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Mediation Blog

April 25, 2018 - {4:00 minutes to read} The mutual goal to reduce the financial costs of a separation is a primary motivation for most of my clients, second only to the desire to reach an agreement with as little rancor as possible. Regarding the financial costs, however, there are steps that clients can take to ensure that mediation fees remain reasonable by limiting the number of sessions that are needed. Complete Your Work Between Meetings At the end of my summary of the meeting, I [...]

April 12, 2018 - {4:30 minutes to read} Over the years I’ve been mediating, I’ve been asked by potential clients if the following concerns would mean that they could not mediate their separation. Here are some of their questions and my responses:We disagree on everything.  Disagreement in mediation is to be expected. Since mediation is a process which aims to resolve conflict, a mediator is trained to help the two of you do just that. I am very angry at my spouse.  [...]

March 29, 2018 - {3:42 minutes to read} It’s clear that until an agreement is signed, the tentative agreements you make along the way are not legally enforceable. But, those tentative agreements are vital as you progress from meeting-to-meeting in order to reach an overall settlement. While you are free to change your mind up until the time you sign your name on the agreement, there can be consequences to making changes to something you previously agreed to: Other Terms Can Chang [...]

March 14, 2018 - {3:42 minutes to read} Interim agreements are agreements that determine certain terms before the parties sign a comprehensive separation agreement. Some of the topics that may be covered by these kinds of agreements could be:  How to handle the sale of a house; Support and parenting plans; A provision that marital assets stop accumulating as of a certain date; and Arranging for the disposition or purchase of a particular asset. Typically, in my practice, cl [...]

February 27, 2018 - {3:48 minutes to read} In New York, we refer to “joint legal custody” as joint decision making in which neither parent has a superior right to make decisions for the children. It sounds reasonable, and most parents agree to joint decision making without much thought. But then I ask “What do you think will happen if you can’t agree upon a major decision?” A large percentage of my clients believe that they will not have any substantial confl [...]

February 15, 2018 - {1:00 minute to read} My colleagues, Dr. Jeff Zimmerman and Dr. Lauren Behrman, posted an article on how your children may pick up on the negative communication between you and your spouse/ex-spouse, even if you do not. The article reminds us that all communication in front of children, both verbal and nonverbal, has an impact on them. I’m also heartened that Jeff and Lauren propose practicing mindfulness to help parents transform unhealthy practices into healthy [...]

January 31, 2018 - {3:48 minutes to read} While the New York Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) is not perfect, it does provide a sensible framework for addressing the indirect expenses that a parent experiences. These indirect expenses are the most difficult to calculate and the most difficult for the child support payor to understand. “I’m willing to pay 100% of my children's expenses for clothing, activities, medical insurance and expenses –why should I have to pay ch [...]

January 16, 2018 - {3:06 minutes to read} The concept of hope has been on my mind since a good friend recently told me that she will be awarded the Spirit of Hope award from her cancer support group. Throughout the many fears, disappointment, and pain that living with cancer inflicts, she has remained remarkably hopeful these past several years. She is the embodiment of hope to me, and she is truly deserving of this honor. It’s human to feel fear when confronted with the risks and c [...]

January 3, 2018 - {4:06 minutes to read} “We don’t need to mediate–we agreed to everything already and just want you to write it up.” “We don’t have any assets, so we don’t have anything to talk about.” “We don’t need a separation agreement, we just want to get divorced.” Undoubtedly, as all mediators do, I’ve heard these statements, or variations on them, more often than I can count. It’s understandable, bu [...]

December 5, 2017 - {3:42 minutes to read} I was talking to a colleague recently about a mediation. She was surprised that it took as many meetings as it did to reach a resolution and that the couple almost terminated the process. It was a relatively short-term marriage of a few years, and they had no children, so she had not expected that it would be difficult. I agree that expectations of difficulty are often misleading. At an initial consultation, I can only judge a mediation’s di [...]

November 15, 2017 - {3:42 minutes to read} It’s perfectly normal for most married couples to live their lives without knowledge of the intricacies of separate and marital property in New York matrimonial law. Unfortunately, though, that lack of knowledge can lead to common and innocent “mistakes” and have unintended consequences under the law.Our Typical CouplesA couple maintains only joint accounts and holds all property with the other named on all assets. This has been w [...]

November 1, 2017 - {4:12 minutes to read} As I described in Part I of this post, it’s not unusual to feel completely overwhelmed upon hearing that your spouse wants a divorce. You think the last thing you are capable of doing is making good decisions about your children and your finances. But then you keep getting pushed by your spouse to start the divorce ASAP. You can tell your spouse that you need some time to process everything and get the support that you may need to move forwa [...]

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