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Mediation Blog

Topic: Parenting | 27 post(s).

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 [...]

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 [...]

August 17, 2018 - {3:42 minutes to read}  One of the major benefits of mediation is that parties make the decisions about their lives and the lives of their children. Self-determination is an awesome responsibility in that regard, and couples should be prepared to accept that responsibility when choosing to mediate. To me, this would mean that parties should make sure that they have all of the resources they may need in order to make the best decisions they can. Choosing the Mediat [...]

April 25, 2018 - {4:00 minutes to read} The mutual goal to reduce the financial costs of a separation is a primary motivation for most of my clients, second only to the desire to reach an agreement with as little rancor as possible. Regarding the financial costs, however, there are steps that clients can take to ensure that mediation fees remain reasonable by limiting the number of sessions that are needed. Complete Your Work Between Meetings At the end of my summary of the meeting, I [...]

March 14, 2018 - {3:42 minutes to read} Interim agreements are agreements that determine certain terms before the parties sign a comprehensive separation agreement. Some of the topics that may be covered by these kinds of agreements could be:  How to handle the sale of a house; Support and parenting plans; A provision that marital assets stop accumulating as of a certain date; and Arranging for the disposition or purchase of a particular asset. Typically, in my practice, cl [...]

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 [...]

February 15, 2018 - {1:00 minute to read} My colleagues, Dr. Jeff Zimmerman and Dr. Lauren Behrman, posted an article on how your children may pick up on the negative communication between you and your spouse/ex-spouse, even if you do not. The article reminds us that all communication in front of children, both verbal and nonverbal, has an impact on them. I’m also heartened that Jeff and Lauren propose practicing mindfulness to help parents transform unhealthy practices into healthy [...]

November 1, 2017 - {4:12 minutes to read} As I described in Part I of this post, it’s not unusual to feel completely overwhelmed upon hearing that your spouse wants a divorce. You think the last thing you are capable of doing is making good decisions about your children and your finances. But then you keep getting pushed by your spouse to start the divorce ASAP. You can tell your spouse that you need some time to process everything and get the support that you may need to move forwa [...]

August 2, 2017 - {4:24 minutes to read} Nesting is a shared parenting concept that allows the children to stay in the marital home while the parents go back and forth. The idea is that the children will be able to remain in one familiar place, have no concerns about where they are on what day or what they need to take with them. Typically, parents who choose this will be sharing time in the home with the children on an equal basis. To see if this might work for you, consider the followi [...]

May 19, 2017 - {4:00 minutes to read} I often caution clients against including language in their agreement which is basically just an agreement to agree: anything that begins with “The parties will agree upon...” or “The parties agree to review...” But it depends on the issue and on the couple. Sometimes it makes sense not to spend an enormous amount of time either on something that is not all that contentious or something not likely to happen. Other times, th [...]

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 [...]

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