Category: Family & Divorce

Are You My Mother?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

I have always been fascinated by families. They drive us crazy and they keep us sane. They are the rock upon which we stand, and can be the bane of our existence. We all know what it is like to be somebody’s child, and many of us know what it is like to be somebody’s parent or somebody’s sibling. But each of our experiences is so particular. So different. This article takes a closer look at 2 very basic questions – What is a family? What is a parent? These may seem like easy questions, but what seems obvious is often not. In the homes of people across the country, parent-child relationships arise from biology, adoption, and custom. I have worked with adoptive parents, single parents, step-parents, foster parents, same-sex parents and teens who become guardians for their younger siblings. I have worked with Fresh Air Fund families who end up adopting, and with parents whose rights have been terminated yet end up raising their children after all. I have been awed by people who will step up to the plate when their nieces and nephews and grandchildren need help. All of these children deserve the love and protection of the grown ups who care for them, and all of these different configurations create family relationships. Yet the law tends to lag behind the pace of real life — not all of these families are legally recognized as such. Parenthood is considered a fundamental Constitutional right — so this is an important legal question.

Click here to read Joy Rosenthal's full article...

“Someday” and “Maybe” Numbers: The Challenge of Dividing Retirement Assets Part 3
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, Family & Divorce, on .
“Someday” and “Maybe” Numbers: The Challenge of Dividing Retirement Assets Part 3 | Rachel Alexander

{4:00 minutes to read} In Part 2, we discussed marital vs non-marital retirement assets and how some of those assets require an actuary or other expert to figure out the “present value” before the asset can be divided.

We now arrive here: How do folks equitably divide these assets? Particularly because the present value doesn’t actually exist in a divisible form. It’s a theoretical, projected number!

Below are some popular options:

QDRO (NJ QDRO Overview)

A court order goes to the plan administrator, directing it to divide the asset in the way set forth in the order. This method avoids any tax consequences pursuant to this division at the time it is made.

Click here to read Rachel Alexander's full article...

What You Should Consider When Mediating College Expenses – Part 2
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What You Should Consider When Mediating College Expenses - Part 2 | Clare Piro

{3:18 minutes to read} In Part 1 of this series, we looked at parental considerations in relation to a child’s college education. In Part 2, we will define typical college expenses and look at limits on what a parent will contribute. How do you define “college expenses? Is it just tuition, room and board, or do you want to consider other typical expenses that will be due?

Click here to read Clare Piro's full article...

You have 5 Grandmothers? That’s impossible!
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You have 5 Grandmothers? That’s impossible! | Jennifer Safian

{2:30 minutes to read} As we grow older, possibly wiser, or maybe it’s just that we have more experience, I realize that we are still not able to view situations from the perspective of the younger generations. They never knew the rotary phone and are astonished when we say: ”No, we did not have cell phones at age 10.” But, they do have a capacity for acceptance and resilience that often amazes me. I met a 10-year-old child the other day who has 5 grandmothers! When I asked him to tell me a little more about who they were, he very simply explained to me that they included his mother’s and his father’s mothers, and his grandfather’s second and third wives. He explained that Poppy and Nana (his father’s parents) had been divorced, that Poppy got married “twice more” and divorced “twice more,”— hence his third and fourth grandmothers—and then Poppy got married again so that makes five! (Really, Poppy??)

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

Building a Lasting Relationship: Not Just Another Algorithm
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Building a Lasting Relationship: Not Just Another Algorithm | Sandy Balick

{4:24 minutes to read} Matrimonial mediators and lawyers look on in wonder at the financial wreckage that so often forms the final exclamation point of a marriage. One wonders whether in an age of so-called “predictive analytics” there isn’t some sort of litmus test to help couples understand their prospects as long-term marriage partners. Well, wonder no more, because such a thing actually may exist. A recent post in Marketwatch highlights a joint study by The Federal Reserve Board, the Brookings Institution and UCLA, which concludes that credit scores may be highly predictive of the possibility of divorce.

Click here to read Sandy Balick's full article...

What is a Waiver of Estate Rights?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, Trusts, Estates & Elder law, on .
What is a Waiver of Estate Rights? | Deborah E. Kaminetzky

In New York, your spouse has something called a right of election. What this means is that no matter what you want to leave them in your will, they have a right to $50,000 plus one third of your estate. So for instance if you die with a will leaving your spouse out because perhaps you did not update your will or you purposely left your spouse out for whatever reason, they will still get a share of your estate. If you die without a will, your spouse is entitled to even more – $50,000 and half your estate.

Click here to read Deborah E. Kaminetzky's full article...

How Do I Tell My Spouse I Want a Divorce?
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, on .
 How Do I Tell My Spouse I Want a Divorce? | Susan Ingram

{4:24 minutes to read} Not infrequently, when someone first calls me to discuss the possibility of divorce mediation, they will mention that they have not yet brought up the subject with their spouse. The caller (the initiating spouse) typically describes a marriage that has not been good for some time; the marriage no longer works for him or her and it needs to come to an end.

Click here to read Susan Ingram's full article...

