Fern is a member of the Firm's Family Law Group. She focuses her practice on complex matrimonial law matters, including divorce, custody, child support, modification, asset division, business valuation and grandparent visitation cases. Fern deals with enforcement and modification of custody and support decrees entered in other states and internationally. In addition, she is an frequently appointed Special Master and an AAML trained Arbitrator and Family Law Mediator, and a court trained Conciliator.
Fern was the only Massachusetts lawyer to serve on both the 2009 Child Support Guidelines Task Force, which drafted the first major revision of Massachusetts' Child Support Guidelines in more than 30 years, and the Massachusetts' legislatures 2012 Alimony Reform Task Force, which wrote the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act. She also served on the Probate and Family Court Model Parenting Plan Committee, which drafted model parenting plans that now appear on the Probate and Family Court website. She was appointed to the Court's Voice of the Child Committee working on standards for representation of children in high conflict custody matters. Most recently, Fern was appointed to serve the Trial Court as a member of the 2020 Child Support Guidelines Quadrennial Review Task Force. This is her third appointment to a Child Support Quadrennial Review Task Force.
Fern has held leadership positions at the Boston Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Mass Council on Family Mediation and the Massachusetts Association of Guardians ad Litem. She is a Louis D. Brandeis Life Fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and now serves on the Massachusetts Bar Association Family Law Section Council, representing the Family Law Section on the MBA Appellate Amicus Committee.
Fern was selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021 in the Field of Family Law. First listed in 2006. She has been named a New England "Super Lawyer" and a Massachusetts "Super Lawyer” by Boston magazine and Law & Politics every year since 2007. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and she is past president and a national governor of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Lawyer Monthly, U.K. named Fern 2017 United States Lawyer of the Year for Child Custody and Child Support matters.
Prior to joining Mirick O'Connell, Fern was a partner at the law firm of Grindle Robinson in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Bar & Court Admissions
- Boston College Law School JD
- Ohio State University BA
Fern has lectured for Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, where she taught masters and PHD candidates the essential intersections of law and social work. She has regularly taught seminars for other lawyers at Suffolk University Law School, Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, MCLE, Inc., and the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation.
- “Don’t Say That! Are Non-Disparagement Orders Lawful?” Boston Business Journal, August 17, 2020
- “The Out-of-Court Divorce Agreement,” On Air with Mirick O’Connell legal podcast, May 22, 2020
- Quoted in “Non-disparagement orders improperly restrained speech,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, May 13, 2020
- “Divorce for Beginners,” On Air with Mirick O’Connell legal podcast, May 11, 2020
- Quoted in “Spouse not entitled to equal share of veterans’ benefit,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, March 2020
- Quoted in “’Divorce Loans’ Can Provide Cash Until the Settlement Comes Through,” Newsday, March 2020
- “Marriage Story – Fact or Fiction,” marriage.com blog, March 18, 2020
- “TCJA Alimony Tax Changes: the Clock is Ticking!,” Divorce Magazine, August 29, 2018 (co-author)
- Quoted in "How to Divorce like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie," CNBC, January 11, 2017
- Quoted in "Ruling Gives Guidance on Alimony Extensions," Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, December 8, 2016
- ROSEN V. ROSEN, MASS. APP. CT. 15 p-848 Equitable Child Support Credit as a Defense to Contempt (author), November 16, 2016
- Quoted in “Child Custody Bill Deserves Consideration,” Newburyport Daily News, March 26, 2015
Professional / Community Affiliations
- Massachusetts Bar Association, Family Law Section Council
- American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Massachusetts Board of Governors, fellow
- International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, fellow