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About Don

/About Don

Don Sinkov is a Divorce and Separation Mediator in private practice in Westchester and Putnam Counties. He mediates divorce, post divorce, custody visitation issues and move-out agreements. Don has mediated over 2000 cases and believes his approach to mediation gives clients the best possible service.

As an expert mediator, Don is frequently called in by attorneys to help mediate complex divorce/custody issues, high asset individuals and non-traditional couples. Many attorneys and couples use Don’s services before, after and during litigated cases to help reduce costs.

About Don

As to why Don chose to focus on Divorce Mediation, Don says:

“Back in 2002, most of my friends were getting divorced, and I heard stories about the outrageous costs, the lawyers battling, the years of litigation, and the damage it caused to everyone in the family as they went through their divorces. I thought I could use my skills as a mediator and arbitrator to help couples get separated and/or divorced without the fighting and high costs.”

Don has been working exclusively in Divorce Mediation since that time and has helped over 2000 couples successfully negotiate their Separation Agreements and/or Divorces, on their own terms, via mediation.

Sinkov Dog

Don started playing drums when he was 8 years old. Using those skills, he became a full time rock and roll musician in his teens. Even then Don was preparing for his future by negotiating contracts for the bands with whom he played. In his free time, he bought, renovated and sold residential real estate in the 1980s before the word “flip” became a watch word.

While a musician, Don trained with Computer Sciences Corporation and learned how to repair computers. After working for CSC for a year, he joined the electricians union and ran for the position of shop steward.

As shop steward he wrote grievances to take to arbitration and quickly realized that he didn’t know enough about labor law. Don enrolled at New York State of Industrial Labor Relations at Cornell University. He spent three years studying labor law where he earned a BA Degree in Labor Studies.

Studying labor law increased his effectiveness as a shop steward and later Don was elected Division Chairman. He further honed his skills serving as Arbitrator Chairperson for the securities industry, chairing and arbitrating cases for NASD, the Futures Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange that included firms such as Bear Stearns, Alliance Capital, Sanford Bernstein, Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs.

In addition to the securities industry, Don served as the Lemon Law arbitrator for the State of New York mediating disputes between car dealers and customers. He also volunteered for community mediation for a Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC) arbitrating hundreds of cases of landlord tenant disputes, neighbor to neighbor disputes, etc.

Don continued to study in different venues of arbitration and mediation and eventually chose to specialize in divorce mediation.

As a Divorce mediator Don’s passion is helping people get through the process the fastest and most cost efficient way.

“It’s not about anyone winning like litigation; It’s about the couple walking away with a good agreement they’ve constructed for themselves in light of the information I’ve given them. Their decisions should be rooted in sound law and not based on emotions. My hope is that they will look at this agreement five years from now when they are no longer emotionally involved in it and appreciate the fact that we didn’t allow the agreement to be based on the emotions of the moment.”

Don looks at things analytically like an attorney rather than a therapist. He believes couples who come to him just want to get through the process as quickly and inexpensively as possible and not get taken advantage of. Don wants the time they spend with him to flow and to do that he follows an outline he has developed that address all the issues:

  • The Children – child support, custody, visitation
  • Assets and Debt – Equitable distribution of assets and debts of the marriage
  • Alimony/Maintenance – Whether or not the factors are present to include alimony and how it will be paid.

During the mediation, Don gives them explanations of all issues and tells them what the possibilities and choices are, but the couples make all the decisions regarding their agreement. Don remains neutral, not directing them to go any particular way.

Don has experience mediating couples from every walk of life. He has worked with couples getting divorce that have no money and just debt, couples in the middle who have some money and little debt, and also high asset couples, with complicated investment portfolios, trust agreements, businesses. He has also worked with city, state and federal workers that have very different, and sometimes multi-part pensions where understanding how the different pensions are constructed is essential to the equitable distribution of assets.

He is an accredited mediator through the New York State Council of Divorce Mediation (NYSCDM), which is the highest standard in New York at this time. He is also accredited through the Family Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York (FDMCGNY) and is currently on the Roster of Neutrals for the Westchester County Supreme Court.

Don is proud of his success as a divorce mediator. He says:

“I have people who call me years later and refer cases to me; their neighbors, their family members or they just put the case in my hands and say “we’ll follow your recommendations. We know we can trust you”. That’s as good as it gets as far as I’m concerned.”

Don Sinkov’s Qualifications

Don is on the Mediator Roster for Westchester County Supreme Court

NYCourts

Don’s Training & Arbitration Experience:

