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Mediation Blog

April 3, 2019 - {3:30 minutes to read} There are two diametrically opposed views as to the value of an attorney versus a mediator. In terms of settling a matrimonial matter, each believes the other is not necessary. “There is no need for a mediator.” Some matrimonial attorneys believe that two attorneys can negotiate for the parties and reach a settlement — why the need for a third party? After all, attorneys have been settling cases forever, and it works.   M [...]

March 20, 2019 - {3:00 minutes to read} I’m writing this after a particularly stressful December. I anticipated that the rush to complete separation agreements by the end of the year would make for an unusual amount of stress. What I didn’t count on was the perfect storm in terms of anxiety when that unusual work stress combined with all that I needed to do in preparation for the holidays. No one, including myself, wanted to be around me for any length of time. Clearly, the [...]

March 12, 2019 - {4:00 minutes to read} In his book Lying, Sam Harris explains how a seminar he took as an undergraduate led him on a path to believe that any lying, even what most may deem “a little white lie,” is harmful. The seminar was called The Ethical Analyst, and it focused on the question “Is it wrong to lie?” In the course, he learned that lies damage personal relationships and violate the public trust, whether they are big or small. The book caused me [...]

February 19, 2019 - {3:00 minutes to read} In many cases, clients decide to separate as a mutual decision and come to mediation without assessing any blame or fault on the other. In many other cases, though, one party feels either that the other party is to blame (i.e., if the other person had an affair) or that the other person is at fault because he or she is the one who wants the divorce against the wish of the other to stay married. In those cases, a pervasive attitude of blame or fault [...]

February 5, 2019 - {3:30 minutes to read} My knowledge of bankruptcy law is based upon what I learned in law school a very long time ago, and several Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars I’ve attended. I know enough to recognize what I don’t know, and when to suggest that clients consult with an experienced professional before we get involved in the mediation.   If they decide to go forward with the bankruptcy first, they will have the benefits of: Less expen [...]

January 23, 2019 - {3:30 minutes to read} It is likely that mediation can result in a negotiated agreement even if you mediate after you have entered litigation or tried negotiating through attorneys. But after having worked with couples who have first engaged in an adversarial process, I encountered distinctive behaviors that arose in the mediation which, while not unsurmountable, needed to be addressed. Of course, I can’t definitively state that it was the initial adversarial proc [...]

December 19, 2018 - {3:30 minutes to read} I had a meeting recently with a couple, and when they left, I felt sure they would not be returning for another meeting. The husband didn’t want to separate, didn’t want to leave their home, and couldn’t imagine not having the children with him at least half of the time. The wife was insistent on separating, be it through mediation or through attorneys, wanted to be the primary custodial parent, and insisted on the sale of the h [...]

November 30, 2018 - {3:00 minutes to read} It’s an admonition that many a Hallmark holiday movie has been based upon  ---    "Be Careful What You Wish For." The usual plot is that someone wakes up in the life she always dreamed about, only to find out that the life she had was so much better. In the end, she gets to go back to that wonderful life she never fully appreciated and everything is grand after all. It would be nice if we got those chances in real life, [...]

November 20, 2018 - {3:00 minutes to read} In the last post, I addressed the designation of beneficiaries of your life insurance in order to ensure the continuation of child or spousal support. While the continuation of support is important, there are some other issues about life insurance coverage that may need to be discussed in mediation. Employer-Provided Life Insurance Individual life insurance policies owned and paid for by the parties provide the most control and flexibility in ter [...]

October 26, 2018 - {4:00 minutes to read} Life insurance is not a topic most people are eager to speak about, let alone if you are separating. But life insurance is a topic you should be prepared to discuss in your mediation. Under New York law, a judge may order a party to obtain and maintain life insurance coverage naming as beneficiaries either the children (for child support) or the spouse (for maintenance) for so long as the party is obligated to pay child support and/or maintenance. [...]

September 28, 2018 - {3:40 minutes to read} There is a mindfulness meditation that I enjoy doing that focuses on the inner critic we all have — that voice in your head that tells you that you messed up, made a fool of yourself or just don’t know what you’re doing. The suggestion is to create a picture in your mind of the critic to aid in recognizing that it is your inner critic speaking so you are not derailed. (My favorite is of a stern judge in dark robes frowning from a [...]

September 20, 2018 - {3:30 minutes to read} I tend not to use the word “settle” with clients in mediation. Although to settle is defined as “to reach agreement or decision...,” I prefer to use the phrase “to agree upon terms.” To me, to agree upon terms in mediation is quite different from settling on terms which have been hashed out by attorneys in an adversarial setting. In an adversarial setting:  Each attorney’s role is to advocate for t [...]

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