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Mediation Blog

Topic: Separation | 42 post(s).

April 23, 2019 -   In the past, as a lawyer it was very uncommon for me to either attend a mediation with a client or have clients bring their attorneys to a mediation with me. That was something that I always felt was a rarity in family mediation. Since I’ve become a divorce mediator, I’m not sure why, but that dynamic seems to be changing. I’m finding these meetings to be productive, and the attorneys’ presence to be helpful. [...]

March 20, 2019 - {3:00 minutes to read} I’m writing this after a particularly stressful December. I anticipated that the rush to complete separation agreements by the end of the year would make for an unusual amount of stress. What I didn’t count on was the perfect storm in terms of anxiety when that unusual work stress combined with all that I needed to do in preparation for the holidays. No one, including myself, wanted to be around me for any length of time. Clearly, the [...]

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 [...]

November 20, 2018 - {3:00 minutes to read} In the last post, I addressed the designation of beneficiaries of your life insurance in order to ensure the continuation of child or spousal support. While the continuation of support is important, there are some other issues about life insurance coverage that may need to be discussed in mediation. Employer-Provided Life Insurance Individual life insurance policies owned and paid for by the parties provide the most control and flexibility in ter [...]

September 20, 2018 - {3:30 minutes to read} I tend not to use the word “settle” with clients in mediation. Although to settle is defined as “to reach agreement or decision...,” I prefer to use the phrase “to agree upon terms.” To me, to agree upon terms in mediation is quite different from settling on terms which have been hashed out by attorneys in an adversarial setting. In an adversarial setting:  Each attorney’s role is to advocate for t [...]

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 [...]

June 6, 2018 - {3:00 minutes to read}  Why would you want to continue living together with your ex after you sign a separation agreement? Many couples feel that financially, they have no choice but to live together. It could be because they are waiting for the closing on the sale of the home before they can both move out or that they agreed that they could both save money for a period of time if they lived together. Living together for any period of time can lead to unintended si [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

January 3, 2018 - {4:06 minutes to read} “We don’t need to mediate–we agreed to everything already and just want you to write it up.” “We don’t have any assets, so we don’t have anything to talk about.” “We don’t need a separation agreement, we just want to get divorced.” Undoubtedly, as all mediators do, I’ve heard these statements, or variations on them, more often than I can count. It’s understandable, bu [...]

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