Author Archives: Susan Ingram

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About Susan Ingram

Susan Ingram is a Divorce Mediator and Attorney at her own firm: Susan Ingram Mediation & Coaching in New York, New York.
EMAIL: ingram@susan-ingram.com
BIO: About Susan

Mediator Impartiality: Is It Possible?
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Authored by , re: MEDIATION, on .
Mediator Impartiality: Is It Possible? | Susan Ingram

{3:24 minutes to read}  Two of the most frequently read articles I’ve posted on my blog have addressed the subject of mediator impartiality or neutrality. While both articles were published nearly three years ago, this subject is as relevant and important today as it was then. And after re-reading these articles, I don’t think I could say it any better now. So, without further ado, here’s a link to the first article entitled “Can a Mediator Really be Neutral or Impartial”?

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Divorce Financial Considerations with a Special Needs Child
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Divorce Financial Considerations with a Special Needs Child | Susan Ingram

{4:18 minutes to read} In my last blog, I discussed the governmental benefits that are available to a child or young adult with special needs. When I meet with my couples in divorce mediation, I need to first make sure they understand the public benefits their child is entitled to and then also discuss how these benefits relate to the many expenses (some covered by governmental benefits, some not) that arise when parents are raising a special needs child.

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Governmental Benefits and the Special Needs Child
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Authored by , re: Family, Family & Divorce, on .
 Governmental Benefits and the Special Needs Child | Susan Ingram

{2:48 minutes to read} In my next blog I will be discussing the various financial issues that affect the parents of a special needs child who are divorcing. Before doing that, however, I first need to describe the basic framework of governmental services and benefits that are provided to children and young adults with disabilities.

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Parenting Arrangements for Special Needs Children
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, on .
Parenting Arrangements for Special Needs Children | Susan Ingram

{3:32 minutes to read} When I’m mediating with parents who have a special needs child, I view myself as being on a “fact finding mission.” What do I mean by that? In addition to performing my other mediator responsibilities, my role is to gather as much information as I can about the couple’s special needs child, and how that child’s disability relates to each of the parents’ lives, as well as to any other siblings in the family. Clearly, these family relationships are often more complex than families without a special needs child.

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Special Needs Children and Parenting Discussions
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, Parenting, on .
Special Needs Children and Parenting Discussions | Susan Ingram

{3:06 minutes to read} When couples with normal-developing kids are separating or divorcing, we can spend quite a bit of time during mediation discussing their parenting arrangements. Among the many subjects that need to be addressed are: what the weekday and weekend parenting schedule will look like; how scheduling for holidays and summer vacations will be handled; and in what ways the scheduling may need to reflect the specific work circumstances of the parents.

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Divorcing Parents and Their Special Needs Children
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Authored by , re: Family, Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, Parenting, on .
Divorcing Parents and Their Special Needs Children | Susan Ingram

{3:12 minutes to read}  I just finished a mediation session with a divorcing couple who have a special needs child, in addition to two typically-developing children. While divorces involving special needs children are often complicated and involve more issues than the “normal” divorce, I find helping these families to be especially rewarding.

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I’m Right — and You’re Wrong!
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Authored by , re: MEDIATION, on .
 I’m Right — and You’re Wrong! | Susan Ingram

{2:36 minutes to read}  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.

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What are the 4 Elements of Divorce?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, on .
What are the 4 Elements of Divorce? | Susan Ingram

{3:30 minutes to read} 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.

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The Gray Divorce – Part 2
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, on .
The Gray Divorce – Part 2 | Susan Ingram

{4:12 minutes to read}  In my last blog, I wrote about the general phenomenon of the Gray Divorce. This trend is continuing to grow as adults in their 50s, 60s and older divorce their spouses, frequently after many years of marriage. There are unique issues that need to be addressed by a couple that decides to divorce at this later stage of life.