Don’s Training

  • 2015 NYSCDM Downstate Mini Conference
  • 2015 NYSCDM Annual Conference
  • 2015 MatLaw Updates
  • 2014 NYSCDM Annual Conference
  • 2014 MatLaw Updates
  • 2014 Domestic Violence in Law Enforcement Couples – Pace Law School
  • 2014 Parental Child Abduction – Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • 2013 NYSCDM Annual Conference
  • 2013 MatLaw Updates
  • 2012 Association of Professional Family Mediators Conference
  • 2012 NYSCDM Annual Conference
  • 2012 NYSCDM Fall Mini Conference
  • 2012 MatLaw Updates – Tim Tippins Esq.
  • 2012 Presenter New York State Dispute Resolution Association Conference
  • 2011 NYSCDM Fall Mini Conference
  • 2011 NYSCDM Annual Conference
  • 2011 MatLaw Updates – Tim Tippins Esq.
  • 2010 NYSCDM Conference – John Jay College
  • 2010 AFCC Conference at City Bar
  • 2010 MatLaw Update – MatLaw for Professionals
  • 2010 NYSCDM Conference
  • 2009 AFCC Conference at City Bar
  • 2009 Ultimate Update in MatLaw – Tim Tippins Esq.
  • 2009 NYSCDM Conference
  • Motion to Dismiss and Expungement Updates – FINRA
  • Equitable Distribution 2009 – MatLaw for Professionals
  • Dividing Retirement Plans – Robert Guarnera
  • Cooperative Parenting – Dr. Phil Stahl
  • 2009 Taxation and Finance – John Jay College
  • Staff Mediator DRC Orange and Putnam Counties
  • 2008 MatLaw Updates – MatLaw For Professionals
  • Financial Issues in Mediation – Professional Mediator Institute
  • 2008 New York State CDM Annual Conference
  • 2007 MatLaw Updates – Tim Tippins Esq.
  • DISC Evaluation in Divorce – Westchester Bar Association
  • Alternative Forms of Custody – Pace Law School
  • Securities Mediation and Arbitration – American Law Institute American Bar Association
  • Standards of Value and Double Dipping – Westchester Bar
  • NASD Training in Securities Arbitration Code Revisions
  • Advanced Mediator Training – Fordham Law School  for NYS Court System
  • Miller Commission Recommendations – City Bar NYC Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • 2006 MatLaw Updates – Tim Tippins Esq.
  • Representing Same-Sex Couples – Cardozo Law School
  • 2006 NFA Arbitrator’s Continuing Education
  • Notary Public License State of New York
  • 2006 Securities Arbitration and Mediation  – NYC Bar Association at City Bar
  • Occupational Evaluations – Westchester Bar Assoc.
  • Maintenance Updates and Trends – West. Bar Assoc.
  • Understanding Retirement Plans – West.W. Bar Assoc.
  • MatLaw Training – Steve Abel Esq.
  • 2005 – NYSCDM Conference at Saratoga NY
  • Master Mediator Continuing Education  – NYS Courts
  • Mediating with Municipalities – Westchester Bar Assoc.
  • Muti-Party Facilitation – NYS Unified Court System
  • Pace Judicial Institute – Domestic Violence Screening
  • 2004 – Lemon Law Arbitrator Training at Cardozo Law School
  • 2004 – NYSCDM Annual Conference At Bear Mountain
  • 2004 – Bar Association Annual Conference In NYC
  • National Futures Association Arbitrator Training
  • NASD Arbitrator Chairperson Training
  • NASD Arbitrator Training
  • Arbitration – New York County Lawyers Association
  • Arbitrator Training – Bar Association of New York City
  • Advanced Mediator Training -NYS Unified Court System
  • Mediator Training – Westchester Mediation Center
  • Center For Family and Divorce Mediation
  • National Labor College – George Meany Center
  • Mediator Training EEOC New York City
  • New York University Externship in Dispute Resolution
  • New York University School of Law –  Employment Law  for ADR Neutrals
  • New York State School of Industrial Labor Relations at Cornell University

Don’s Arbitration Experience:

  • Former Lemon Law Arbitrator for New York State
  • National Futures Association (NFA) Arbitrator
  • Former New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Arbitrator
  • Former Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Arbitrator (FINRA)
  • Former Chairman NYC Electricians Union

Don’s Professional Memberships

Don Mentors Experienced Lawyers In Divorce Mediation

Recent Blog Articles

Mediating a Divorce After a Long-Term Marriage

{2:30 minutes to read} I am often pleasantly surprised when couples who have been married for 20, 30, 40 years or more are able to come to mediation to be divorced. Sometimes I wonder whether I could have done that; whether I could sit next to my soon-to-be ex-spouse and say out loud, “I want to divorce you and move on with my life. I want to live alone and not be married to you anymore.” How incredibly difficult would that be in a private setting, but here we are, saying this in front of the mediator, a stranger whom we just met. […]

Like Donald Trump, Pay Your Fair Share of Taxes, but Don’t Overpay

{2:24 minutes to read} As the years have gone on, I’ve been really working hard to make my mediation practice successful. Most of my clients are now coming from referrals, with a smaller percentage coming from internet advertising. My practice has grown steadily, and now it is time to do my 2016 tax return. This year I’m paying more taxes. My accountant says, “Don’t complain. You’re making more money.” That may be true, but I’m still getting killed with taxes. I’m trying to figure out how to pay less taxes by reading articles on how to manage your business, watching financial shows, and talking to tax professionals. This year as a small business owner, I finally figured out a couple of ways to lessen the tax burden. […]

The Dilemma of the Custodial Parent

{3:06 minutes to read} In most joint custody cases, the child primarily lives with one parent. The other parent shares time with the child around a schedule set forth in their parenting plan. This joint custody arrangement, although very common in agreements, is not a slam dunk, and to the contrary, is more often not fair to the custodial parent. The majority of phone calls and/or emails I receive are usually complaints from the custodial parent, who, after several months, realizes that the child is with them almost all the time. The non-custodial parent might see the child one or two days a week, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. How many of you have heard this before? […]