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Mediation Blog

October 27, 2015 - {3:55 minutes to read} We all tend to adapt a story in retelling it.  It’s mostly small points, but sometimes people who may have lived through the event with us will notice that some liberties have been taken. It doesn’t mean that the embellishment is done to purposely avoid the truth.  It could be: How we actually recall the event; Our “version” makes an amusing story more amusing; or, It puts us in a more flattering li [...]

October 13, 2015 - {4:00 minutes to read} Recently I received a notice of a Continuing Legal Education course sponsored by a bar association on the topic of child custody. Ever the optimist, I took a look at the description and agenda hoping to find an offering on resolving custody through a non-adversarial approach. However, there was nothing offered regarding mediation or collaborative practice, both of which can be found on the website of the New York State Unified Court Syst [...]

September 29, 2015 - {3:36 minutes to read} In a previous post, I discussed the difficulty faced by a mediator when he or she needs to consider whether or not the client’s right to self-determination should be controlling in the face of an agreement that could be considered unconscionable. In my initial consultation with clients, I try to draw the distinction for them between someone who: Is unable to fully participate in the mediation; Does not have the capacity to mediate [...]

September 15, 2015 - {3:24 minutes to read} When I mentioned to a friend that I loved the balance poses in yoga the best, her reply was that she wasn’t surprised because she thought I was the most balanced person she knows. I laughed at the connection, but then when I thought about it, I do have a very strong sense of balance that plays out in many different ways. I would hate living in a place that was sunny all the time. After a string of sunny days, I long for rain, or at the [...]

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 [...]

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