Author Archives: Katherine Miller

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About Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller is a family law attorney & owner of her own Collaborative Law & Mediation Offices in Westchester, New York.
EMAIL: katherine@westchesterfamilylaw.com
BIO: About Katherine
PHONE: 914-246-2954

Divorce Isn’t Just About the Money
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

{2:02 minutes to read} Divorce isn't just about the money - yet the money represents many underlying issues related to the significant transition from being married to establishing a good relationship with the world outside of the marriage. Many of the people who talk to a lawyer about divorce have concerns about many issues. However, money is not usually at the top of their list. The conflict over money is often a representation of other underlying issues such as:

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Happiness: 90% Comes from Within
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

{2:30 minutes to read} Your own internal processing of your external world is what determines 90% of your happiness. This realization makes all the difference when people consider how they will emotionally process impending divorce. As I work with divorce clients, they often answer initial questions about their divorce quite angrily and with nasty overtones. Over a period of time, sometimes in as little as a month, some people turn that anger around in an effort to make the situation better for their

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EMPATHY MATTERS OR WHAT MATTERS MORE: EMPATHY VS. SYMPATHY?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

{3:30 minutes to read} I believe in understanding. So much so, that I work and teach in the "Understanding-Based Model" of conflict resolution. The basic concept of the Understanding-Based Model is that before we can effectively seek resolution of a conflict, we seek to better understand the problem and both parties, and their point of view. We want to understand as fully as possible:

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

{4:30 minutes to read} "If both people are right, why does it feel so wrong?" Conflict is hard; family conflict especially so. Sometimes clients ask, "How can you spend your life dealing with this kind of conflict all day, every day?" I often answer that it's much easier for me because the conflicts are not my own. It's not about my life, it's about the client's life.

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9 OUT OF 10 MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS RECOMMEND NOT LITIGATING FOR THEIR CLIENTS FACING DIVORCE
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Okay, I didn't actually facilitate the survey, but if I did the statistics would probably be higher. Every mental health professional I have ever spoken to about this topic agrees: If you are going to get divorced, do it in a way that isn't going to destroy who you are, and who your kids are. People choose to litigate because they can't fathom the idea of coming together to come apart . . . or because they don't know their options.

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In Response To My Last Post…
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

My last blog post on the place of humanity in the law seems to have touched a nerve. Across various LinkedIn groups, many people responded strongly and weighed in with varying views on the importance of maintaining humanity in the context of the law. Isn't maintaining humanity the original reason to have laws in the first place? A power struggle - Cain killing Abel - is not humane, although it is certainly human.

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Does Humanity Have A Place In The Law?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Should the law support what is important to us in our lives or should we resolve conflicts based on case law and statutes? As part of a recent mediation, the correspondence between attorneys was sent to me as part of the file. One attorney letter stands out in my mind. First, the attorney had written a really beautiful description of his client's perspective on the situation from that person's human perspective--from their emotional place-- and with no demands; he simply stated what the client was hoping for.

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CONFLICT RESOLUTION: CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Find some objectivity in order to translate conflict into problem solving.

I have an old and dear friend who I value for her willingness to ask me the hard questions and tell me the truth no matter what. Of course, I appreciate the support of all my friends but I know I can trust this friend not to try to make me feel better and to help me solve the problem.

I think I owe the same service to my clients. Of course, people in conflict often feel outraged by the behavior of the other person. Right versus wrong is a seductive path and the underlying idea under many social phenomenon from team sports to Law and Order. Right versus wrong doesn't help people solve problems.

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PUT ON YOUR GLASSES: CLARITY IS IN THE EYE OF THE DIVORCEE
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

When I graduated from college, I moved to Washington to live with my boyfriend. I decided it wasn't going to work and I drove back to NYC. It was the first time I'd ever made the drive alone. I drove back at night and realized that in order to really make sure I knew where I was going and to see the signs indicating the way, I had to pull into the right lane, slow down and turn on my bright lights. It occurred to me that it probably shouldn't be that way.

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YOU’RE GOING TO SETTLE. BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU HIRE.
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

In New York, 97% of divorce cases are settled before a judge makes a decision after a trial. That's a fact. All good attorneys say they settle most of their cases and, of course, that's true. Look at the statistics. But in the traditional litigation setting, people often settle because they're scared. Scared that the judge will decide against them or that they will run out of money or that they will lose control of their lives. The fear is often that, "If I don't decide this now, if I don't give into this right now, the judge is going to make a decision I may not like."

