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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. […]

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.” […]

Can We Share Future Earnings After the Divorce?

{2:42 minutes to read} During a recent mediation, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the husband and wife were smiling and seemed totally at ease. The husband was a hedge fund manager, and being a risk taker, he had started several hedge funds, then gone bankrupt. Currently, he is operating a very successful hedge fund with a very promising future. His wife, who is a successful doctor, had supported him not only financially through a series of ups and downs, but emotionally. Fast-forward 20 years later, and they are now getting divorced. They’ve both experienced some lean years, but now things have turned around. He is making a lot of money, and the prospects for making even more money in the next few years are excellent, so the couple wanted to make an agreement that would address the husband’s future earnings. […]

If I Ignore You, Will You Change Your Mind about Getting Divorced?

{2:48 minutes to read} One spouse is often the initiator when getting divorced or separated. The other’s attitude is, “Let’s [...]

Why Must I Read My Divorce Agreement?

{2:24 minutes to read} How often have I received a phone call from divorced spouses asking questions about their settlement [...]

Binding Arbitration: Is It a Process Whose Time Has Come?

{3:12 minutes to read} For many years there has been a discussion in the mediation/arbitration community about when to choose [...]

The King of Mediation, Really?

{3:48 minutes to read}  After a difficult couple of weeks mediating with high conflict couples, divorce lawyers calling me and [...]

Mediation: Last Resort, or First Choice?

{3:12 minutes to read} A couple had been in litigation for a little over 6 months and were running out [...]