The Not-So-Golden Years, Part 1

Daniel Burns

Daniel Burns

I had a recent mediation that has caused me to consider how to address the future consequences that face a spouse who left the workforce for many years during the time of the marriage.

In this case, the wife had taken on the role of primary caretaker of the couple’s children. As a result, she left the workforce when the children were born and, when she returned to work many years later, she was only able secure employment that paid her about $40,000 a year. This job also did not provide a 401(k) for the employees, although she has been able to set up an IRA that now has about $10,000 in it.

The husband was the primary breadwinner during the marriage and, partly because he remained in the workforce, now earns $120,000 per year. He also has about $200,000 in a 401(k) that was established by his employer. Read the rest of Dan’s article to learn about other potential financial inequities in the golden years and how to deal with them.

I’ll See You In Court!

Ada Hasloecher

Ada Hasloecher

It’s almost cliché. And if this unrealistic expectation that “justice” will be served wasn’t so incredibly sad, it would almost be what my mother calls “tragic comedy.”

And yet, “I’ll see you in court” or “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer” are pretty incendiary words, spoken with naïve expectations, in total exasperation and often (fortunately) as an idle threat. But they sting nonetheless to the person on the receiving end of this warning. AND the person issuing this edict means it… at the time.

As a general rule, couples come to mediation because they want to do two things:
– Get through the separation as amicably as possible
– Save money

If they want to do BOTH at the same time, then the mediation can go rather smoothly. This is not to say that it’s a bed of roses, but the intention is to resolve things together, keeping their eyes on the shared goal. Read the rest of Ada’s article to learn more.

Divorcing Couples Are Not Lawyers – Give Them a Break!

Don Sinkov

Don Sinkov

Often divorcing couples come to mediation having done some research or gotten advice from friends. Since this is usually their first divorce, they try to get as much information as they can, so they can be informed as they go through the mediation/divorce process. But this is very much like trying to study the night before the test.

Mediators and attorneys have to understand that clients don’t know this stuff, and we have to be patient in stepping them through the information. Read the rest of Don’s article to learn how mediators help couples get the information they need to make their own decisions.

Annual Downstate Symposium

Registration Open

The New York State Council on Divorce MediationNYSCDM_logo_for_header is pleased to announce our

Annual Downstate Symposium:

“Calm the Chaos: Navigating the Emotional, Financial and Ethical Complexities of Divorce Mediation”

Co-sponsored by the CUNY Dispute Resolution Program of John Jay College 

Saturday, December 5th, 2015     8:30 – 4:30

John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street, New York, NY 

Please join us for an informative and inspiring day of presentations and panel discussions focusing on some of the most difficult issues that mediation professionals face.

Highlights include:

  • Lessons on Conflict Resolution from an NYPD Hostage Negotiator                                           Presenter: Lt. (Ret.) Jack Cambria
  • Defusing the Emotional Couple: Strategies for Mediators to Work With Emotions in the Room   Presenter: Judith Siegel, Ph.D.
  • Update on the New Maintenance Law in New York State                                                               Presenter: Steven L. Abel, Esq.
  • Panel Discussion on Complex Financial Situations
  • Cases That Keep Us Up at Night

Register now online

Download registration form (mail with payment).

Home is Where the Children Are: Tips for Creating a Comfortable Second Home for Your Child

Deborah Hope Wayne

Deborah Hope Wayne

The importance of keeping the children’s interests at heart and the best ways to handle communication with children is often emphasized through the divorce process. No matter how old the children may be, they react to their parents’ divorce in different ways. What happens to the children after the divorce process is completed? One parent may be moving out of the family home and starting new in a different place and, in some cases, the family home may be sold and everyone will move. While it is a new beginning for that parent, it is also a brand new home for the children. What can you do to help make your new residence a comfortable second home for your children?

Read the rest of Deborah’s article for tips on how to create a comfortable second home for your child.

Hitting the Pause Button in Divorce Mediation

Susan Ingram

Susan Ingram

Most divorce mediations can be resolved within a matter of months. By ‘resolved’ I mean that, within that timeframe, the couple will have:

– participated in a number of sessions to discuss their issues,
– come to an understanding on these issues, and
– reviewed and executed a legal document (a settlement agreement) that sets out everything they’ve agreed upon.

Sounds like a pretty quick and efficient process, especially given the seriousness and importance of the subject matter. And many times the mediation process can be completed within a 4-8 month timeframe. Yet, in my mediations with divorcing couples, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon that I refer to as “Hitting the Pause Button,” or just “The Pause.”

Read the rest of Susan’s article to learn what “The Pause” is and how it can benefit the mediation process.