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

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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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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Thoughts on Thanksgiving and Gratitude
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Thoughts on Thanksgiving and Gratitude | Susan Ingram

{4:36 minutes to read} Here I am, sitting at my computer on the night before the Thanksgiving holiday, trying to pull together my divergent thoughts and find the appropriate words to write this blog on the subject of Gratitude. I’m finding this task especially challenging this year, given the events over the past two weeks, beginning with the terror attacks in Paris. Everything we hear and read in the news seems to underscore the violence, despair and fear that exist throughout the world. On a global scale, it’s hard for me, and I’m sure many others, not to feel overwhelmed by the sheer negativity of these events.

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Children and Chronic Illness: Type 1 Diabetes
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Children and Chronic Illness: Type 1 Diabetes | Susan Ingram

{4:30 minutes to read} The NY Times recently published a detailed article on how school systems in the U.S. are failing to adequately care for students with Type 1 diabetes. What an eye-opener this was! And it’s because I know quite a bit about this subject that it was even more of an eye-opener for me. How did I come to be so knowledgeable about this issue? Here is a little background information...

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Curls of Wisdom: Trusting in the Process
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Curls of Wisdom: Trusting in the Process | Susan Ingram

{3:06 minutes to read} I have naturally curly hair. Of course, in my youth I always wanted long straight locks. The type that when you flirtingly tilted your head, your hair would gracefully cascade to the side. Or that you could sweep into a beautiful chignon with just a few flicks of your wrist. But, alas, that was not to be. Thank goodness, I came to terms with this by my early ‘30s, when I started to really enjoy my natural curls.

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Can Conflict Be Viewed as an Opportunity?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Can Conflict Be Viewed as an Opportunity? | Susan Ingram

{3:06 minutes to read} I can just hear my readers muttering under their breath, “Oh no, there she goes again – talking about how wonderful conflict is.” In fact, several months ago I wrote a blog entitled “Can Conflict Be Good?” In that article, I spoke about productive versus unproductive conflict. For productive conflict to occur, typically there needs to be a degree of flexibility and an openness to understanding the needs of the other party(ies).

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Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting: Which Approach Is Best for Your Family?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting: Which Approach Is Best for Your Family? | Susan Ingram

{3:02 minutes to read} In my last blog, I talked about some of the challenges that separating and divorcing couples face when they are putting together a parenting plan for their children. Now, I would like to explore the two basic approaches that parents can take when creating their parenting plans. One is referred to as Cooperative Parenting and the other as Parallel Parenting. Click here to read Susan Ingram's full article...

Divorcing Couples and the Parenting Plan Balancing Act
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Divorcing Couples and the Parenting Plan Balancing Act | Susan Ingram

{3:18 minutes to read} For separating and divorcing parents, often the biggest concern they have is how their children will fare through this difficult process and going forward. While none of us can look into our crystal ball and predict the future, it is clear from research that the #1 factor that causes harm to the children of divorcing couples is the amount of conflict between their parents. The more intense the conflict, the greater the likelihood of harm to the children.

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Why Isn’t Divorce Mediation More Popular?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Why Isn’t Divorce Mediation More Popular? | Susan Ingram

{3:54 minutes to read} I believe that divorce mediation should be the first choice for the majority of couples who are separating or divorcing. So then, why isn’t the divorce mediation process used more frequently by couples? I’ve been pondering this question for a number of years now. My role as chair of the Public Awareness Committee of our statewide NY State Council on Divorce Mediation has helped inform me on this subject, as our organization has tried to bridge the knowledge gap for divorcing couples.

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What’s So Special About a Roundabout?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
What’s So Special About a Roundabout? | Susan Ingram

{3:02 minutes to read} My mind has been focused on “roundabouts” for the past several weeks. This might sound strange, but there’s really a good reason for it. First of all, I happened upon an intriguing article in the NY Times about a month ago on the increasing use of roundabouts in the U.S. And then, over the past two weeks I’ve been vacationing in Europe, which is the ‘birthplace’ of the modern roundabout. So I’ve had an opportunity to see and enjoy many of these engineering designs up close during my travels.

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

{2:54 minutes to read} Recently, I came upon the Chinese character for the word “Listening.” I was fascinated to learn that the character is comprised of 5 separate symbols related to listening. The meanings of those 5 symbols are discussed below. Ears: Since our ears are the part of our bodies that enables us to hear sound, they are the most obvious component of listening and typically the first thing we think of.

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Mediation and the Decision to Separate or Divorce
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
Mediation and the Decision to Separate or Divorce | Susan Ingram

{3:10 minutes to read}  When couples first come to me as their mediator, they know that their marriage or relationship is not working and that they do not want to continue together as a couple.

  • Some tell me they want to proceed to divorce as quickly as possible;
  • Others are more comfortable working out the details of a legal separation and waiting to see how that goes before they decide whether, or when, to follow through with the divorce.

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The Children’s Bill of Rights
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Authored by , re: Family, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
The Children’s Bill of Rights | Susan Ingram

Many of the couples I see in my divorce mediation practice have children. Not surprisingly, I find that some parents are more able than others to keep their conflict separate from their relationship with the children. Understandably, this is no small feat, given all of the emotions, anxieties and fears that can arise during this challenging transition from married to separated/divorced.

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A Survey Reveals a Huge Disconnect for Couples
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Authored by , re: Family, Family & Divorce, on .
A Survey Reveals a Huge Disconnect for Couples | Susan Ingram

I heard a startling fact on the radio the other day that really got my attention. The announcer declared that a recently released Fidelity Investments Study had found that “while 72% of couples say they communicate well, 43% of couples cannot correctly identify how much their partner makes.” (For the Study, couples were defined as those who were married or living together in a long-term relationship.)

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Mediation and the Tale of the Single Lemon
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Mediation and the Tale of the Single Lemon | Susan Ingram

{2.48 minutes to read} In my last blog article, I described my frustration with lawyers and other professionals who undervalue the skills and experience that go into making a good mediator. As I continued to contemplate this subject, I remembered an excellent “story” I had been told early in my mediation training days to illustrate one of the key principles of mediation. I’ve dubbed the story, “The Tale of the Single Lemon,” although I’ve heard it told with an orange or other fruit as the main focus.

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