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What is Meant by a Gray Divorce? Part 1
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
What is Meant by a Gray Divorce? Part 1 | Susan Ingram

{2:24 minutes to read} You may have heard the term Gray Divorce and wondered what it meant. Typically, it refers to older adults who, in their 50s, 60s and older, have divorced their spouses. Research reveals that the divorce rate for this age group has spiked significantly over the past twenty years. Two decades ago, adults 50 and older accounted for about 10% of divorces. Today, the divorce rate for this group has risen to nearly 25%, with half of those divorces occurring in long-term first marriages.

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The Importance of Empathy
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
 The Importance of Empathy | Susan Ingram

{3:54 minutes to read} In my last blog, entitled Whatever Happened to Civility, I discussed some of the basic tenets that hopefully form the framework of our relationships with others. These include: Acknowledging others; Listening; Respecting others; Being inclusive; Accepting and giving praise; and Speaking kindly.

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3 Common Myths About Divorce Mediation
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Authored by , re: MEDIATION, on .

{3:24 minutes to read}  Recently, I wrote a blog entitled “Divorce Mediation and the Pigeonhole Effect.” In that article, I spoke about the way divorce mediation has unjustifiably been “pigeonholed” by some professionals as being an effective approach for couples in conflict only in very limited situations. Now I’d like to expand upon my earlier discussion by identifying what I see as 3 of the most common misconceptions regarding mediation.

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Untangling Lives: The Divorce Mediation Process
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, on .
Untangling Lives: The Divorce Mediation Process | Susan Ingram

{3:48 minutes to read} Divorce mediation, as opposed to a contested divorce (in which each spouse hires an attorney and fights it out through the court system), is often a better choice for couples. When a couple decides to divorce, they need to begin the process of “disentangling” from each other. They can either approach this task in a humane and constructive way (which mediation supports), or they can let it degenerate into increased anger and animosity (which litigation often results in).

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Divorce Mediation and the Communication Trap
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, on .
Divorce Mediation and the Communication Trap | Susan Ingram

{3:06 minutes to read} Earlier this year, one of my mediation couples was in the middle of a discussion as to how they were going to divide their financial assets. They had agreed to divide their bank and investment accounts equally and each retain their own retirement accounts. They then turned to the subject of the annual bonus the husband was scheduled to receive from his employer at the end of December.

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Helping Parents Raise Well-Adjusted Children
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, on .
 Helping Parents Raise Well-Adjusted Children | Susan Ingram

{3:12 minutes to read} The NY Times published a recent opinion, entitled “To Help Kids Thrive, Coach Their Parents,” which I found especially interesting. The author, Paul Tough, referenced a number of studies that have been conducted over the years with respect to children’s development and well-being, demonstrating the positive role that coaching for parents can have in their children’s development.

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Divorcing Parents and Their Emancipated Children
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Authored by , re: Miscellaneous, on .
 Divorcing Parents and Their Emancipated Children | Susan Ingram

{2:36 minutes to read} If divorcing parents have children, the divorce law of the state in which they reside will determine the amount of child support that must be paid for the children’s basic and additional expenses. The state law will also specify until what age the parents are required to support their children.

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Spring Cleaning and My New Website
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Spring Cleaning and My New Website | Susan Ingram

{2:36 minutes to read} I enjoy creating rituals for certain events or times in my life. For many people, including myself, spring is often a time to clean up, certainly in our personal lives. My old website had been in existence for over 7 years, so this year I decided to extend the clean-up to my website, and to roll it out this spring. For sure, much has changed since that time, both in my professional life and also with respect to advancements in technology.

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Back to Basics: Divorce Mediation
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
 Back to Basics: Divorce Mediation | Laura Bonarrigo

{4:12 minutes to read} What’s so special about divorce mediation? Plenty! Check out these Questions and Answers and you’ll understand why mediation may be the best choice for a divorcing couple. What is divorce mediation? It is a voluntary settlement process used by couples who want to separate or divorce. It enables couples to make their own decisions concerning their future lives apart – as to their children, their finances, and other important matters.

