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Mediating a Divorce After a Long-Term Marriage

{2:30 minutes to read} I am often pleasantly surprised when couples who have been married for 20, 30, 40 years or more are able to come to mediation to be divorced. Sometimes I wonder whether I could have done that; whether I could sit next to my soon-to-be ex-spouse and say out loud, “I want to divorce you and move on with my life. I want to live alone and not be married to you anymore.” How incredibly difficult would that be in a private setting, but here we are, saying this in front of the mediator, a stranger whom we just met. […]

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.” […]

Is Being a Mediator Tougher Than Being a Lawyer?

{2:42 minutes to read} I often have conversations with my matrimonial attorney friends about divorce cases we have. We don’t mention names, but usually over a glass of wine or dinner, we talk about our experiences and the different methods we employed to bring about a settlement. Additionally, we share our opinions about what we did and discuss whether there might have been a better or different way to handle the situation. […]

Dividing the Marital Assets in Half—Part 2

{3:42 minutes to read} There was a big response to my last blog, I’ll Divide the Marital Assets in Half as Long as My Half Is Bigger, mostly from attorneys. They said horrible things like: “You don’t know what you’re talking about. We don’t always divide the assets in half. Where did you get that idea?” I said, “Okay, so if I’m wrong, tell me why I’m wrong or what you do differently.” “We don’t always divide the assets in half. We add up all the assets and then try to figure out what the value was at the date of the marriage, and the end of the financial interest is the date of commencement.” […]

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. […]

There are No Experts Only Opinions

{3:18 minutes to read} I watched a YouTube video recently where a Norwegian scientist talked about global warming. He had [...]

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 [...]

I Thought He Was Going to Change!

{2:42 minutes to read} Imagine a couple married for over 20 years. They have been unhappy for a really long [...]

Does Divorce Mediation Have a Place in Domestic Violence Cases?

{2:54 minutes to read} Divorce mediation in domestic violence cases? The judges and the court say, “Never!” But are they [...]

We Are Looking for the Mediator with the Cheapest Hourly Rate

{2:24 minutes to read} When the police arrest you for having drugs that you insist aren’t yours, do you look [...]