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THE INTERSECTION OF ESTATE PLANNING AND DIVORCE
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Think through the impact of your divorce on your estate plan, so that the two pieces work seamlessly together, instead of being at odds with each other. Many times, people come into divorce with an estate plan that never addressed the potential for the marriage to come to an end before the death of one partner. Actually, the estate plan usually does address the potential for divorce, but it does so in "boilerplate" language, and the parties are often unaware of the impact.

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3 WAYS TO AVOID BEING AN EVIL STEPMOTHER
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Fairy Tales have taught us that stepmothers are harsh taskmasters and purveyors of poisoned apples. Truthfully, the step parent relationship is a challenging one. Contrary to fictional lore, embarking on a new stepparent relationship is a honorable and worthwhile venture. Keeping these 3 guidelines in mind will improve the possibility of adding a positive additional adult relationship and avoid creating an "evil" stepmother (or evil stepfather).

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LIFE AFTER DIVORCE – IT’S NOT SO SCARY
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

People's stories are so incredible.

Their lives are overflowing with drama, with poignant moments, with scary and wonderful things, with astonishing stories...who needs the movies when life is so interesting already?

Still, a dramatic plotline is not typically something most people look for in their own lives, especially if it's about divorce.

Divorce shouldn't hijack your life. It should not define you.

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UNTANGLING THE “WHAT IFS” OF YOUR DIVORCE AGREEMENT
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

One of the things collaborative professionals and mediators do is help people think through all of the elements of the problem so there is room for resolution. Sometimes when people come into a mediation or Collaborative process, the problems they face are so complex, so compressed and entwined that they seem unsolvable in their current form.

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CUSTODY: WHEN DIVORCING PARENTS CAN’T DECIDE
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

What leads parents down that path? Are they to blame, or is the system? Internally, are these people inherently flawed? Is there something about their personal battle that blinds them to the damage they are doing to their children and themselves? Is there something about that battle that is so compelling that they can't stop themselves?

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GORILLAS DON’T MAKE GOOD LAWYERS
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Clients often believe that when they hire a divorce attorney, they need someone to fight for them; to be tough; to be a gorilla on their side.

If you hire a gorilla, that means you will be working with a gorilla. The attorney isn't going to be a pussy cat when dealing with you.

At first it seems really good. The attorney is very friendly, helpful and amenable. Later, if you have a disagreement, a misunderstanding, or you can't reach them and you're unhappy, the person you are dealing with is that very same gorilla you hired to fight for you. Likely, that attorney will not be as sensitive to your needs as you might like.

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NAVIGATING THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Sometimes people wonder how the interdisciplinary nature of the collaborative process works, and what role each of the professionals has in it to manage the variety of issues that surface during divorce. The way I see it, one aspect of divorce is the untangling of a variety of relationships - legal, financial, emotional, relational, parental.

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WHO DOES COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE WORK FOR?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Many couples going through a separation seem to think that because there is so much conflict in their relationship, a collaborative divorce will be impossible and traditional litigation will be their only option. Often, this is not the case. In fact, the collaborative process can be particularly beneficial to both partners in cases where the level of acrimony is very high.

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WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MEDIATOR
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

The Paradoxical Theory of Change says: That change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not. Being a mediator means serving as a neutral facilitator for challenging conversations. When I completed my first mediation training in 1990, I used the mediation mindset to change the tone and tenor of negotiations that I was performing in the litigation setting. As I was often working with families, I wanted to focus on what was important to them rather than what was important to a stranger in a black robe. The conversations turned from being strategic legal conversations to problem-solving sessions.

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WHAT WILL YOUR DIVORCE STORY BE?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

When going through a divorce, you have a unique opportunity to craft the rest of your life - to write your own divorce story. You have a choice to act in integrity with your own core values as a person - or to be in the grip of your own emotions - fear, anger, anxiety. You can choose to be proactive or reactive. Those who make the best of a difficult transition, do so because they make a decision to be the best person they can be, regardless of events, emotions, or another's actions.

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