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Mediation Blog

Topic: Conflict | 36 post(s).

October 14, 2020 - {4 minutes to read} When I’m working with parents and we are discussing what each proposes for a parenting plan, I ask them to phrase their proposal in terms of what is in the child’s best interests, and not necessarily what’s best for them. What does “best interests of the child” actually mean though? If we use the standard of what a judge would consider when making a custody determination in an adversarial proceeding, these are some of th [...]

August 12, 2020 - {3 minutes to read} Now that you have decided on the access schedule you will use in your equal parenting plan, there are some other terms that you might want to include in your agreement. Tweaks to the On-Duty Parent Responsibilities Typically, the on-duty parent is responsible for everything having to do with the children during their access time. But, you may want to modify that in some circumstances:  If you have children with different extracurricular acti [...]

July 30, 2020 - {3 minutes to read} Reaching the agreement that you both want to share substantially equal time with your children is clearly a very meaningful decision, but it isn’t the only decision you will need to agree upon in terms of your parenting plan. There are many options in terms of parenting schedules that you will need to consider, and that can be a source of conflict. There is no “right” schedule, as it all depends on your children, their developmental [...]

May 20, 2020 - {3 minutes to read} As a divorce mediator, it’s not surprising that I work with many couples who experience a lack of communication. Since that lack of communication is now being coupled with spending an inordinate amount of time with your spouse during the pandemic, you may consider this an opportunity to improve your communication. In Listening During a Pandemic, Kate Murphy writes that while a pandemic has the likelihood of causing an increase in divorce, it ca [...]

March 13, 2020 - {4 minutes to read} Are all family disputes the same? Of course not. Divorce mediation is different from mediation involving the contest or interpretation of the provisions of a Will or Trust Agreement. But clearly, they have similarities: Ongoing Relationships While some familial relationships may have always been troubled, it’s likely that at some time, the parties probably got along well. And they may need to continue to get along for the sake of attending ext [...]

September 25, 2019 - {4 minutes to read}  At a recent conference for divorce and family mediators that I attended, I heard a panel consisting of judges, hearing officers and law clerks speak to the reality of the court process. Here are some of the negative consequences they raised: Timeframe Although there are rules that say the entire process in New York County would be “trial ready” in less than a year after filing, the reality is that it could be two years or more to g [...]

September 11, 2019 - {3:30 minutes to read} Both the clients and the mediator want to be sure that the first meeting is productive, both because of the cost involved and because everyone wants to feel that something was accomplished and momentum is building. That’s why at the initial consultation I suggest clients to do the following before scheduling the first meeting: Review the checklist I provide. To the extent that it’s productive for them to do so, I suggest that clients [...]

July 27, 2018 - {3:00 minutes to read}  I’ve had clients who completed their mediation and signed an agreement in a few months and others who take years to complete a mediation. While complexity and the amount of conflict surely play a role, there are clearly other factors in play. Not ready for the process yet. It’s unusual for both parties to be in the same place in terms of accepting the end of the relationship. That said, both may agree to move forward with the se [...]

May 9, 2018 - {4:00 minutes to read}  Separating is a painful and emotionally draining process. Needlessly prolonging the process will only add to that, however, it is within your power to insure that time in the meetings is not wasted. Here are some additional steps that you can take to insure that mediation fees remain reasonable by limiting the number of sessions that are needed. Know what mediation is all about and why you’re doing it. When I ask clients why they have [...]

April 12, 2018 - {4:30 minutes to read}  Over the years I’ve been mediating, I’ve been asked by potential clients if the following concerns would mean that they could not mediate their separation. Here are some of their questions and my responses:We disagree on everything.  Disagreement in mediation is to be expected. Since mediation is a process which aims to resolve conflict, a mediator is trained to help the two of you do just that. I am very angry at my spouse [...]

February 27, 2018 - {3:48 minutes to read} In New York, we refer to “joint legal custody” as joint decision making in which neither parent has a superior right to make decisions for the children. It sounds reasonable, and most parents agree to joint decision making without much thought. But then I ask “What do you think will happen if you can’t agree upon a major decision?” A large percentage of my clients believe that they will not have any substantial confl [...]

December 5, 2017 - {3:42 minutes to read} I was talking to a colleague recently about a mediation. She was surprised that it took as many meetings as it did to reach a resolution and that the couple almost terminated the process. It was a relatively short-term marriage of a few years, and they had no children, so she had not expected that it would be difficult. I agree that expectations of difficulty are often misleading. At an initial consultation, I can only judge a mediation’s di [...]

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