The tech scene in the U.S. has been expanding beyond the borders of the West Coast for several years. In fact, in 2015 Silicon Valley lost more than 7,500 residents, marking the first time in four years that the technology hub has experienced a net loss in population, according to a study by the Silicon Valley Competitiveness and... Continue Reading.
We recently had a question about whether use of our software to minimize some of the friction points in a divorce might not have the unintended consequence of encouraging more divorces. Our response was simple; NO, NO NO!
There is no way that anyone experiencing the normal ups, downs and frustrations of any marriage should ever kid themselves or others that any divorce will be simple, easy, or pain free. It won’t be. Unless you are in a relationship where you are being abused, or where your partner has an unsolvable issue like intractable substance abuse, or a refusal to get necessary mental health treatment, a break up should be the very last option you pursue, not the first, second or even third.
As Justice Horton and I wrote in our book “Do Your Divorce Right; Straight Talk from Family Court Judges” a divorce is not a single event, but a multi-year process. It is never a process without significant costs; financial, emotional, practical and spiritual. It is always emotionally painful for the participants, their family members, and friends. It is usually a financial catastrophe of the first order of magnitude.
Most importantly. If you have children, no matter what the outcome might be, the process itself will be extraordinarily difficult for them, and if your partner wants to be difficult, could well rob your kids of the developmentally appropriate and happy childhood they are entitled to.
So, this is never a decision you should make lightly. We recommend reading Chapters 1 and 2 of Do Your Divorce Right before deciding anything, and also consulting with a trained counselor before coming to a decision. If you are uncertain about what to do, “discernment counseling” with your partner may be a worthwhile option. Similarly, while “trial separations” more often than not turn into permanent ones, sometimes absence does make the heart grow fonder, leading to a good reconciliation.
So, you should never really want to go through a break up of an intimate relationship, it is sometimes necessary, or unavoidable. If so, you want it to be less hurtful, rather than more so. Once again, our book can help you navigate these troubled waters to minimize the pain. “Collaborative Divorce” can also be a useful tool, as can mediation in more traditional court cases.
No one ever wants a heart attack either, but if you have one, then you you do want the best treatment possible. So, we think of ourselves like heart surgeons; we truly hope you don’t need to call on our expertise. However, if you do need it, we want to provide you with the best available tools, designed to achieve a good outcome.
Senior Policy Advisor
"I couldn’t be happier to welcome such a seasoned professional. I am looking forward to watching Brian grow the position from direct sales to national partnership. Brian’s diverse background is critical to the role of Business Development at X2X, from working with attorneys to forming partnerships with major family law universities Brian will be an invaluable asset." said Mark MacMahon, CEO of X2X.
Brian is a 20+ year veteran of the software industry having held business development leadership positions at Ardent, Informix, Revitas, and IBM. Brian worked in IBM’s Mergers and Acquisitions team where he led the successful integration of over 20 software companies. Brian has a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in Math/Computer Science and a master’s degree from Bentley University in Computer Information Systems. Brian also recently received his Project Management Certification from the University of Southern Maine. Brian is active in the Portland technical community and most recently was a startup mentor in the MCED (Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development) Top Gun program. Brian has three children and lives in Scarborough with his wife Jean. When not working they can be found on Pine Point beach with their dog Darla.
“We are really excited to have Mike on board. His first task has been defining the base criteria for our software to function across state lines along with the process to manage those criteria. As he solidifies this process his role will switch to compliance on that functionality and he will start looking at privacy issues as they relate to handling highly sensitive personal data. As a startup we are involving Mike in all aspects of the business, from logistics (desk swapping) to meeting ret. Chief Justice Dan Wathen – who Mike will be interviewing for a future blog post.”
Founder and CEO
Mike, 30, will be entering his final year of law school this fall at the University of Maine School of Law. He is also a 2008 graduate of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he majored in government and minored in finance. Mike began his professional career as a government consultant in Washington, DC before deciding to move home to Maine in 2010 in order to begin a career in the insurance industry. In law school, Mike has focused his studies on information privacy and security law. This past Spring, he externed at the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he was primarily responsible for writing updated textbook material on the EU’s new privacy regime, the GDPR. While at the IAPP, he also became a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP), and is currently studying to become a Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT). Mike’s hobbies include coaching basketball, cooking, singing (he was in an a cappella group in college!), attempting to play the guitar, and enjoying Maine’s local craft beer scene. Mike and his fiancé Emily are both natives of Brunswick, Maine and currently reside in Portland.
