Author Archives: Jennifer Safian

avatar

About Jennifer Safian

Jennifer Safian is a divorce & family mediator and the founder of Safian Mediation in New York.
EMAIL: jpsafian@gmail.com
BIO: About Jennifer Safian

why go to family mediation?
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

{3:00 minutes to read} My mother died without a will. Our stepfather is still alive. There are also 4 siblings, and we can’t agree on how to divide up the estate. Agree?? George isn’t speaking to Alice. Mary Margaret blames me for trying to run the show. How are we going to get everyone around the table to discuss and find some resolution? All families experience conflict. What varies is the intensity of the conflict, and whether it prevents the family members from maintaining a close connection and/or uniting in times of crisis. In fact, it’s when a crisis occurs that family relationships are often put to the test.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

divorce mediation with high-net-worth families: it is not just about the money
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
divorce mediation with high-net-worth families: it is not just about the money | Jennifer Safian

{2:48 minutes to read} 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.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article....

a painful plea from a child of divorce
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
a painful plea from a child of divorce | Jennifer Safian

{4:24 minutes to read} 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.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

the “art” of equitable distribution
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

{3:48 minutes to read} Divorce presents a multitude of challenges when it comes to the valuation and equitable distribution of an existing business, not the least of which is a business dealing in fine arts. For the purpose of this article, we shall define fine arts as paintings, sculptures, drawings, watercolors and graphics. Depending on the type of business, one may look at many different factors including:

  • Earnings;
  • Cash-flow analysis;
  • Competition;
  • Whether it’s a service;
  • The value of the assets/inventory, if applicable.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

divorce: dealing with all the stuff—part 3
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
divorce: dealing with all the stuff—part 3 | Jennifer Safian

{4 minutes to read} In Divorce: Dealing With All the StuffPart 1, we discussed how people going through separation and divorce may deal with dividing up the furniture and basics in the house. In Part 2, we dealt with items of value, such as an art collection and collectibles. In Part 3, we will talk about The Sentimentals—all those things that we keep by necessity, or just “because;” things that have no resale value but that mean so much to some of us.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

divorce: dealing with all the stuff—part 2
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
divorce: dealing with all the stuff—part 2| Jennifer Safian

{3 minutes to read} In the first article of this series regarding sharing the contents of your home when you are getting divorced, we discussed ways to divide The Basicsfurnishings that have no real resale value. In this second article, I discuss artwork and collectibles that may have resale value and will be considered in the distribution of your assets.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

divorce: dealing with all the stuff part 1
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
divorce: dealing with all the stuff part 1 | Jennifer Safian

{3 minutes to read}The divorce process is daunting in most situations, and often becomes even more overwhelming when the family home is filled with more than just the basics. With time, most homes are, and now the couple has to figure “who is going to take what.” It is my belief that organization and structure can take away some of that stress. So I have chosen to write this article and the following two articles with the hope that it may help couples when facing such tasks.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

a facelift without scars
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
a facelift without scars | Jennifer Safian

{2:30 minutes to read} The title sounds like one of those ubiquitous internet ads that make outrageous promises just to get you to click through, but in this case, it’s true! You will notice a little pulling and tucking, but don’t worry, there was no pain and no visible scars, just a new look. Why? Websites that were just fine a few years ago are now passé and must be revamped to accommodate the ever changing world of technology. In order to keep up with the increased use of mobile devices when searching the WEB, and facilitate access to our website, www.safianmediation.com decided to undergo a non-surgical face lift.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

life is like a giant mobile
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
life is like a giant mobile | Jennifer Safian

{3 minutes to read} Life is like a giant mobile; you disturb one piece and all the other pieces are affected. You take one piece away, and everything else falls apart. In the vernacular of today, “mobile” is another word for a cell phone, but I am not referring to a phone. I am referring to Alexander Calder, the American sculptor known as the originator of the mobile, a moving sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended colorful shapes that move in response to touch or air currents.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

i know i’m right! really, says who?
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
i know i’m right! really, says who? | Jennifer Safian

{3:00 minutes to read} People usually relate a story or an incident from their own perspective, and sometimes that same story can sound quite different depending on who the storyteller is. Here is a little anecdote that might amuse you:

I was standing on a crowded bus one day.  A woman was sitting in front of me talking, or rather yelling, on her cell phone. Two other women standing next to me and holding on to the straps, were having a conversation.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

divorce mediation: the art of serenity
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
divorce mediation: the art of serenity| Jennifer Safian

{3:30 minutes to read} I have two paintings hanging in my office: The first one is a confused black and white maze of crossed lines and perspectives by Madge Gill, born in England in 1882. The other, a pastel colored botanical elements, seemingly inspired by nature, was painted by Ana Zemankova born in the Czech Republic in 1908. Their art has no apparent similarities. These women lived in different countries, had no knowledge of each other, and no artistic training. They painted guided by their intense inner life, and today are considered “outsider” artists. A surprising element in their biographies is that they both reported a habit where they awoke daily around 4 a.m. and painted until around 7 a.m.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

the cat, the weasel and the little rabbit
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

{3:54 minutes to read}

One day, a weasel finds an abandoned rabbit hole.

