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Creating an Effective Parenting Plan: Considerations and Questions for Parents

The divorce process is an emotional time. Tensions surrounding a parenting plan may mount even when both parents prioritize the needs of the children.  Responsiveness, stability, and practicality are significant factors in developing a parenting plan. As parents begin to develop a parenting plan, the need for flexibility is also very important in creating options that consider the child first. 

The parenting agreement, in many ways, establishes the foundation for the children and their parents in moving forward with the new family structure. An effective parenting plan maximizes the child’s emotional security.  It also needs to work well for the child and the parents and grow with the child.

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A Decision Based on Emotions Can Hurt Everyone!

I recently met with a couple who wanted to hear about my divorce mediation services. During the meeting Maria*, the wife, related how she had decided a year earlier that the marriage was over and had left the house. Her husband, Howard*, expressed that he was not in favor of a divorce and wanted Maria to return home. However, she was committed to ending the marriage and suggested that they mediate the terms of the divorce rather than hire separate attorneys and litigate the matter.

Read the rest of Dan's article to learn what happened next. (*Names have been changed.)

Divorce Mediation with High-net-worth Families: It Is Not Just About the Money

When I first started practicing divorce mediation 15 years ago, the public’s perception was that mediation was for people who did not have the means to hire separate attorneys to act on their behalf. Mediation, therefore, was primarily a way for them to save money on their divorce. Over the years, my practice has included an increasing number of very high-net-worth couples for whom saving money on attorney fees was actually not the primary reason for choosing mediation. They truly felt that the mediation process was the best approach for them.

Read the rest of Jennifer's article to learn why.

I’m Right — and You’re Wrong!

I just attended a monthly peer group meeting with my mediation colleagues. One of the subjects that came up and generated a lively discussion was the need we humans have “to be right,” which typically means that the other person must be wrong when he or she doesn’t agree with us. Of course, that’s what happens when we look at things purely from one vantage point – things are black or white, right or wrong; one person wins and the other loses. Period! And as you can guess, this approach does not help move dialogue along or generate viable options for people to live together (or apart, in the case of divorcing couples).

Read the rest of Susan's article to learn how to look at things from a different vantage point, which can be very helpful. 

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An Advisory Schedule for Spousal Support: What Does That Mean?

For years, divorce professionals, attorneys, mediators, judges and lawyers have all been asking for spousal maintenance (formerly called alimony) guidelines. Cases which had the same facts were getting different alimony awards from different judges. In some cases very, very different: Disturbingly different. We now have what’s called an advisory schedule, based on the length of the marriage and disparity of incomes.

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Don’t Litigate a Divorce Because Your Spouse Had an Affair!

I often work with couples where one of them has had an affair. When this is the case, it is common for the other spouse to feel hurt and angry. In addition, he/she often does not trust the spouse that had the affair. While the affair may have damaged the marriage beyond the point of repair, it is how the spouse that has been cheated on responds that determines how well the couple and their children get through the resulting divorce.

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A Painful Plea from a Child of Divorce

 

Many couples going through divorce have to make huge efforts to protect their children from their conflict. Unfortunately, once in awhile, the stress is so high that their emotions get the better part of them, and the child gets pulled into their drama. I worked with a family who unfortunately continued to have financial issues after their divorce. They shared with me a letter that their son sent to them from college, begging them to stop their bitter arguments against each other. As you will see, he was willing to sacrifice his education for a cheaper alternative, just to end their conflict.

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A Wife’s Fervent Plea for Mediation

Every once in awhile, a client will send me something that goes right to the heart of mediation. I’m working with a couple who have been back and forth with threats to stop and go the lawyer route – even though they both know it is not in their best interest to do so. After a rather torrid session, the wife wrote a letter to the husband, and she agreed to let me share it with you. Of course I changed their names and anything very personal to them. If this isn’t a plea for sanity, I don’t know what is.

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What are the 4 Elements of Divorce?


When most people are going through a divorce they don’t think about the various elements that come into play during this difficult process. They are often overwhelmed with emotions (anger, resentment and sadness, among them) that come up during this extremely difficult time of their lives. They often become stuck in the disputed details of their lives, and are unable to see the Big Picture of what is in play and thus understand the essential interaction between the 4 elements of divorce. Those elements are:

- The Legal Divorce
- The Financial Divorce
- The Children's Divorce
- The Emotional Divorce 



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Do Grandparents Have Rights in New York?

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?

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Take The Divorce Mediation Quiz

Even if you and your partner do not agree on much, divorce mediation could still be for you. Check out The Divorce Mediation Quiz for typical issues to think about when considering divorce mediation. If you and your partner think that divorce mediation could be a sensible solution for your family, you should learn more by meeting with a divorce mediator who can answer questions specific to your situation.