Parental Alienation—Bringing Conspiracy Theories into the Home
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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been in the news lately, and it’s not just for the warped claims he makes on his website and television show “Info Wars.” (Outlets which regularly disseminate Jones’ claims that “9/11 was an inside job”; the school shooting in Newtown, CT was a hoax; and that the government can control the weather and use it against its people.) Instead, Jones has been making headlines because of a custody battle with his ex-wife, Kelly Nichols, who is the mother of his three children.

Click here to read Andrea Vacca's full article...

Why’s It SO HARD for People to Finish [Divorce]?
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Why’s It SO HARD for People to Finish [Divorce]? | Katherine Miller

{5:00 minutes to read} One thing that is a very well known professional phenomenon is that, when people get toward the end of a negotiation, something comes up. Usually, a relatively small something becomes very emotionally significant to the parties that stops them from settling, right before the end. I remember, as an example, the first case I ever went to try, decades ago. It was a pretty big case. There were three children and a lot of real property. We had settled the entire thing and were about to go into the courtroom to put the Stipulation of Settlement onto the record.

Click here to read Katherine Miller's full article...

All Quiet On The Western Front?
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All Quiet On The Western Front? | Ada Hasloecher

{3:48 minutes to read} The World War I masterpiece All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque was not required reading when I was in high school. I was intrigued to tackle it recently as a result of a reference in another novel I recently finished. Oh my. I have not been able to shake its profound impact on me since reading it over a month ago.

Click here to read Ada Hasloecher's full article...

“Someday” and “Maybe” Numbers: The Challenge of Dividing Retirement Assets – Part 2
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, on .
“Someday” and “Maybe” Numbers: The Challenge of Dividing Retirement Assets – Part 2 by Rachel Alexander

{4:00 minutes to read} Just because we determine a value for something does not mean we divide it!Often spouses are concerned that the mere mention of an asset puts it on the auction block and forfeits their exclusive rights to it. Not so!

Getting a comprehensive picture and value of ALL assets is an important part of creating a solid settlement agreement. An agreement should even specify assets whose separate nature is undisputed, with the other party waiving any rights, title or interest thereto.

Click here to read Rachel Alexander's full article...

Age Appropriate Parenting Plans
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Age Appropriate Parenting Plans | Daniel R. Burns

{3:30 minutes to read} At the 2017 Annual Conference for the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation, I heard from someone who has studied custody arrangements and determined what works best for children when their parents are no longer living together. According to University of Virginia Professor Robert E. Emery, Ph.D. who has either conducted or reviewed a variety of studies over the past thirty years, there is no one parenting plan that works for children of all ages. His conclusions:

  • Joint legal custody and shared decision-making are best for children;
  • Children tend to “attach” to one parent; and
  • Parents should adjust their parenting schedule to meet the needs of their children as they grow and mature.

Click here to read Daniel R. Burns' full article...

Mediation for Couples Separating but Never Married
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Mediation for Couples Separating but Never Married | Jennifer Safian

{3:54 minutes to read} More and more frequently, I am getting calls from couples who have decided to call it quits after living together for many years, but who never actually married. This trend has been happening in European countries for many years and now seems to be more prevalent in the US, though in a less outspoken way. Mediation offers the best possible place for separating non-married couples, because it gives them a platform to explore separating their assets.

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

The Grey Divorce
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The Grey Divorce | Bob Bordett

Perhaps you’ve heard about the phenomenon known as the “grey divorce” and are wondering what it’s all about. An important study conducted by the Department of Sociology and the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University entitled “The Grey Divorce Revolution” addressed this issue. I was attending the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts’ annual conference in Orlando where I saw Justin Reckers, do a presentation about the study and offered us a few insights: Typically, those who are considered as going through a grey divorce are couples over the age of 50.

Click here to read Robert Bordett's full article... 

What You Should Consider When Mediating College Expenses
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What You Should Consider When Mediating College Expenses | Clare Piro

{4:00 minutes to read} Certain children’s expenses must be paid in addition to child support, according to the child support statute: medical insurance premiums, unreimbursed medical expenses and child care expenses. These are mandatory add-ons. Then, there are expenses that may be ordered at or in the Court’s discretion, including post-secondary educational expenses. The Court will consider the parties’ circumstances and what is in the best interest of the child at the time the child would be entering college.

Click here to read Clare Piro's full article...

Mediation Helps Couples Successfully Untangle Their Lives
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Mediation Helps Couples Successfully Untangle Their Lives | Susan Ingram

{1:42 minutes to read}

“Never cut what you can untie.”

Joseph Joubert, French essayist

This aphorism came to my attention recently when one of my colleagues was giving a presentation at our annual conference for the NYS Council on Divorce Mediation. I was immediately struck by the wisdom contained in its 6 simple words. I’m sure the writer wasn’t thinking of mediation when he wrote these words (he lived in the mid 18th through early 19th centuries), yet I find that it fits perfectly with the concept and process of my work as a mediator.

Click here to read Susan Ingram's full article...

