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Don Sinkov

About Don Sinkov

Don Sinkov Your Divorce Mediator Westchester County, NY Putnam County, NY Phone: (914) 588-6258 eMail: Info@YourDivorceMediator.com

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? […]

Boy, Am I Happy I’m Getting the House!

{3:54 minutes to read} A divorcing couple has decided how they are going to divide their assets. They really don’t need a mediator to mediate the terms because they have already decided, without knowing family law. Or how a judge might decide their case. Or what factors they need to consider. They have been thinking about their settlement for a while and like what they have. The husband and wife don’t really want to hear what I have to say. Although they’ve hired me as a mediator, they don’t want me to mediate. They just want me to write out the deal they have. […]

If You Can’t Bargain for Yourself, Maybe Mediation Isn’t for You!

{3:48 minutes to read} One of the elements of a successful mediation is the client’s ability to bargain in their own self interest. Often, I have one spouse who is more concerned about what is going to happen to their soon-to-be ex-spouse than they are about themselves. When I see that, I say, “Listen, your spouse is concerned about him or herself, and you’re concerned about them also, so there are two people concerned about them but who is expressing concern for you. For this mediation to be successful, you have to speak up for yourself and play a part in constructing what you both believe is a fair settlement.” […]

Kids Need a Parent, Not a Playmate

{2:54 minutes to read} So what is a “Disney Dad,” you ask? A Disney Dad, in short, is a dad who spends his visitation time entertaining his child like a friend with no rules or boundaries. Visitation turns into a free-for-all party atmosphere. This may be because the father feels he has very little time with the child, so he wants the child’s memory of that time with dad to be a fun one. I get that, but that’s really not what a parent’s role is, is it? Here is what a client told me. When the child is with mom, there are strict rules. The child can’t have any sugar or keep late hours. The child is on a regular schedule, does her homework at a certain time, and eats meals together with her mother at the dining room table. Positive behaviors are encouraged, like being polite and following the rules. […]

Relax and Go On Vacation—The Work Will Wait for You!

{2:42 minutes to read} Here I am, about to leave on a ten-day vacation abroad—something I haven’t done in a really long time. I’m experiencing some trepidation, but not just about taking a long flight. I tried to finish all the work I had, but that is nearly impossible since it comes in every day. Okay, I’m not complaining because I have too much work; it is just that this is the dilemma of a small business owner. One month, the phone doesn’t ring; no email; no text messages. You call yourself once every day or two, to make sure the phones work. The following month you’re inundated by calls and appointments. You are so busy, you don’t know what to do first. […]

If I Get Divorced, I Get to Keep the Dog, Right?

{3:00 minutes to read} Pets play a very important role in our lives. In my life I have a dog. I don’t own a dog, I have a dog and the dog has me. No one really owns a living creature. We live with them and have a relationship with them, and that relationship is very special to us. To pet owners, pets are like children and we grow very attached to them. With a divorcing couple, it is not that unusual to create an agreement where both parties have visitation rights with their pets. It’s good for the divorcing couple and good for their pets. After all, we are divorcing the other spouse; we are not divorcing our pets. Non pet owners may have difficulty understanding the importance of not interrupting the everyday contact with your beloved pet. It matters little if the pet is: a cat, a dog, a parrot, a gerbil, a hamster, or even a horse. Pet owners who have had a long relationship with their pets do not want that relationship interrupted by the divorce. […]

Do Grandparents Have Rights in New York?

{2:18 minutes to read} The short answer is, “Yes. Grandparents have visitation rights in New York.” Every divorce agreement that I’ve seen specifically spells out that grandparents in New York have the right to see their grandchildren, and those rights won’t be denied. So that sounds great, and very legal, but how does that really work? Even though the parents are getting divorced, it’s important for kids to maintain relationships with parents, grandparents, and extended family. Settlement Agreements will often contain language about grandparents and extended family being able to see the children even after the death of one of the parents. Maintaining family relationships in the children’s lives is important. Extended family usually includes grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc; however, grandparents have a legal right to see their grandchildren. […]

Are You Ever Too Old to Get Divorced?

{2:42 minutes to read} A couple from Eastern Europe had been married about 65 years. This was their second marriage. They had a bunch of kids who were now in their 60s, and mom and dad decided it was time to get divorced. They had been unhappy for the last 25 years. Their attorney called me and said that he knew this was a little unusual because of their age, but he had spoken to both of them and they really needed to get it done. He said, “I was wondering who makes a career out of doing unusual mediations, and I thought of you.” […]

An Advisory Schedule for Spousal Support: What Does That Mean?

{2:00 minutes to read} For years, divorce professionals, attorneys, mediators, judges and lawyers have all been asking for spousal maintenance (formerly called alimony) guidelines. Cases which had the same facts were getting different alimony awards from different judges. In some cases very, very different: Disturbingly different. After the Miller Commission conducted hearings, the law revision committee spent 5 years trying to arrive at a formula of spousal maintenance, while special interest groups exerted their influence. Toward the end, Judge Sunshine and Eric Tepper, whom we all admire, were involved in the final phase of review. […]