Who’s your mama? Seem like a stupid question, doesn’t it? Well, wait til you take family law with me! I’ll have your head spinning. Here’s the synopsis of a case we read this week. (True story!) Dawn and Michael were married and lived out in Long Island. They tried to have kids, but had difficulty conceiving. A few years later, they became a throuple with Audria, who moved in with them. The 3 of them planned and to have and … read more »
Divorce Made Simple
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 »
New York’s Definition of Family Has Grown, Once Again
Some 18 months ago, I wrote about an important decision, Brooke S.B.1, by the New York Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in New York. (You can see that blog post here.) In Brooke, the Court determined that the non-biological mother in a same sex couple had standing to request custody or visitation of the child she helped to raise. The Brooke court found that it was in the child’s best interest to continue that relationship, and found … read more »
Are You My Mother?
I have always been fascinated by families. They drive us crazy and they keep us sane. They are the rock upon which we stand, and can be the bane of our existence. We all know what it is like to be somebody’s child, and many of us know what it is like to be somebody’s parent or somebody’s sibling. But each of our experiences is so particular. So different. This article takes a closer look at 2 very basic questions … read more »
Collaborative Law: A Different Way to Divorce
The media often portray divorce with ex-spouses lawyered up as courtroom adversaries — the same folks who once pledged to hold each other through better or worse now as mortal enemies fighting over the turf of their children’s hearts and minds. Going through a divorce can be a challenging, trying process. The reality is that divorce is usually much more complicated and nuanced. Most clients I see are sad and confused and grieving and tender and thoughtful and hurt … read more »
Finally, A Better Definition of Family
New York’s highest court, the New York State Court of Appeals, made a long overdue and unquestionably important decision last month—that a de facto parent who is not a biological or adoptive parent has standing to petition for custody and visitation. This comes up in the context of same-sex relationships where one parent is related to the child biologically, where the parents have raised the children together but are not married. The issue is whether, if they break up, the … read more »
Divorce Envy ~ Who knew?
I’m honored and excited that I was quoted in Amy Sohn’s Harper’s Bazaar’s article about Divorce Envy. It really is an honor. And an interesting topic. We feel the need to keep up with the Joneses to get the latest handbag, to do hot yoga and eat kale, why not to get divorced in the most healing way possible? As I said, if it leads to a trend of collaborative process and divorce mediation, maybe peer pressure is a very … read more »
Can a child have 3 parents?
We all know that a child can only have 2 biological parents – a man and a woman. But we also know that biology is only a small part of the story. Every child is connected to more adults – as they say, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Many children are actually being raised by more than 2 parents — step parents, grandparents, friends and partners can play an important role in the financial and emotional … read more »
Parenting Schedules – Equal Time with Each Parent
While parents may agree to share parenting time 50/50, there are a myriad ways to structure the schedule to meet your and your children’s needs. Younger children need shorter but more frequent time with each parent (switching, for instance, every 2-3 days), while it may be easier for older children to change less often, perhaps spending a week with each parent. Having a predictable and structured schedule helps everyone manage their expectations, but it is also a good idea to … read more »
Will the law catch up?
The papers have been rife with stories this week about New York’s new law allowing same-sex marriage. It couldn’t have come at a more poignant time – 2 days before Gay Pride day. People have described the mood there as unadulterated joy – one friend even told me, “I haven’t experienced anything like that since the March on Washington” — meaning the 1963 march in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. It is … read more »