Don Sinkov

Take the Deal!

Take the Deal! By Don Sinkov{2:54 minutes to read} After a few months of negotiation (a few months longer than it usually takes a couple to come up with a divorce settlement) the husband announced, “I cannot accept the deal.”  

There was very little money and property to divide. It should have been a relatively simple divorce mediation, but the husband was just dragging his feet.

Every time I spoke to him, he said “Let’s go over this deal one more time.” I explained that there were only 5 items to discuss. I put them in writing and I sent it to him. A week or two later, he called back and said, “I can’t accept the deal.” Really??? Continue reading


You Can’t Make This Stuff Up! No. 2

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up! No. 2 By Don Sinkov

It’s Monday morning, and I am meeting with my first couple of the day. The husband is a successful businessman and is making a lot of money. The wife is a stay-at-home mom, very sweet, very attractive. We begin to discuss financing and the usual information and documents they will need to produce before we can start negotiating their Settlement Agreement.

While discussing budgeting, I remind them that it is very important that, in addition to all the costs we usually discuss, we talk about spending money. I wanted to make sure that we included spending money in their budget. Often, couples forget to do that. The budget covers living expenses such as utilities, groceries, etc. but does not include spending money. So I asked the wife what she thought she would need for spending money, and she said it was not a problem. I asked her to explain. She said:

” I have two cards. One is the ATM machine card from one bank. If I need money, I go to the bank and that’s how I get spending money. I take it out of the ATM.” Continue reading


I Thought He Was Going to Change!

I Thought He Was Going to Change! By Don Sinkov{2:42 minutes to read}

Imagine a couple married for over 20 years. They have been unhappy for a really long time. They have 2 children. They both acknowledge that the husband:

  • has had numerous affairs;
  • is a philanderer;
  • has a gambling problem;
  • occasionally goes on drinking binges; and
  • totally ignores the wife, and for the most part, the children.

When speaking to the wife privately, I asked her, “How long has this been going on?” She said, “Pretty much the whole time we’ve been married.” I said, “That’s over 20 years! Why didn’t you get divorced sooner?” She said, “Well, I thought he was going to change.” Continue reading


You Can’t Make This Stuff Up! No. 1

You Can't Make This Stuff Up!! No. 1 by Don Sinkov{2:42 minutes to read} The husband and wife showed up for mediation dressed to the nines. They told me that they were executives in Manhattan-based companies, and make a ton of money. I did notice that they were just loaded with bling:

  • Rolex watches
  • Fancy diamond rings
  • Driving a very expensive car

I discussed my hourly fee for mediation with them and told them there is no additional charge if couples have more assets. It might, however, take more time to discuss and understand the nature of complicated assets and/or if there are numerous assets in different forms. Continue reading


Does Divorce Mediation Have a Place in Domestic Violence Cases?

Does Divorce Mediation Have a Place in Domestic Violence Cases By Don Sinkov{2:54 minutes to read} Divorce mediation in domestic violence cases? The judges and the court say, “Never!” But are they right?

Over the years, I’ve heard judges, courts, and attorneys say time and time again, when there’s domestic violence, there is no mediation. It’s totally inappropriate and they will not participate. In the past, I respected their opinions and said, “I can understand. I can’t guarantee the safety of a victim of domestic violence at a mediation session, and I don’t want to put them at risk.”

But as time went on, I decided that refusing to mediate a divorce case where there is domestic violence doesn’t always make sense. And here’s why: You have someone who has been abused in their marriage. They want to get divorced from the abuser. By refusing mediation, you are putting them into the litigation arena, where it’s going to take years of battling to get them divorced.  Continue reading


We Are Looking for the Mediator with the Cheapest Hourly Rate

We Are Looking for the Mediator with the Cheapest Hourly Rate By Don Sinkov{2:24 minutes to read}

When the police arrest you for having drugs that you insist aren’t yours, do you look for the cheapest lawyer you can find? Or do you hire the most experienced lawyer you can find that wins all of his or her cases?

Seems like the answer is obvious, right?

However, each week, I receive 1 or 2 calls and the conversation goes something like this:

Hi, we are calling for prices for mediation. We are just shopping around at this point. What is your hourly rate?”

When I try to explain to the spouse calling that it is really about the total cost of the divorce mediation process, not the hourly rate, they don’t seem to understand.  Continue reading


If You Want the Job, Just Write What We Say!

If You Want the Job, Just Write What We Say! By Don Sinkov{2:36 minutes to read} Couples often get the idea that they can save a lot of money during the mediation process if they write their own agreement, bring in the spreadsheet, and say, “Here, write this.” Experience has taught me that it usually takes longer to create the agreement this way than starting from scratch.

Couples haven’t gone through a divorce before, so they don’t understand about:

  • Property rights;
  • The timing and how to transfer property;
  • What kind and who is going to pay expenses until the property is transferred; and
  • Numerous other parts of equitable distribution.

Continue reading


Wow, Mediation, What a Concept!

Wow, Mediation, What a Concept! by Don Sinkov{2:36 minutes to read} The couple had been divorced for 5 years. They spent over $250,000 in litigation.

They signed off on an agreement that they both acknowledged was some kind of deal by the attorneys, hand-written on the courthouse steps when the clients ran out of money.

And so here they are. They have lots of post-divorce issues that should have been resolved in their settlement agreement but weren’t, and NOW they are coming to mediation.

This is much more difficult because now we have to try to undo a bad agreement. Had they come to mediation first, since these issues existed when the agreement was drafted, we could have resolved them. But NO, they went to litigation. Continue reading


Dividing Net Equity Using the “Magic of Math”

Dividing Net Equity Using the Magic of Math by Don Sinkov{2:36 minutes to read} A while ago, I wrote a blog article about “The Magic of Math,” which had to do with dividing equity in the home. Somehow there was a lot of confusion, so I decided to clarify and perhaps do a better job of explaining this concept.

When a couple jointly contributes to the down payment on their house, and there is a sale, they will usually divide the net equity in half. However, if one spouse paid the down payment through separate funds before the marriage, they are usually allowed to deduct that, and then divide the net equity. Continue reading


I’m Going to Mediation To “Get Over” on My Spouse!

I'm Going to Mediation To Get Over on My Spouse! By Don Sinkov{2:54 minutes to read} Couples with many assets can present challenges above and beyond in a divorce settlement.

I met with a couple recently who had a lot of assets. When I started explaining to them which ones were marital and separate, they announced “We don’t need to hear that. We’ve already worked everything out.” They produced spreadsheets and a proposal. They informed me that they just wanted their settlement reduced to a written agreement.

When I reviewed their spreadsheet and proposal, it was clearly one-sided. Had they gone to court, the judge would have likely divided the assets equally. Continue reading


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. 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.