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Mediation Blog

Topic: Custody | 9 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 [...]

April 21, 2020 - {4 minutes to read} As I’m writing this on March 30, 2020, the Courts in New York State are open only for emergency relief, such as family offenses/orders of protection and child protective matters. Parents who are having non-emergency custody disputes are unable to access courts at this time to resolve their dispute. In an article in the New York Law Journal, Judge Jeffrey Sunshine, the Statewide Coordinating Judge for Matrimonial Cases, was praised on two divers [...]

December 19, 2018 - {3:30 minutes to read} I had a meeting recently with a couple, and when they left, I felt sure they would not be returning for another meeting. The husband didn’t want to separate, didn’t want to leave their home, and couldn’t imagine not having the children with him at least half of the time. The wife was insistent on separating, be it through mediation or through attorneys, wanted to be the primary custodial parent, and insisted on the sale of the h [...]

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 [...]

September 20, 2017 - {4:18 minutes to read} I’ve heard many complaints regarding divorce mediation: “It might be okay for simple matters but not for anything complicated.” “It’s too touchy-feely.” “You give up all of your rights when you mediate.” These types of complaints are easily dismissed as biased and uninformed; however, there are some complaints I’ve heard which I agree should be taken seriously. Mediator Lacking Relevant [...]

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 [...]

March 1, 2016 - {3:48 minutes to read} When comparing mediated and litigated agreements, the first thought that comes to mind is that a mediated agreement would have terms that are balanced, would be more creative and would more accurately reflect exactly what the parties believe is best for their families. The LanguageAnother important difference is in the language itself. Without considering the actual terms, one can see a difference in the terminology used in an agreement drafted af [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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