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Mediation Blog

August 16, 2016 - {3:30 minutes to read} When I began practicing family law, one of the first lessons I learned was that clients do not consider all assets the same. The one asset that consistently holds a very special place in the heart of a client is a pension. Clients express feeling a different sense of entitlement to their pension because: They performed at a job where their lives, health and safety were placed in jeopardy; They may have taken less in salary for the assurance of [...]

August 2, 2016 - {3:48 minutes to read} Even before the enactment of New York’s post-divorce maintenance statute, most mediators and attorneys worked with an informal but commonly accepted formula for determining the duration of maintenance based upon the length of the marriage. The longer the marriage, the longer the term of maintenance. The new statute now provides an advisory schedule, also based on the length of the marriage, for the court to consider in determining the term o [...]

July 19, 2016 - {3:24 minutes to read} As with most people, there are some challenges that I welcome, and some that I dread. This goes for mediation as well. A challenging mediation isn’t necessarily challenging because one or both clients are difficult; for me, it’s often because the clients are so diametrically opposed that, no matter how many techniques and skills I use to help them resolve difficult situations, nothing seems to help. I’m talking about extreme situ [...]

July 5, 2016 - {3:36 minutes to read} I would have answered this question as “abundance,” which I suspect might be a common response. Not according to Brené Brown, however, in her book Daring Greatly. This amazing book is about allowing yourself to be vulnerable so you can achieve great things. Brené Brown believes that the opposite of scarcity is “enough.” In other words, you are: Good enough; Smart enough; Attractive enough; Perfect enough [...]

June 21, 2016 - {3:12 minutes to read} Having been raised by a mother who once heard an ambulance and acted upon the belief that it carried my aunt, who, being 15 minutes late in picking her up, had, of course, been in a car accident, I’m a worrier. If I allow myself to go there, I can easily obsess about a car accident or a plane crash, things that can happen in an instant without warning and could drastically change my life. Then there are the things that are equally devastatin [...]

June 7, 2016 - {4:18 minutes to read} As Lesley Stahl was making the rounds on various talk shows, promoting her new book, Becoming Grandma, the Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting, I learned that the omnipresent Boomer generation has once again made its presence known and adopted its own version of being a grandparent. I was then inspired to do a little research—admittedly over the internet, so I am not attesting to complete accuracy. From my experience, though, what I f [...]

May 24, 2016 - {3:48 minutes to read} Courts are now required to consider the following factor, among many others, in making a maintenance award or determining if the statutory amount was unjust: “. . . the existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household or a pre-divorce separate household.” In English, this means that it is relevant to the Court if a couple lived together before they were married, or if they lived apart for a period of time before starting a divor [...]

May 10, 2016 - {3:24 minutes to read} I attended a mediation workshop that focused on the various ways that a mediator can address an impasse in mediation, and help clients get beyond it. Of the many tools, one that struck me profoundly was asking the clients how they think this would make them look in the eyes of their children. Not necessarily now, but when they are adults and may have a keener awareness of what happened in the aftermath of their parents’ divorce. Manipulativ [...]

May 2, 2016 - {3:48 minutes to read} As someone who is making a sincere effort to be mindful and present, and also as someone to whom these qualities do not come naturally, I understand how difficult it is to be patient. When you are in the midst of a divorce and want it to all be over yesterday, it’s even more of a challenge to let things work out in their own time. If you want to mediate, I urge you to undertake this challenge with as much forbearance as you are able to muste [...]

April 12, 2016 - {3:12 minutes to read} After watching the umpteenth presidential debate, you can imagine why I started to think about civility in personal and professional settings. For most of us, civility in personal situations is automatic. We’re polite to strangers, say good morning, hold open a door and say you’re fine even if you’re not. On the other hand, for those with whom we’re most comfortable, sometimes that automatic default to civility is lost. An [...]

March 29, 2016 - A departure from my other posts, and one that I hope will resonate with you. Most people wanting to adopt a pet will typically look for a puppy or at least one under a year of age. But since we adopted Max, a miniature dachshund who was then between 10 and 12 years old, I consistently try to persuade anyone who is adopting a pet to consider adopting an older, or as they say in the world of pet adoption, a senior pet. Admittedly, I was reluctant to adopt Max. But when w [...]

March 15, 2016 - {3:54 minutes to read} Clients in initial consultations are sometimes hesitant to begin mediation because of: Fear the other will take advantage of them and the process; Friends and family saying they should have a lawyer fight for them; The other person having a greater advantage in bargaining power. In previous posts, I’ve written how those kinds of concerns can be overcome in the process of mediation. You can have the support of legal, financial and ment [...]

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