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Mediation Blog

September 1, 2015 - {3:30 minutes to read} I always stress the importance of the client's right of control in a mediated matter versus the loss of control clients experience in a litigation or in an attorney negotiated matter. My recent, 2nd personal brush with the legal system reminded me of the 1st, and brought the concept of client control in mediation to an ever greater importance for me. A few years before I became a mediator, and still litigated matters, I retained an attorney [...]

August 20, 2015 - {3 minutes to read}  It’s rare that I don’t have a mediation in which at least one of the participants will say “I just want to do what’s fair.” I think that’s a reasonable statement and that they wholeheartedly mean it when they say it. But what does that really mean? Is It Fair Under the Law? Sometimes clients want to know if it is fair under the law. This assumes that the application of the law is inherently fair, which I don [...]

August 4, 2015 - {3:48 minutes to read} This question is the subject of many a treatise, panel discussion, informal debate among mediators, and heartfelt soul-searching for an individual mediator confronted with the situation. If you’ve been mediating a while, undoubtedly this has come up for you. Or if you’re a client in a mediation, you may wonder just how strong is your right to determine the outcome. The scenario: A client knows the substantive law on the issue, underst [...]

July 21, 2015 - {3:36 minutes to read}   When I practiced family law in an adversarial setting, I always felt a little guilty when I said that I enjoyed it, given that I was working with people who were going through one of the worst times of their lives. But in contrast to the other parts of my practice (real estate and estate matters), family law was interesting, dynamic, and challenging. Presenting and opposing arguments was intellectually stimulating based upon the substantial [...]

July 8, 2015 - {3:24 minutes to read} Depending on your situation, resolving your parenting plan can be the simplest or most difficult part of your mediation. I have had clients who spoke about it in advance of the meeting, and but for a few minor points, had it all resolved. I’ve also had clients who spent several meetings to achieve a plan that they both could agree was the best for their family. Most of my clients, however, will spend one entire meeting on resol [...]

June 23, 2015 - {3:36 minutes to read} I have to say that some variation on that question is often asked of me by my mediation clients. Almost uniformly, the clients who ask that question are never my most difficult. I suspect they may feel they are being difficult because they may have: Had a protracted disagreement over an issue that didn’t get resolved by the end of the meeting; Voiced resentment or frustration with their spouse; or Raised their voices as part o [...]

June 9, 2015 - {3:36 minutes to read}  New York enacted a statute several years ago to put some clarity into the process of modifying child support. The statute provides that there are three bases for a party to ask a Court to modify support: (1) a substantial change in circumstances; (2) the passage of three years since the last order or modification; or (3) that a party’s income has changed by 15% or more since the last order or modification. In a separation agreement, [...]

May 26, 2015 - {3:42 minutes to read} Imagine that you’ve been living separately under your agreement for a few years and are co-parenting with your former spouse. Things are going better than you ever imagined, your children are happy, and then your former spouse informs you that she will be losing her job unless she accepts a transfer to Florida. Because that job results in a significant increase in salary, and because she then will be able to be close to where her parents and [...]

May 12, 2015 - {3:48 minutes to read}   We often use and hear the term “best interests of the children.” You would imagine that if applied consistently, the results would also be consistent, but that is not necessarily true. It all depends on the process used and who is making that determination. Litigation If you are in litigation, you might think it is the judge who makes the determination, presumably based upon applying case law to the facts before him or her. Ho [...]

April 28, 2015 - {3:30 minutes to read} To some, including me, the equity in a house is just like any other asset. I have never been attached to a home in the sense that I felt sad when it was sold. I recognize, though, that it was always my choice to move on. I’m not sure how I would feel if the choice wasn’t mine to make, or if it came at the same time as getting a divorce. It is that sense of continuity and wanting something that is familiar to remain the same after the d [...]

April 14, 2015 - “I don't care; I just want to get this over with.” {3:45 minutes to read} When those words are spoken by a client in mediation, I always get a little twinge of dread. To the client, this makes perfect sense. Clients choose mediation to reduce cost, reduce turmoil and proceed as quickly as possible to a separation agreement. So, why not just give in so your matter can be resolved? If it’s a relatively minor point that is in contention, then, sure, giv [...]

March 31, 2015 - {2:50 minutes to read} I am fortunate enough to say that I am not a child of divorce. Since I don’t have that first-hand experience, I have strived, as most mediators do, to learn about the impact of divorce on children and how that can be ameliorated. In mediation, the best interest of the children is paramount. The Children Even when the parents are well intentioned and have the admittedly oxymoronic “good divorce,” there is still a devastating affe [...]

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