Divorce Settlement Agreement

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


Should Mediators Draft Legal Agreements?

[Time to Read: 2 mins]

Should Mediators Draft Legal Agreements? by Don Sinkov For years, I’ve heard that some non-attorney mediators write their own settlement agreements. When I first started a mediation practice, my partner was an attorney, and we’d mediate together. Although I would write certain parts of the settlement agreement, she often modified the language and always reviewed the agreement before it was sent to the clients.

As the years went on I became a sole practitioner, writing memorandums.  My memorandums would then go to an attorney and the attorney would write the legal agreements.

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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


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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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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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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How Much Should a Mediator Charge?

Don Sinkov of YourDivorceMediator.com explains how mediators charge their clients and that they're paying for years of experience.As the years go on, I have developed a better understanding of why some mediators ask for retainers, and why others also charge for phone calls and emails.

Usually, I only ask for retainers when there is a lot of work to do by phone. In situations where it is counter-productive for the husband and wife to be in the same room together, speaking to them separately by phone is a necessity, including calls to their attorneys, in order to move things along.

I once had a case where I told the client, “I don’t usually charge for emails and phone calls.” The client started emailing me regularly. By the end of the month, I had received 83 emails, and had a better understanding of why some mediators charge for emails and phone calls.

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The Kid’s Living at College. Why Do I Have to Pay for Housing at Home?

Don Sinkov of yourdivorcemediator.com explains how child support payments get complicated when a child is living at a college dorm.A dollar-for-dollar credit against your child support obligation for room and board at college – we have all heard about it and understand it’s done pretty much all the time. But is it fair?

When addressing basic child support (food, clothing and shelter), mandatory add-ons, and discretionary expenses in the Settlement Agreement, we say, “While there is no statute directing you to pay for your child’s college education, something like a SUNY clause, capping your contribution to education at a State University of New York tuition rate, is an obligation most parents and courts are comfortable with.”

“So if I’m paying for room and board at college, why should I pay for room and board at home? Isn’t that paying twice for the same thing?”

Generally, most attorneys will say, “Double shelter allowance. My client should get a reduction in child support for their share of room and board expense at college. Why should my client have to pay room and board at the home where the child is not living when they are living at college?”

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Got Buyer’s Remorse?

Don Sinkov of YourDivorceMediator.com explains why business valuations are so important.How often have I heard, “I have a business but I don’t want to spend the money to get it valued. It’s way too expensive. I’ve heard it costs $20-30,000.” During the settlement negotiations, when one spouse has a business or the spouses are partners in the business, it is very important to get the business valued. We need this to determine:

  • What each other’s interests are in the business
  • What is the marital interest to the non-titled spouse (the person that is married to the business owner)

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I’m a Mediator, I Have All the Answers!

Don Sinkov of yourdivorcemediator.com explains that even an experienced divorce mediator does not know everything.I recently got a response to one of my blog articles from a mediator who said, “Of course, I know all about this. I’m a mediator. I know about everything in divorce and everything related to people’s feelings. That’s who a mediator is.”

Early in my career, I co-mediated with an experienced attorney. We worked together for several years and thought we were doing a really good job. We had successfully mediated hundreds of divorces.

I still remember one couple that we worked with. The wife was absolutely beautiful; the husband was kind of an average-looking guy. We talked to them for a while and it was clear that they both wanted to get divorced. The wife started talking about how her life was all about the kids and how devoted she was to them. She also mentioned that the husband worked all the time and the reason the marriage was breaking up was all his fault. She was cleaning the house and being a good mom and trying to work with her business partner to build a business.

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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.