed as guardian, the grandparent becomes legally obligated to provide for the welfare of the child, and will be required to make periodic reports to the court regarding the child’s welfare and assets if any. The guardian will be expected to insure the child is cared for, receives medical treatment and schooling.

In more extreme cases, the grandparent may seek a termination of parental rights and/or adoption. These proceedings are significantly more complicated than a guardianship.

If you’re a grandparent, you were a parent and you know that raising children is a young person’s game. Add this to having to deal with the impact of having an adult child with a serious addiction as well as a grandchild who has lost their parent to addiction, either physically or emotionally. Finally, becoming a guardian while living on a fixed income can add financial difficulties.

Any person who is or may be in this situation will have to rely on a network of medical and legal professionals to navigate this challenge. Cooper Cargill Chant’s Charles L. Greenhalgh and Leslie M. Leonard are attorneys who have been successful in assisting families through guardianship proceedings. They have successfully dealt with the various state agencies involved, and can help families facing this challenge.

Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have over 150 years of experience. Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys are recognized leaders of the N.H. Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the N.H. Bar Association, the N.H. Association for Justice, and the N.H. Bar Foundation. Their lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work. With offices located in North Conway and Berlin, Cooper Cargill Chant is counsel to hundreds of small businesses and associations, and thousands of individual clients throughout northern New Hampshire and western Maine.

For more information, call (603) 356-5439

Gray Divorce: How People Over 50 are Changing the Face of Divorce

February 26, 2016

By Attorney Charles Greenhalgh, Partner, Cooper Cargill Chant

NORTH CONWAY, NH — If you are over 50 and getting divorced, you’re not alone. A recent study from Bowling Green State University called  ” The Gray Divorce Revolution”, reports that in the past two decades, the divorce rate has doubled for people over 50, while declining for younger couples.

In 2009, 25% of divorces included a spouse over 50. Researchers point to several factors including: older people are more likely to be in second marriages, which have a higher rate of divorce, decline in the stigma surrounding divorce and, increasing lifespans have changed the view of marriage as a lifetime commitment. As a divorce attorney, my experience has been that middle aged clients see this phase of their life as an opportunity to make changes which would have been more difficult when they were raising children and building careers.

Divorce brings the realization that a middle aged couple will have to divide their carefully nurtured nest egg between them. This can be difficult, since most people over 50 have their assets contained in real estate and restricted retirement plans or pensions. Expenses will increase, when, for example each has to pay for their own health insurance and housing. Even common expenses like utilities, auto insurance or a vacation, become more daunting.

At middle age, most people have reached their highest earning capacity and are looking towards retirement, when their incomes will decrease and become fixed.  Divorce may lead to a change of retirement plans, or reentering the workforce.  The impact can be substantially harder on women of this generation, who have generally earned less than their husbands. Even more so for women who have been homemakers and don’t have a history of work outside the home.  A woman’s  lower lifetime earnings will result in lower Social Security benefits and less put away in retirement plans.  Add to all of this such costs as legal fees, even the negative impacts on mental and physical health can deplete limited financial resources.

All this is happening while the primary relationship of each spouse’s life is dissolving and they have to face an uncertain future. I’ve found that many over 50 are worried about the impact of divorce on their spouse and their families. Many  want to be fair and insure each will leave the marriage in as good a shape as possible. In most cases, each spouse wants to avoid an expensive and lengthy court battle.

Given these challenges, those over 50 should seriously consider the most flexible and creative solutions to divorce. Using mediation or collaborative law promotes a problem solving approach to divorce.  Avoiding court battles will significantly reduce the cost and length of a divorce. In some cases, it may not make sense to get divorced at all. New Hampshire now allows married couples to create “post-nuptial” agreements. Using a “post-nup” can allow parties to separate assets and create support obligations, while still taking advantage of the benefits of remaining married, such as favored tax status, the right to inherit and continued health coverage on family plans.

For more information about family law matters, including “gray divorce,” contact Attorney Charles Greenhalgh or Attorney Leslie Leonard at 603-356-5439.

About Attorney Charles Greenhalgh:

Charles L. Greenhalgh, Partner, joined Cooper Cargill Chant in 2000 after building a very successful practice in a prominent Southern New Hampshire law firm. Bringing a calm yet unrelenting voice to his practice areas of domestic relations law, landlord tenant and employment law, Charles is equally tenacious settling disputes and litigating when warranted.

Charles focuses his Domestic Relations practice on advising families and individuals in transition, including divorce, custody, child support, guardianship and adoption matters.

Charles regularly represents client in complex divorce matters which require comprehensive knowledge of division of closely held businesses, financing property division and valuation of large assets such as businesses and extensive real estate holdings. Charles has assisted clients in hidden or misrepresented assets and income and evaluating various options for child support and alimony in high asset cases.

Attorney Dennis Morgan Named President of the Pequawket Foundation

February 18, 2016

NORTH CONWAY, NH – Dennis L. Morgan, director at the law firm of Cooper Cargill Chant, was named President of the Pequawket Foundation at their annual meeting on February 11, 2016. Morgan became a member of the organization in 2010 and nominated as trustee in February 2013. Morgan succeeds outgoing President Jody Skelton.

“I’m honored to be appointed President of the Foundation,” stated Morgan. “I look forward to continuing the legacy of our original supporter, Helen Gibson, who along with her husband Harvey Dow Gibson, gave so much to our community.”

Morgan shared that leading an organization that solely supports local organizations and individuals attracted him to the role. The scholarship program it supports is particularly of interest to him – the Bill and Esther Levy Scholarship Fund. Since it was established in 2004, it has awarded over $850,000 in scholarships to Kennett High School graduates heading to college.

Among his professional accomplishments and affiliations, Dennis was named as in 2014 as a Top 10 Attorney by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys; and is a member of the Carroll County Bar Association; New Hampshire Bar Association, Board of Governors; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys; and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association.

Morgan is an active member of the community. In addition to his role as President for Pequawket Foundation, he also is Past President for the Eastern Slope Ski Foundation, Director for the Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring Foundation, and Vice President/Director for the Mount Washington Valley Lacrosse Club.

The Pequawket Foundation was founded on December 31, 1958, by a group of Valley business leaders, initially for the purpose of preserving rail service to the region. Later, the Foundation was funded by the proceeds of the sale of the Gibson Block on Main Street in North Conway. This was a gift of Mrs. Helen Gibson, a generous community leader whose mark, along with that of her husband, Harvey Dow Gibson, can be found on myriad community resources around the valley. The Pequawket Foundation assets total over $475,000, and grants made to community organizations have exceeded $440,000 since 1992.

Morgan joined Cooper Cargill Chant in 2001. Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work.

For more information on the Pequawket Foundation, go to www.pequawket.org.

Attorney Paul Chant Named New President of MWV Economic Council

November 20, 2015

Much has changed in the Valley, during the past 25  years.  Our support for the MWV Economic Council and its mission has remained steady.  Thank you to Scott McKinnon for his service as President over the past year and wishing great success to Attorney Paul Chant as incoming President 2015-2016.