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Mediation Blog

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 [...]

October 11, 2016 - {3:12 minutes to read} My first ritual of the fall entails my husband and I getting a flu shot, going out for brunch, and then going shopping for Halloween. Just in case there is an area of the yard or a surface in the house that is not already adorned with Halloween decor, we are always on the lookout for interesting pieces. At this point we seek out things that are unique, clever, or attractive, like some vintage pieces or Day of the Dead figurines. While we both rul [...]

September 27, 2016 - {3:42 minutes to read} Dog training was never a strong suit for my husband or me, but our new dog, Toby, proved to be in desperate need of some consistent direction and attention. We hired a trainer to come to the house. I also dug out all of our training books and searched online for new techniques when some of the things we were doing didn’t seem to suit Toby or me. One of the biggest challenges was walking him. We live in a pretty quiet neighborhood, but any so [...]

September 13, 2016 - {3:54 minutes to read} When I litigated, there were two times of year when I would receive quite a few calls from parents questioning a current or proposed parenting plan. The first was in December and centered around sharing the children during the holidays. The other, as the topic of this post indicates, was in September and centered around issues raised by the return to school. Just like those unhappy children who have to leave the freedom of summer for the restricti [...]

August 30, 2016 - {2:36 minutes to read} I am one of those people who enjoys the changing of the seasons, even when it means that summer is over. However, I’m not one of those people who feel that summer is over on the 5th of July. Even if we measure summer as Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are still two full months of summer to enjoy after the 4th of July. Why not savor these two months when it’s still 90 degrees in the shade instead of focusing on winter coming? Converse [...]

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 [...]

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