By Janet Stoica
Oxford/Worcester –On the way to Worcester via Oxford Route 12 you see an approachable blue building past Happy Garden and next to the American Legion Post. Inside is a team of diligent practitioners of family law to call for events we have happily foreseen—or for those we did not anticipate. Matthew Blouin, Esquire, a graduate of Dudley Shepherd Hill High School, is the young associate there of Mark Lee, Counselor at Law, P.C
Attorney Blouin has been practicing family law for three years since passing the Massachusetts Bar Exam. Upon graduation from Shepherd Hill, he took an accelerated three-year undergraduate program where his grades allowed him to skip the usual fourth year and then go straight to law school at Western New England School of Law.
During his law school years, Matt interned for Attorney Mark Lee, learning the finer points of the legal profession. Attorney Blouin is polite, well-spoken, and on-point when responding to questions. “Family law has to do with custody cases, divorces, child-support issues, and estates,” he said. “We can also handle the civil realm like housing and real estate. The majority of our work is in the family law area.”
Matt also enjoys case law, especially child protection. “Children deserve the best,” says Matt. “I will try to do all I can to keep them safe. I don’t take any pleasure in tearing families apart, I’d rather keep families together. Keeping families together is for the benefit of the children. This is paramount to my practice in this area.
”The Department of Children and Families is overstressed and the caseloads are overwhelming for their workers. If families can be civil to one another, it’s better not to be involved with bureaucracy. Neighbors should be watching out for each other’s families and looking out for each other so court will not be the end result for them. I feel I’m a good mediator in getting the parties together for the good of their family.”
As I am a fan of John Grisham’s legal-profession novels, I could not help but to see a parallel of good and righteousness in Attorney Matt Blouin’s demeanor to those young and fervent heroes of John Grisham’s stories. Matt is tall, handsome, and self-confident. He is poised in his mannerisms and selects his words carefully and confidently. He is who you would want to represent you in a courtroom or in a mediation session. While a high school sophomore, Matt decided that the legal profession was his calling and that the critical thought aspects were his strengths. His instincts appear correct. He is the first attorney in his family and he hails from Charlton.
One of Attorney Blouin’s most challenging cases involved a grandmother keeping custody of her grandchild. The child’s mother had passed away and the child was doing very well under the grandmother’s care. The child’s father wanted custody but for all the wrong reasons. A trial ensued and Attorney Blouin, representing the grandmother, won the case, allowing the grandchild to stay with the grandmother and the youngster is still doing very well.
“Cases of this type are very difficult,” said Attorney Blouin, “the courts prefer that children stay with their parents so to prove a parent unfit is somewhat difficult. In this situation, however, the parent had his own self-interests in mind instead of the child’s.” Matt has worked in tandem with Attorney Lee in divorce trials, taking the second chair position in courtroom proceedings. A second chair attorney is the next in command providing all necessary backup information and materials.
Attorney Blouin can represent clients in any Massachusetts trial court: probate and family; housing; district and superior courts; land courts; and can also file appeals with the Massachusetts appellate court. Additionally, he has recently obtained his real estate broker’s license, which will allow him to act as a broker and attorney in probating estates. “Estate planning is something that everyone with property should address early on instead of waiting until you are ill and must make rushed decisions,” said Matt. “You can establish trusts to protect your assets for your children and grandchildren. There is no substitute for taking care of your estate early and having time on your side. You can establish trusts or property conveyances with life estate even with a mortgage on the property so that there would be no probate process and the property title would be free and clear upon death and death certificate recording.”
The attorneys use VOIP (voice over internet protocol), allowing them to work from just about anywhere there is a Wi-Fi connection. “Our focus is on working from anywhere,” says Matt. “We don’t necessarily need a physical office.” Their practice spans the entire Commonwealth.
Attorney Blouin is well-versed in recent probate law changes as well. “Procedures for filing and probating of estates have been adopted through the Uniform Probate Code. Shortened filing periods have been enacted. Alimony reform has changed too. The biggest change here is that retirement age has been defined as 67.5 years and, therefore, time limits for the number of years alimony can be paid is now based on a 20-year marriage term,” he said.
Matt also serves as a “lawyer for the day” at the Worcester Probate and Family Court, where he dispenses no-fee advice to the lower-income members of our society, assisting with legal form recommendations, and offering counsel on case approaches.
“I enjoy what I do and look forward to getting into work each day,” says Matt. “I find it gratifying to sort out situations and to solve problems. There will always be a demand for people in my profession to solve problems like these. Even with internet sources, you still need an advocate.” Attorney Matthew P. Blouin is at 221 Main Street, Oxford, and also at 35 Harvard Street, Worcester. Phone 508-987-3939, ext. 3; email [email protected]
Janet Stoica can be contacted at [email protected]ss.com.