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Mediation Blog

May 3, 2017 - {3:36 minutes to read} I recently attended a panel discussion on how to determine income in a matrimonial mediation. The panel consisted of a litigator, a mediator and a financial professional. The idea was to show the different approaches each would take in cases where income was hard to determine, such as self-employed parties, cash income, other complicated financial situations, or when a party just refuses to disclose relevant information. That got me to thinking abo [...]

April 19, 2017 - {3:48 minutes to read} While the history of a client’s relationship is obviously relevant to them, its relevance to the mediation is not necessarily the same. If there is a dispute as to whether or not an event occurred, my role is not to determine the truth. That would be in the realm of litigation. In mediation, its relevance has to do with the effect that those beliefs about past events have on each party’s ability to work with the other in the process an [...]

April 3, 2017 - {3:24 minutes to read} I thought it was interesting that the Personal Health columnist for the New York Times, Dr. Jane Brody, wrote a column entitled “The Right Way to Say I’m Sorry.” She posits that taking responsibility for your actions and offering a true apology to someone you’ve hurt actually is a matter of your own health and well being. Dr. Brody refers to these words from Harriet Lerner’s Why Won’t You Apologize? as to why an [...]

March 20, 2017 - {3:24 minutes to read} One question that I’m asked by clients fairly often is, “Do you think I should accept this?” Or “Is it good for me to do x, y or z?” I understand why a client would ask. But, like the question, “Do you think that this is fair?” it’s not one that a mediator can answer (Fair is in the Eye of the Beholder]. It certainly seems expedient, especially if the couple just wants it all to be over. The mediator [...]

March 1, 2017 - {3:48 minutes to read} Unfortunately, people who are getting divorced are not exempt from downsizing, market fluctuations, facility closings, etc. which can lead to a period of unemployment. How can divorcing couples factor in this development as they work through separating their households and assets? How do they cope with this monumental change in their lives, on top of this monumental change in their lifestyle? If one of you is unemployed, it may not be entirely wit [...]

February 14, 2017 - {3:54 minutes to read} I met recently with a couple (I’ll call them “Mary” and “John”) to review their Separation Agreement. All went well, with a few minor changes agreed upon during our meeting. Then, towards the end of the Agreement, a provision came up for review at which John expressed surprise. Mary and I were perplexed. This had not only been discussed fully at a previous session, but over the course of several months, had appeared i [...]

February 1, 2017 - {3:12 minutes to read} There are so many sources of information available to someone in the process of divorce: Attorney consultation; Financial divorce professional consultation; The internet; Their friend, hairdresser, cousin, sister or co-worker . Some are clearly less reliable than others. In fact, it’s rare for me to see clients who haven’t received some version of what they believe their rights and obligations under the law to be. This informa [...]

January 4, 2017 - {4:00 minutes to read} In New York, case law provides that when parents share equal physical custody of the children, the parent who earns more pays child support to the parent who earns less, based on the Child Support Standards Act.If there is a great disparity between their incomes, that might make sense. But if there is less than a substantial difference and both parents need to maintain a household for the children, applying the statute can put one parent in financi [...]

December 6, 2016 - {3:18 minutes to read} After my initial mediation training, I developed a sense of why I thought clients would choose to mediate their divorce. Since I was so invigorated by the knowledge of this amazing process, I assumed they would choose to mediate because they wanted to engage in a process in which they could learn how to communicate their interests to each other and then brainstorm creative resolutions to meet those interests in a collaborative and non-adversarial s [...]

November 22, 2016 - {3:54 minutes to read} Since I write so often about the benefits of mediation, I think it’s time that I acknowledge something I often share with clients at the initial consultation. After I have explained the basics of mediation, I say that I think mediation can be a hard thing to do and commend them for making that choice. And while I firmly believe that it is the best option to resolve conflict, I’ll admit it’s still not an easy process. What makes [...]

November 9, 2016 - {3.36 minutes to read} I try to avoid jargon when working with clients. When I’m not successful, it’s easy to spot by the looks on clients’ faces when they have no idea what I’m talking about. One of these is the phrase “add-ons to child support,” which I tend to use before offering an explanation. This is a very common phrase to professionals who work with separating parents. For the parents themselves, not so much. The basic child [...]

October 25, 2016 - {3:42 minutes to read} A couple of years ago, I was a member of a panel discussion regarding client intake in mediation and collaborative matters. The audience was primarily attorneys, and I mentioned that I provided an initial consultation at no charge. A matrimonial attorney, who probably had just a few more years experience than I, was incredulous. She said that she hadn’t given a free consultation since she was a “baby attorney.” I guess I should h [...]

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