When I mediate, I am sometimes struck by the fact that our lives can be profoundly affected by the actions of others. It can be frustrating to think about our lives being out of our control. I am happier when I focus on what we can control — particularly our own thoughts, our attitudes, and our actions. Of course, change is difficult, but certainly possible. I have used my thoughts and actions at critical points to change the course … read more »
I want to say a word about neutrality, which is a very important concept in mediation. The role of a mediator is to act as an intermediary between the parties, and to help the parties reconcile conflict. How the mediator does that can vary a lot, depending on the type of conflict the parties have, the style of mediation used, and, of course, the temperament and experience of the mediator. One of the big differences between mediation and arbitration is … read more »
I write this just days after the death of the infamous Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Hers was the voice of a generation — my generation — but she meant so much more. While it is difficult to imagine a world without her, I am grateful for her music, which will live on. From my perspective, Aretha’s most influential song was “Respect,” written by Otis Redding. As Wesley Morris wrote in her obituary, she turned the song — and the … read more »
From a practical standpoint, the actual divorce process is pretty simple. What Topics Need to be Addressed? There are four or five main areas to be decided in a divorce mediation (some of which may not apply to your particular situation): 1. How will you divide up what you own together? The first step here is to identify what is separate property and what is marital. Separate property typically includes property you owned before the marriage and property you inherit. … read more »
“What will you do about your implicit bias?” Jennifer asked me as she sat across the table. She, a woman of color, was in my office with her husband, a white man, for an introductory session to discuss using mediation as a process for their divorce. Hers was a fair question. And it was one I have never been asked before. “Are you familiar with the concept?” she continued, apparently expecting me to say that I wasn’t. “I was a … read more »
“But what am I going to do without my net?” Rob looked bereft. He knew, intellectually, that he wasn’t entitled to his wife’s family’s money. He knew that he and Sheila were getting divorced — after all, they both had moved on and were seeing other people. Rob also knew that he was a grown, healthy man who had been working hard and making a living for many years. He had built his catering business from the ground up. The … read more »
One of the things that needs to be decided in a divorce is how you’re going to divide up what you own together, and one of the biggest assets that couples usually own is their home. There are several choices as to what happens to the house (or condo or co-op): You can sell the house and divide the proceeds. You can continue to own the house together, even if one person stays there. You can buy out your spouse’s … read more »
Just published an article in Family Affaires to help you think about your money during divorce. Money can be a big stressor in a marriage, and is often one of the greatest sources of anxiety during a divorce, whether you are mediating, litigating or doing a collaborative process. These tips can help you get a handle on them so you know what you are working with! Here’s to a productive and fruitful 2016!
Last week, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that will soon overhaul the way spousal support is established for divorcing couples in New York State. The portions of the bill that deal with temporary spousal support will take effect on October 25, 2015, and the rest will take effect on January 23, 2016. This law establishes a standard for how permanent spousal maintenance is determined – before, maintenance was purely up to a judge’s discretion, and awards were inconsistent. A 2010 … read more »
One of the biggest decisions that needs to be made in a divorce is how you will divide up your assets. Here is a link to an article I wrote recently about this topic, entitled “Equitable Distribution 101.” This might be helpful whether you are using mediation, collaborative process, or using traditional lawyers.