Without hesitation, he appropriates the hole and makes it his home.

When the rabbit returns, he can’t enter any more.

This leads to a discussion between the rabbit and the weasel:

Which law would apply in this case?

The official legislation on property?

Finders keepers?

Survival of the fittest?

This story is the first part of a fable by De La Fontaine, one of the many fables I had to memorize during my school years in France!

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

blended families, who comes first?
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
blended families, who comes first?| Jennifer Safian

{3:42 minutes to read} In my previous article, Blended Families, How to Cope regarding new marriages following a divorce, I talked about many of the practical issues a couple may be faced with on a day-to-day basis when bringing minor children from previous relationships. I also gave some pointers as to how to deal with some financial issues and responsibilities within the home for all those involved. Today, I would like to address another important aspect of the blended family, the one around the question of allegiance.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

what a mediator can learn from mediation
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
what a mediator can learn from mediation | Jennifer Safian

{2:54 minutes to read} People often ask me why I became a divorce and family mediator. In many of my blogs I have explained how I wanted to help people going through one of the hardest times in their lives. Some of my answers went like this:

  • I went through a divorce myself, and realized mediation is a better process than litigation;
  • I believe I can well understand what couples are experiencing;
  • I hope to help divorcing families with children find a better way to move forward separately while still parenting their children together;
  • I want to help families resolve some of the conflicts that put them at odds with those they most care for.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

data security – an interview with Sean O’Rourke
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
data security – an interview with Sean O’Rourke | Jennifer Safian

{3:12 minutes to read} In our world of technology, often overwhelming to me and probably to many of you, we frequently hear the words “data security.” We are shopping and paying online, we are emailing documents to colleagues, clients, bankers, brokers and the like. I don’t know about you, but for myself, I think about security in passing and then quickly continue doing what I am doing. Big firms usually have in-house regulations regarding security but how do we, individuals or small business owners, protect ourselves as we continually increase our usage of cyberspace?

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

a space to connect
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
a space to connect | Jennifer Safian

{2:30 minutes to read} I was listening to a TED talk given by Hedy Schleifer, titled the Power of Connection. Hedy was speaking about the importance of a connection between oneself andothers, in a new or in an existing meaningful relationship. She also spoke about the difficulties we sometimes encounter in connecting with others, even when we already have a relationship with them, and why that happens. She described a visit she made to her mother who was living in an old age home. Her mother was sitting in a wheelchair and did not recognize her. Hedy was feeling angry at seeing her “hero” in this home and at this sad stage of her life. She then realized that she was not “visiting” her mother; she was only concerned with her own emotions.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

palliative care and divorce
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
palliative care and divorce | Jennifer Safian

A few weeks ago, I came across a TED talk on Palliative Care given in 2013 by Timothy Ihrig in Des Moines, Iowa. Palliative care helps people at the most vulnerable times of their lives, times when they are living with complex, serious health issues, or confronting the end of their lives. As I was listening to this moving presentation, I started thinking about mediation, its similarities with palliative care, and how as a mediator, I may also be a palliative care provider of sorts. I work with couples experiencing huge emotional distress as they face the end of their marriages. My hope is to help them reach the best possible outcomes: no aggressive measures, no attacks, rather a more positive and calming alternative,a reopening of communication, more dignity and respect for the other and for themselves as the doors to their lives together slowly close behind them.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

2016 resolutions
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
2016 resolutions | Jennifer Safian

“If you asked me for my New Year resolution, it would be to find out who I am.” – - Cyril Cusack {3:12 minutes to read} I came across this quote and thought it very fitting for the New Year.  The Greeks had it right with the maxim “Know thyself,” which was carved into Apollo’s temple at Delphi. At the beginning of 2015, I wrote a blog about the fact that I never make New Year’s resolutions. (If you did not have an opportunity to read it, click here.) Coming across this quote, however, made me think outside the box of the usual resolutions!

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

The Power of Reframing
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
The Power of Reframing | Jennifer Safian

{2:30 minutes to read} Coming from an artistic background, reframing for me meant putting a new frame around a painting, usually to enhance the painted image. So how does that apply to our work as facilitators of a conversation? Reframing refers to expressing what someone says in different words while being careful to maintain the content and spirit of what they were saying.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

Listening Does Not Mean Agreeing!
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Listening Does Not Mean Agreeing! | Jennifer Safian

{2:42 minutes to read} People often ask me, ”What is the most frequent cause of divorce? I believe they expect to hear something like “ an affair,” or “financial disagreements.” And while these can certainly trigger much distress in a marriage, my answer is “communication.” If the parties are communicating with an open mind and an open heart, being honest, and willing to listen carefully and truly understand each other, affairs or financial disagreements may not occur as often, or may be overcome. Remember that listening does not mean agreeing, but it is the first step towards good communication. I recently saw a great movie, 112 Weddings, a documentary made by the wedding photographer Doug Block, who wondered what became of some of the couples he had filmed on their wedding day. He tracked a few down and interviewed them, exploring with them themes of love and commitment through life’s challenges. He also juxtaposed flashbacks of their wedding days with scenes of their lives today, which makes the movie even more compelling.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

Debunking 5 Myths Stopping Couples from Starting Mediation
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Debunking 5 Myths Stopping Couples from Starting Mediation | Jennifer Safian

{3:54 minutes to read} Some people anticipating a separation or divorce think or may have heard through the grapevine, about necessary prerequisites to starting divorce mediation. You know how the grapevine is. You can’t rely on everything they say being correct. So I thought it would be helpful to clarify 5 of the most frequently heard mythical statements given as reasons for not being ready to start the mediation process.

