Don Sinkov

Is the Home a Married Couple’s Greatest Asset? Maybe Not.

Don Sinkov of YourDivorceMediator.com discusses what is your largest financial assetToday, more often than not, the family home is not a couple’s greatest asset. Although it used to be, the defined benefit pension may now be worth more than the home. For many years, homes were going up in value. During the boom in early 2000, some prices were going up 30% or 40% in one year. Since then, prices leveled off, and many have gone down.

Now, more and more clients are coming to mediation with:

  • Little equity in the house;

  • Some equity in the house;

  • Negative equity in the house.

It is now less common to find couples with paid off mortgages or who have a lot of equity in the house, thus the pension has become the largest asset.

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You’re a Mediator. Really?

Don Sinkov of YourDivorceMediator.com advises to hire a mediator rather than a lawyer.I was recently emailed a 65-page Settlement Agreement by an unhappy couple. They said that the mediator who created the Agreement was horrible: He had produced this incredibly long Agreement, but they still had tons of unresolved issues.

They explained that the odd part was that the husband and wife were in complete agreement on everything. However, a week or two after they had been in to modify the Agreement for the third time, the mediator called them and said, “I’ve discovered more issues. You have to come back.”

They said, “We used the services of this mediator to create our Settlement Agreement.”

I asked, “Do you mind telling me who it is?” Continue reading

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Mediation and Couples Therapy: Can They Work Together?

Don Sinkov of YourDivorceMediator.com discusses mediation and couples therapy: can they work together?When post-divorce couples come back to mediation, it is often to modify child support because of a change in the parents’ income and/or the parenting plan, or because children’s needs change over time. Child support was based on previous earnings that may be very different now. The parents may have created a parenting plan that worked initially, but now after some time has passed, is no longer working. Whatever the reason, the agreement needs to be modified.

That’s not very difficult in mediation. However, there are some couples who just can’t agree. We completed the settlement agreement, and that’s all behind us. It was a difficult process because both of them were anxious to get divorced, but now they are divorced, and at least one of them is still unhappy.

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Why Parenting Plans Fail

Don Sinkov of YourDivorceMediator.com discusses why parenting plans failBefore you construct a parenting plan, don’t think about how many hours you are entitled to see the kids. Think about how to construct a plan that takes into account all the changes in the children’s lives that are going to occur post separation/divorce.

When constructing parenting plans with couples, the conversation with one parent sometimes goes like this:

Parent: “I want my kids 50% of the time, and I want to make sure they are going to be with me exactly 50%. I’m the parent and that’s the way it’s got to be.”

Mediator:  “Okay, I understand you feel strongly about that. So tell me, what is your parenting time with your children going to be like?”

Parent: “Well, I only have a small apartment, but I want them to stay there and sleep over every other weekend, and a couple nights during the week.” Continue reading

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When a Mediator Levels the Playing Field, Is that Really Advocacy?

Your Divorce Mediator, Don Sinkov discusses the challenge a mediator faces when one spouse lacks the knowledge to sufficiently fight for his/herself when creating a Divorce Agreement.How often do mediation clients say:

“We don’t want anything to do with lawyers. We will not have lawyers review the Agreement. We hate lawyers. We know what they do in divorce cases. We don’t want any part of that.”

Unfortunately, the spouse that’s the most vocal about this is usually the one with the most money. The moneyed spouse doesn’t want anybody reviewing their Agreement. They usually have the financial savvy, where the other spouse doesn’t.

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When Parents Argue in Front of their Children

Your Divorce Mediator, Don Sinkov, warns of the consequences of arguing in front of your children.A recent client had an issue regarding his wife’s elderly mother. They were looking for a place for her to live.

The husband had very graciously said:

“You know, it’s fine with me. She can come live with us. I know she’s your mom and I’m sure you have very strong feelings for her and feel very close to her. So, it’s fine if she comes to live with us.”

Surprisingly the wife said, “Absolutely not. She’ll never live with me.”

When the husband asked why, the wife said:

“Because the entire time that I spent living at home, my mother would constantly belittle and berate my father in front of me. I developed such resentment towards her, and I can’t let it go. My mother argued in front of me all the time. She did this almost every day. I couldn’t wait to move out. When I went to college, I finally got out of there and never looked, or went, back.”

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Why Do Judges Think Court is Where Families Belong?

Your Divorce Mediator, Don Sinkov asks why judges do not recommend mediation and think families should be in court.Here in New York, when couples end up in court, the Judges do not have the ability to order cases directly to mediation. But is that really the problem?

Is it because Judges think that family matters should be settled in court by a Judge who doesn’t know the family?

Or is it because Judges think that no cases involving families going through divorce are appropriate for mediation?

Some states have a mandatory mediation program, where the Judges understand that you don’t drag the kids into court if you don’t have to. Instead, they believe, because of the children, couples should try to enter into mediation to see if their problems can be resolved peaceably. Remember, these parents are going to co-parent their children after court.

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Why Is a Divorce Mediator like a Car Mechanic?