This month, Maine Startup Insider wrote a piece about X2X Community. Thanks for the well written article! We’re planning to exceed expectations.
“Each year, there are nearly one million divorces in the United States, which means there are likely two million people who go through the exasperating process of untangling entwined lives and think at least once there ought to be a better way.
Mark MacMahon was one of those people. In 2012, he divorced his wife after 13 years of marriage. It was amicable, but the process was complex, made more so by the presence of four children who they…”
Read the whole article here.
Recently there has been a lot of attention on the Maine startup scene, with national press and some high profile VC visits. But accolades and visits don’t count for much when you are battling to get your business off the ground. There is a large disconnect between what is going on at the highest levels and what is happening in the trenches. How do I know? Because my company is in the trenches and it’s a real battle.
Don’t get me wrong, the right steps are being taken, necessary changes are being made to support a more active and diverse group of startups – all being led by some dynamic and engaging personalities who will succeed. The desire is there, the drive is there, but the national startup/funding infrastructure is just not engaged in Maine and that is the problem.
Maine has done an amazing job in marketing the state as Vacationland. As a consequence, many top level founders have vacation homes here in Maine to live that dream. Unfortunately, those connections remain on vacation and not engaged as opportunities for the Maine fledgling startup community. That vacation engagement is vital to many industries in Maine, but it needs to be expanded to the startup community. We need these business leaders to buy lobster and engage in the local startup economy.
Maine has so much more to offer than just amazing views, delicious food and friendly locals. Maine has a great workforce based on ‘Yankee Ingenuity’, hard work ethic, and on the highly successful, often with many hidden talents. When X2X was looking for a retired family court judge who was also an author, it turns out our own David Kennedy lived less than a mile from my house in North Yarmouth. Delorme Maps – a mile from our office, WEX – 15 miles from our office, Tyler Technologies – a mile from our office, LL Bean – 6 miles from our office. All these companies started and grew in Maine. How did they do it? By engaging nationally and leveraging the hard working ethics of Mainers. Now we need to flip that model and get the national success stories to engage with the Mainers. A simple statement with a complex solution. The same reasons that Maine is attractive as a vacation spot, are close to the same reasons that we decided to keep and grow our business here.
Unfortunately for Maine’s startup scene, several highly successful Maine business leaders have formed a group to promote startups in certain sectors. This sends a disparate message to potential founders from outside those sectors and potentially discourages them from pursuing their dreams. The Maine startup economy is too premature to call a direction on startups and it shouldn’t be up to a select few to govern the industries that Maine promotes. To me this is a big step backwards. We have some great leaders who are in Maine, and want to promote Maine but by announcing a specific direction they cut their support for other industries other opportunities. Theoretically it sounds great moving everyone to the same drum beat; reality is a creative startup base is going to drive the entrepreneurial economy in Maine.
What are the right steps right now? The MCED has started Equity Path based on The Capital Network which I attended last year in Boston. A great program where entrepreneurs can learn about the path to funding or even if funding is right for their business. If you are thinking about starting a business or are in a startup, I strongly suggest you attend these events. This is huge for Maine. It takes the highest levels and moves them to the trenches. The next logical step would be for MCED to reach out to the group of mentors/angels and more that have vacation homes in Maine, and get them to participate in these events. Connecting the startups to potential mentors and more is the next wave on adding to Maine’s vacationland and more solution. That wave has begun. Maine StartUp and Create Week is the start to those connections as is Pubhub; there are many more programs that are working to bring these connections to light.
So as we wind down our epic seed round funding of X2X, I step back and look at how Maine’s startup scene helped me and it comes down to 2 connections. The first connected me with two amazing individuals, one who wanted to come to Maine and the other who called Maine home. These 2 mentors propelled X2X to where we are today and it was their Maine connection that made that happen. The second connection was a fellow startup founder from Portland who I just shared a beer with the other night. He had his feet on the ground and his head below the clouds. He was a sounding board for my realities and his insights clarified my thinking. In my case, the rest of Maine’s startup infrastructure was not ready for what I needed to do. I see that slowly changing now and I hope if you are reading this and you are in Maine you step out and take advantage of all that Maine is starting to offer. If on the other hand you read this while on vacation in Maine and you want to get involved in the Maine startup scene, email me and I will be happy to connect you with the startup leaders in Maine –we want your help.
