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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.” […]

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. […]

You’re a Mediator. Really?

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?” […]

What Lawyers Don’t Know

This blog is about some attorney responses to my blogs, which have been so bizarre, I had to write about [...]

Like George W. Bush Said, “It’s Hard Work.” Being Neutral, that is!

I understand it is very difficult for a couple to be in mediation and talk to one another instead of [...]

Which is More Likely?

Finding a cure for the common cold or finding a mediator in the courtroom? Answer: It’s a trick question. You are not going to find either. Mediation has been around for thousands of years. If you go back in history to the Druids, they were the mediators for the warring Celtic tribes. They were brought in to settle disputes and try to prevent wars from happening. As mediators, we are trying to prevent sides from warring with each other, which decimates their property, incomes and family. Sounds like divorce, doesn’t it? And yet, mediators are still treated like the new kid on the block. When you go to a courtroom, it would make sense to find a mediator at the intake when the couple first comes in, to see if there is any possibility of settling certain discrete issues or even the whole case. […]

Should Divorce Lawyers Come with a Warning Label? (Part 2)

Before going to a divorce lawyer, there are a couple of things you should know. The divorce lawyer’s job is [...]

That’s What Lawyers Do

It always surprises me when a new client comes in and they are an attorney or judge. I am a [...]