Your Divorce Mediator, Don Sinkov explains how a divorce mediator and a car mechanic know how to uncover the underlying issues of a problem to solve all the symptoms.A car mechanic:

  • Has all the right tools;
  • Has been trained;
  • Keeps up with the latest changes and software for their computerized equipment;
  • Has an organized workshop; and
  • Has learned how to speak to customers in a way that conveys professionalism, and thus the customer feels like, “Wow, I’m in the right place, and this mechanic really knows what they’re doing. He/she is going to get the job done for me, and I’m going to live happily ever after.”

That’s what makes for a successful mechanic, right?

No, not exactly. Continue reading

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What Lawyers Don’t Know

Don Sinkov of YourDivorceMediator.com shares some comments he's received from lawyers who do not understand the mediation process.This blog is about some attorney responses to my blogs, which have been so bizarre, I had to write about them.

I shouldn’t fault attorneys that don’t understand mediation. When they attended law school, they weren’t taught about mediation or alternative dispute resolution. Attorneys are trained in dispute resolution now, and I have been invited and have spoken at several law schools on the topic of mediation.

Law schools trained lawyers to do what lawyers do: Argue, get evidence that help them argue and then argue some more. Just the opposite of mediation, right? That is why our professions are so different.

As a mediator, I try to help couples resolve their disputes by cooperating and working together.

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The One Regret

Your Divorce Mediator, Don Sinkov, urges parents to spend time with their families.My doctor is 70 years old and has a very successful and financially lucrative practice. The last time I spoke with him, he said, “I have a question for you. I know what kind of work you do and that you deal with people’s problems.” He continued, “I have something on my mind that I want to ask you.”

I said tell me more. He explained that, despite his successful career, he had one major regret. “My one regret is that I didn’t spend more time with my children while they were growing up. Instead I put all my time and energy into my career. I missed their childhood. Now that they are older, I don’t have a very good relationship with them because I really never spent a lot of time with them.” 

I understand that with any working parent, there is always a push-pull; that trade-off between earning a living and managing time so that you don’t miss your kids growing up. You’re trying to be there for them and build this incredible relationship, while still investing in your job and building your career.  Continue reading

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Don Sinkov, Accredited Divorce Mediator, provides Divorce Mediation, and Legal Separation Agreements in the following areas of WESTCHESTER COUNTY New York - Ardsley NY 10502, Armonk NY 10504, Bedford NY 10507, Bedford Corners NY 10507, Bedford Village NY 10506, Briarcliff Manor NY 10510, Bronxville NY 10708, Buchanan NY 10511, Chappaqua NY 10514, Crompond NY 10517, Croton Falls NY 10519, Croton-on-Hudson NY 10520, 10521, Crugers NY 10521, Dobbs Ferry NY 10522, Eastchester NY 10707, 10709, Elmsford NY 10523, Fairview NY, Golden’s Bridge NY 10526, Greenville, Harrison NY 10528, Hartsdale NY 10530, Hastings-on-Hudson NY 10706, Hawthorne NY 10532, Heritage Hills, Irvington NY 10533, Jefferson Valley-Yorktown NY 10535, Lake Mohegan NY 10547, Larchmont NY 10538, Lincolndale NY 10540, Mamaroneck NY 10543, Mount Kisco NY 10549, Mount Vernon NY 10550,10551,10552,10553, New Rochelle NY 10801, 10802, 10803, 10804, 10805, Ossining NY 10562, Peekskill NY 10566, Pelham NY 10803, Pelham Manor NY 10803, Pleasantville NY 10570, 10571, 10572, Port Chester NY 10573, Rye NY 10580, Rye Brook NY 10573, Scarsdale NY 10583, Scotts Corners NY 10576, Shennorock NY 10587, Shrub Oak NY 10588, Sleepy Hollow NY 10591, Tarrytown NY 10591, Thornwood NY 10594, Tuckahoe NY 10707, Valhalla NY 10595, Verplanck NY 10596, White Plains NY 10601, 10602, 10603, 10604, 10606, 10607, 10610, Yonkers NY 10701, 10702, 10703, 10704, 10705, 10706, 10707, 10708, 10709, 10710, Yorktown Heights NY 10598.


YourDivorceMediator.com by Don Sinkov, Accredited Divorce and Family Mediator, Divorce Mediation, Legal Separation, and child custody mediation, proudly serves the following towns in Upstate New York - PUTNAM COUNTY New York - Adams Corners NY 10579, Brewster NY 10509, Carmel NY 10512, Cold Spring NY 10516, Crofts Corners NY 10579, Garrison NY 10524, Kent Lakes NY 10512, Lake Carmel NY 10512, Lake Lincolndale NY 10541, Lake Mahopac NY 10541, Lake Peekskill NY 10537, Lake Secor NY 10541, Mahopac NY 10541, Mahopac Falls NY 10542, Manitou NY 10524, Nelsonville NY 10516, North Highland NY 10516, Oscawana Lake NY 10579, Patterson NY 12563, Philipstown NY 10516, Putnam Valley NY 10579, Sears Corners NY 10509, Southeast NY 10509, Tompkins Corners NY 10579.