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Mediation Blog

July 19, 2017 - {3:54 minutes to read} I just returned from the annual gathering of the NYS Conference on Divorce Mediation. This is my 12th conference, and I was as excited to go to this one as I was to my first. While the focus is on education with plenaries and workshops on various aspects of family law and mediation theory, there is undeniably another element that plays a very big part. Whether we do it full time or not, are experienced mediators or just starting out, we all feel t [...]

July 6, 2017 - {3:06 minutes to read} In the previous part of this series, we looked at parental considerations in relation to a child’s college education. In this final post, we will discuss the child’s role with regard to their college education and any credits against child support. Should there be a contribution from the child? Do you believe that the child should be responsible to pay for part of college, through loans or otherwise? This has both philosophical (shou [...]

June 21, 2017 - {3:18 minutes to read} In Part 1 of this series, we looked at parental considerations in relation to a child’s college education. In Part 2, we will define typical college expenses and look at limits on what a parent will contribute. How do you define “college expenses? Is it just tuition, room and board, or do you want to consider other typical expenses that will be due? In addition to tuition and room and board, most parents include a provision to share: [...]

June 5, 2017 - {4:00 minutes to read} Certain children’s expenses must be paid in addition to child support, according to the child support statute: medical insurance premiums, unreimbursed medical expenses and child care expenses. These are mandatory add-ons. Then, there are expenses that may be ordered at or in the Court’s discretion, including post-secondary educational expenses. The Court will consider the parties’ circumstances and what is in the best interest o [...]

May 19, 2017 - {4:00 minutes to read} I often caution clients against including language in their agreement which is basically just an agreement to agree: anything that begins with “The parties will agree upon...” or “The parties agree to review...” But it depends on the issue and on the couple. Sometimes it makes sense not to spend an enormous amount of time either on something that is not all that contentious or something not likely to happen. Other times, th [...]

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 [...]

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