Read Jennifer Safian's full article here...

goodtalk4parents
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
goodtalk4parents | Jennifer Safian

I recently attended a GOODTALK4PARENTS  workshop to help parents reduce the negative impact of conflict on themselves and on their children while developingpractical and effective communication skills. Brought by Shari Bornstein to FamilyKind, this is a co-parenting communication program modeled after the Connecticut P.E.A.C.E. program (Parents Equally Allied to Co-Parent Effectively). I asked Shari a few questions: When do parents need GOODTALK4PARENTS?

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

guilty! guilty! guilty!
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
guilty! guilty! guilty! | Jennifer Safian

{2:48 minutes to read} Judging . . .

  • Why do some who have never experienced divorce look down on those who have, as if they are lesser human beings?
  • Why do some family members reject their own when they are going through divorce?
  • Why do some of those we thought were our better friends, let us down when we are going through divorce?
  • Why do some of our children feel embarrassed telling their schoolmates that their parents are getting divorced?

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

the dog and the bone
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
the dog and the bone | Jennifer Safian

{1:28 minutes to read} In Aesop’s story “The Dog and the Bone,” a dog carrying a bone over a bridge looks down into the water and sees its own reflection. Taking it for another dog carrying a better bone, the dog opens its mouth to bark at the “other” and in doing so drops its own bone into the river. The moral of this story is that the one ‘Who all coveteth, oft he loseth all.’

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

hey, johnny, tell mom that . .
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
hey, johnny, tell mom that . . | Jennifer Safian

{3:54 minutes to read} Johnny’s parents have been divorced for a couple of years and are having huge difficulties communicating. They are presently seeing a mediator to help them with the communication issue and exchange of information regarding their son’s schedule and activities. Here are 2 different scenarios of telephone conversations between Johnny and his Dad while Johnny was spending the weekend with his Mom.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

can i move out without a signed divorce agreement?
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
can i move out without a signed divorce agreement? | Jennifer Safian

{3:06 minutes to read} One of the more frequently asked questions I hear is: “If I move out before we have a signed agreement, will I be accused of abandonment? Am I doing something illegal? People around me say that if I do that, I can lose access to my children as well as my rights to my property.” Since New York State became a no-fault divorce state in October 2010, “abandonment” is not a grounds for divorce.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

congratulations? or condolences?
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
congratulations? or condolences? | Jennifer Safian

{3:30 minutes to read} A close friend tells you she/he is getting married. Your first words would probably be “Congratulations, I am so happy for you!” A close friend tells you that a loved one just died. You would probably say, “I am so sorry for your loss.” However, if that same friend  tells you he/she is getting a divorce, what do you offer? “Congratulations” or “Condolences”?

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

if you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask!
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
 if you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask! | Jennifer Safian

{2:54 minutes to read} In working with people going through divorce, I often meet couples where, for a variety of reasons, one spouse has traveled through the marriage unaware of the whole financial picture. This is especially true if that spouse was being a stay-at-home parent and not working. It’s not that the “bookkeeping” spouse was trying to hide anything, it’s just the way the dynamic was set up from the beginning of the relationship. I remember my school days when I remained quiet, afraid to ask questions about things I did not understand. I also remember times when I thought that I really did not need to know. Someone else was taking care of things for me, and I could just sit back.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

once a child of divorce, always a child of divorce
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
once a child of divorce, always a child of divorce | Jennifer Safian

{2:54 minutes to read} Children and adults alike whose parents have been divorced seem to carry that label with them along with other labels, such as child from a broken family or from a broken home, which define them. Whether their parents’ divorce was amicable “enough” or acrimonious, they are still “children of divorce.” I recently met with Liz Morrison, LCSW, a therapist who works with children and their parents during these difficult transitions in their lives, and I asked her to enlighten us with her knowledge.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

an ICU with a view
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
an ICU with a view | Jennifer Safian

{3:24 minutes to read} Following a complication during a simple medical procedure that I had a while back, I ended up a “prisoner” in a cardiac ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for a few days. (No worry, I am doing fine!) At the onset of the crisis, I could barely focus on anything around me. I was overwhelmed by:

  • IV drips
  • Beeping monitors
  • Medications
  • Endless numbers of nurses, residents and doctors that assailed me with tests, questions and examinations

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...