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Divorce Mediation and the Pigeonhole Effect
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Divorce Mediation and the Pigeonhole Effect | Susan Ingram

{2:36 minutes to read} Often people, especially divorce litigators, have a tendency to “pigeonhole” divorce mediation as being only effective in limited situations. For example, I recently attended a panel discussion presented by the Family and Divorce Mediation Council, an organization of divorce mediators in the greater New York area, to which I belong. The subject was the Anatomy of a Divorce Litigation. The panel consisted of 3 individuals—a judge, a court attorney referee, and an attorney whose practice focuses solely on contested divorces (that is, those that are litigated).

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Are You Sure You’re Really Listening?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Are You Sure You’re Really Listening? | Susan Ingram

{3:00 minutes to read} This subject, Listening, is one that is near and dear to my heart. True communication requires meaningful conversation and dialogue between people. The cornerstone of that is Listening. My title harkens back to another blog I wrote several months ago, entitled “Are You Really Listening?” In that blog, I described the five separate symbols that comprise the Chinese character for the word Listening—the symbols for ears, eyes, mind, heart and undivided attention.

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Taking the First Step Toward Divorce
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Taking the First Step Toward Divorce | Susan Ingram

{2:54 minutes to read} Rarely, when I see a couple for our first mediation session, do I find they’re in the same “place” emotionally regarding the end of their marriage. That’s not surprising, when you think about it. The principal reason marriages fail is due to inadequate or faulty communication. This lack of communication only worsens as the chasm between the couple grows ever greater.

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Do You Need a Consulting Attorney in Divorce Mediation?
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Authored by , re: Miscellaneous, on .
Do You Need a Consulting Attorney in Divorce Mediation? | Susan Ingram

{3:12 minutes to read} I just had a prospective client call me (I’ll call her Kate, and her husband Doug) to ask about divorce mediation. She told me I was highly recommended by another client of mine, and that she and her husband really wanted to mediate their divorce, but that she needed to consult with a divorce attorney first. When I asked why she felt that way, she replied, “All of my friends tell me I need to see a divorce attorney to know what my rights are.”

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Divorce Mediation: Putting Together the Pieces of a Puzzle
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Divorce Mediation: Putting Together the Pieces of a Puzzle | Susan Ingram

{2:30 minutes to read} When I first meet with my mediation clients I explain that, through the course of our sessions, they will be making decisions concerning many important issues, including:

  • Dividing the funds in their retirement accounts
  • Sharing parenting time with their children
  • Paying child support and other expenses for the children
  • Keeping the marital home or selling it
  • Paying maintenance (alimony) to a spouse
  • Filing for divorce immediately, or waiting for a period of time

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Putting Post-Divorce Mediation to Good Use
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Putting Post-Divorce Mediation to Good Use | Susan Ingram

{3:12 minutes to read} Once my couples have made their various decisions during our mediation sessions, I proceed to draft their settlement agreement. This is the document that memorializes everything they’re agreed upon. It’s important for the agreement to be as detailed as possible, to avoid problems in the future. Yet, especially when a couple will be living under the agreement for many years (such as when they have young children), it also needs to provide some flexibility for future changes.

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Finding the Parenting Plan That Is the “Right Fit”
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Finding the Parenting Plan That Is the “Right Fit” | Susan Ingram

{2:48 minutes to read} I received a call earlier this week from Jane*, a potential mediation client. During our chat, I proceeded to describe the mediation process and the issues we would be addressing. When I asked Jane if she had any specific concerns she would like me to address, she revealed that she was worried about the tentative parenting arrangement she had worked out with her husband for their 5-year-old son, Benjamin*.

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Common Bonds Between Mediation and Hostage Negotiation
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Common Bonds Between Mediation and Hostage Negotiation | Susan Ingram

{2:43 minutes to read} I recently attended a symposium in New York City that was presented by the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation. The first presenter, Lt. Jack Cambria, retired from the NYPD after 33 years of service. His final and most important position was that of chief hostage negotiator for NYPD’s elite hostage negotiation team. His talk, entitled “Lessons on Conflict Resolution from an NYPD Hostage Negotiator,” revealed many common approaches and goals between our two professions. Treat people with respect

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