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Mediation Blog

October 1, 2014 - How does the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”) work in mediation? First, you will need to discuss whether or not you are going to apply or opt out of the CSSA. To do that, you need to know what the child support figure would be if the statute were applied. Your mediator can explain the computation based upon the combined income of you and your spouse. What income figure should be used? If one of you is unemployed or underemployed by choice, or the incom [...]

September 16, 2014 - I remember when the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”) was adopted in New York in 1989. It was a radical departure from how child support had been determined in the past, and not all matrimonial attorneys welcomed it with open arms. There were many predictions of disastrous results, but the statute soon came to be accepted. How Does It Work? Combine both parents’ incomes up to the statutory “cap,” which in 2014 is $141,000. Apply the [...]

September 3, 2014 - It’s not unusual for couples to discuss and agree upon an outline for a parenting plan before they begin mediation. When this happens, the mediator’s job is to talk to them about the practical effects of their agreement. Overnights: Both parents may believe that overnights during the week for the non-custodial parent would be good for the children. Reality dictates that you discuss if the children can get to school on time and have all of the things needed f [...]

June 12, 2014 - I remember when the CSSA was adopted in New York in 1989. It was a radical departure from how child support had been determined in the past, and not all matrimonial attorneys welcomed it with open arms. There were many predictions of disastrous results, but the statute soon came to be accepted and for good reason. While it is not perfect, it does provide a starting point and some certainty to support across the state. The statute provides what is considered to be the &l [...]

February 11, 2014 - One of the things that I emphasize with clients is that an important part of the mediation process is to make sure that the agreement is durable, meaning that the agreement will work as well for you in practice as it sounds in theory. Of course, you cannot anticipate each and every possible circumstance that might happen in the future, but we do try to address as many contingencies as possible. I will be addressing future modifications to support payments in another pos [...]

December 17, 2013 - Admittedly, it is uncomfortable to raise the idea of signing a pre-nuptial agreement with the person with whom you have just agreed to spend the rest of your life. And it’s unlikely to get any more comfortable for you when you actually start discussing the terms of the agreement. That said, it is a discussion that I recommend anyone planning a marriage have if one of you has accumulated more assets than the other, expect a major inheritance, have children from a p [...]

October 30, 2013 - Previously, I wrote about how a mediation can begin if one spouse isn’t quite as prepared to divorce as the other party. Now, I would like to address what happens when those feelings do not diminish as the mediation progresses. The practical effect in a mediation when one party is reluctant to divorce can be that the reluctant party expresses blame and fault against the other party continually or says things like “I didn’t want this, so why should I ha [...]

September 5, 2013 - It’s rare in my practice for both parties to be in the same frame of mind about getting a divorce. Most often, one person is more prepared for the process and the separation, and the other party may not even have come to terms with the concept that the marriage will come to an end. What can each of them do? When I used to litigate, you needed grounds for divorce, and if the person who wanted the divorce had no grounds and the other person was hesitant to divorce, [...]

July 24, 2013 - One of the most fascinating aspects of mediation is how the process can transform someone who feels reticent or insecure in decision making. At the initial consultation, clients often say that they are concerned that within the process of mediation they may not “get a good deal” and question if they are able to mediate because they do not have the same financial expertise as the other party, or perhaps the other party is more educated or has more business sa [...]

May 20, 2013 - There are so many issues that a divorcing couple must face–how to tell the children, where will each live, whether or not they can afford to live separately–starting mediation can easily add to the apprehension. I believe, however, that beginning mediation can actually be a positive step toward gaining control of your changing circumstances. The two of you set the timetable, the agenda and, of course, the outcome. There are concrete issues that need to be a [...]

January 4, 2012 - Even though mediation is a process in which the parties themselves make an agreement that works best for them and their family, I have yet to meet clients who are not interested in or choose not to be informed as to what the law provides. As a mediator, I think it is important for clients to know what the law provides and what might happen if a court were to determine the outcome of their divorce because I feel it is impossible for them to waive a right without knowing [...]

July 6, 2011 - As a mediator, I do not insist that my clients use review or consulting attorneys as a matter of course. I feel that the self-determination of the clients in mediation is paramount and that this extends to the decision of whether or not he or she retains an attorney. However, I do recommend that clients seek the advice of an attorney at the very least before signing a Separation Agreement because I think that it is important for clients to get the kind of legal advice th [...]

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