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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. […]

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.” […]

Thank God for Collaborative Lawyers!

{2:48 minutes to read} Collaborative law has been around since the 90s. It was initially marketed as something like mediation, but often clients call me and say they have been to collaborative lawyers; you know, mediators who are lawyers. That is totally wrong. The other day I had lunch with a principal in a law firm, and I said, “You practice family law, but I’m sure some of your clients would benefit from mediation. I’m thinking I could offer divorce mediation to your clients, and you and your law firm can do the legal paperwork and filings.” I further explained, “It would go like this: I’ll write a memorandum after the clients agree to terms. You write the Settlement Agreement and file the judgement in court.” […]

Why Don’t Lawyers Know What Mediators Do?

{3:06 minutes to read} Recently, I returned from a 3-day annual conference of the New York State Council of Divorce Mediation. The speaker was Eric Tepper. The training was about the new NYS Spousal Maintenance guidelines and advisory schedule. Eric had worked with Judge Sunshine in creating the guidelines and schedule. Shortly thereafter, I attended the Divorce Economic Institute training by MatLaw in Westchester County. MatLaw provides an ongoing review of case law each year that is usually attended by members of the Westchester Bar’s Family Law section. I have attended the MatLaw trainings every year for the past 13 years. I believe it is incredibly important to keep current with the seminal cases in equitable distribution and matters relating to divorce, business valuations, marital interest, etc. […]

How to Provide Child Support for a Special Needs Child

{3:30 minutes to read} Remember my article on Parents of Special Needs Children are Special, Too? This is a follow-up [...]

When We Left Your Office, Everything Fell Into Place

{3:00 minutes to read} It was a very complicated situation: The couple had been to lawyers and court. There were [...]

I’m Paying Child Support, Do I Still Have to Pay Half of the Mortgage, Too?

{3:06 minutes to read} I get asked this question at least once a week. The answer is, basic child support [...]

Parents of Special Needs Children Are Special, Too

{4:00 minutes to read} Recently, a client came in requesting my help in putting together a parenting plan. I asked [...]

Take the Deal!

{2:54 minutes to read} After a few months of negotiation (a few months longer than it usually takes a couple [...]

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up! No. 2

It’s Monday morning, and I am meeting with my first couple of the day. The husband is a successful businessman [...]