My name is David Kennedy, and this is my first blog post as the Senior Policy Adviser at X2X community. I want to use this opportunity to introduce myself and explain why I’ve chosen to be involved in developing what I think is an exciting set of tools for our users.
I was privileged to serve as a Family Law Magistrate and District Court Judge with the Family Division of Maine’s District Court for 15 years, until I retired in 2013. After taking a few months off after my retirement to do a long-planned lap around the United States.
I then joined the Maine law firm of Eaton Peabody as Senior Counsel, where my practice is limited to mediation and arbitration. I mediate and arbitrate all kinds of cases, including many family matters. As both a magistrate and judge, and I heard thousands of family law cases and often saw the best people at their worst and the worst people at their best as they tried to present their family cases, with or without lawyers.
After I had been on the bench for a few years, I was talking with my friend and colleague Andrew Horton about the patterns and mistakes we saw over and over. We decided to write a book designed to help people avoid those common mistakes we saw, and to urge them to resolve their cases in a positive and civil manner. That book, Do Your Divorce Right, Straight Talk from Family Court Cases, was published in 2011 (http://www.towerpub.com). Since the publication of our book, Justice Horton and I have appeared on radio and television, and spoken at many public events.
While our book goes into a lot of detail, I have summarized it in three phrases:
Take the High Road
Take the Long View
Earlier this year the founders of X2X approached me and asked if I would consider joining their team. After talking with them about their ideas of using the Internet to educate people about the dangers and opportunities that come with every family law matter, I decided that joining X2X would be another way I could help people avoid unnecessary trauma while in processes of separation and divorce.
I am now working with the X2X team to generate what we think is useful content for our users and we look forward to providing additional useful tools for you and your family. As I worked with this talented team I’ve become more convined that we’ll be helping both parents and children avoid unnecessary fall out from “messy divorces” and “nasty separations”.
We hope you will find our initial e-books helpful, and please stay tuned as we will be rolling out additional information and tools for you to use!
X2X, Inc., Senior Policy Advisor
Welcome to the X2X blog. As CEO, I get to write the inaugural post (below) and set the tone for what we expect will be both interesting and informative. The X2X blog will include elements of education along with case studies and more. Writing on the topic of separation will be challenging. As someone who has gone through it with 4 kids, I know some days are better than others. I hope you will take the time to read our posts, comment, and above all else let us know what you want to hear. Thanks – Mark
I am a divorced father of 4 trying to create something positive out of what was the largest failure of my life. It should be no surprise that separation and divorce are the second and third most stressful events behind the loss of a spouse; a fact not lost on anyone who has experienced a relationship breaking apart. As I navigate the waters post divorce, I learned that if life was hard leading up to separation it got exponentially harder post separation. Time ran away, there was never enough time in the day, moments with the kids got harder and were shared shopping for groceries or while watching a sports game. Scheduling 1 on 1 time, as a father became tied to a calendar. Spontaneous events turned into planned outings with things to accomplish on the way. Somewhere in all that mayhem I needed time for just me. Silence, contemplation and healing – fitting it in was the challenge. In hindsight, I now know that is what I needed but as I exited my relationship I did the exact opposite. I coached youth soccer, managed youth lacrosse and eventually took classes as an Emergency Medical Technician and volunteered with my town’s rescue department. Balancing that with 4 kids, work, and related activities, time was at a premium and I began to sink not swim.
When I speak to friends and colleagues who experienced separation/divorce a common thread emerged: who do I talk to, what can I read, how do you manage post breakup. Books felt false, the Internet lacked credibility, attorneys wanted your money and I did not know where to turn. This blog is my starting point for putting parts of post separation life thoughts in one centralized area.
I am interested in your feedback and would hope you sign up for our blog as we start the process to create a credible blog for those experiencing this stressful and life changing event.