Nesting: The Logistics of the “Family” Home
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Nesting: The Logistics of the “Family” Home | Deborah E. Kaminetzky

Nesting has become a popular concept for families of divorce lately, with articles in the New York Times and other well known publications. Nesting, if you are not familiar with the term, is when divorcing parents arrange for the children to remain in the family home while they each obtain a separate place to live. In theory this enables the children to remain in their home where they grew up, as well as cuts down on the shuffling back and forth between the parents’ homes, which is typical of divorced families who have joint or shared custody.

Click here to read Deborah E. Kaminetzky's full article...

Consulting or Review Attorneys in Mediation – Part 2
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Consulting or Review Attorneys in Mediation – Part 2 | Katherine Miller

{3:45 minutes to read} In my last article, I discussed the role of review attorneys in mediation. In this continuation, I’ll discuss the role of a consulting attorney in comparison. Where the review attorney is usually brought into a mediation toward the end of the process, the consulting attorney is brought in early. When working with clients as consulting attorney, I consult with them either inside or outside of the mediation room. Outside the Room I usually talk to my clients before and after their mediation sessions, outside the mediation room.

Click here to read Katherine Miller's full article...

The Nurse With a Purse and Sugar Daddy Dynamic
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The Nurse With a Purse and Sugar Daddy Dynamic | Cheryl Stein

The idea of a “sugar daddy” is very common and well-known: A “sugar daddy” is an older man who marries a younger woman and takes care of her. There is a similar, but lesser-known dynamic when the older marrying spouse is a woman. This dynamic has been referred to as the “nurse with a purse.” In both cases, it’s equally important for the older spouse to obtain a Prenuptial Agreement. Often, the woman in the “nurse with a purse” situation is in her 50s or older, highly capable, financially comfortable, healthy and has been married before; she is typically either widowed or divorced.

Click here to read Cheryl Stein's full article...

what happens to assets accumulated after separation?
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what happens to assets accumulated after separation? | Jennifer Safian

{2:42 minutes to read} Bob and Jean were married for twelve years, but had been living separately, with no formal separation agreement, for the last 5 years. They came to mediation to work out the terms of their divorce. The big question that came up for them was, “What happens to the money accumulated since their separation? Is it marital property or is it separate property?”

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

What Are Five Lessons from the First 100 (+/-) Days?
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What Are Five Lessons from the First 100 (+/-) Days? | Ada Hasloecher

{3:48 minutes to read} Without getting into politics—and I know it’s difficult not to these days—the purpose of my article is to see the macrocosm of our current governmental divisions and compare it to the microcosm of the negotiations that couples engage in when mediating. In watching the continued stalemates in Washington unfold, I was inspired to share some thoughts that have held my clients in good stead during their mediations—with some coaching from their mediator, of course! Click here to read Ada Hasloecher's full article...

Agreeing to Agree
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Agreeing to Agree | Clare Piro

{4:00 minutes to read} I often caution clients against including language in their agreement which is basically just an agreement to agree: anything that begins with “The parties will agree upon...” or “The parties agree to review...” But it depends on the issue and on the couple. Sometimes it makes sense not to spend an enormous amount of time either on something that is not all that contentious or something not likely to happen. Other times, though, leaving big decisions for the future is just putting off an inevitable conflict that should be addressed now. Here are some examples of terms that may or may not need to be spelled out completely, depending on the term and the couple.

Click here to read Clare Piro's full article...

What to Expect at Our Divorce Consultation
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What to Expect at Our Divorce Consultation | Deborah E. Kaminetzky

Many potential clients come to us when they are in the planning stage of a divorce. No one has served any papers, sometimes they are not even sure they want to file for divorce, they are just thinking about it. When we have a consultation for a divorce, we ask that the potential client come prepared with a lot of documents.

Click here to read Deborah E. Kaminetzky's full article...

How Is Mediation Different From Therapy?
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How Is Mediation Different From Therapy? | Susan Ingram

{3:24 minutes to read} Both mediators and therapists play important roles in helping couples who are experiencing difficulties in their marriage. When couples come to me for divorce mediation, I find that at least half of them have spent time, recently or in the past, working together with a therapist to try to save their marriage. I certainly view this as a positive sign. At least the couple has tried to work through the issues in their marriage, even if it didn’t ultimately work out.

Click here to read Susan Ingram's full article...

Elder Care Mediation
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Elder Care Mediation | Bob Bordett

I recently attended a conference for The Academy of Professional Family Mediators in Memphis, Tennessee. One of the workshops I participated in was on elder care mediation, which gave some fascinating insights. A 2001 study, done by Debra B. Gentry, showed nearly 40% of adult children providing care for their parents reported serious conflict with siblings, usually related to a lack of sufficient help from those siblings. This study was part of an article entitled Resolving Middle Age Sibling Conflict Regarding Parent Care.

Click here to read Robert Bordett's full article...   

David’s Divorce Dictionary: Hamilton
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David’s Divorce Dictionary: Hamilton | David Kellem

David’s Divorce Dictionary: H is for Hamilton Definition: a smash hit Broadway show that proves fighting for emotional justice is most often a fool’s errand. Hamilton: I’m not throwing away my shot. No! I’m not throwing away my shot! Kellem: Your best shot at a livable divorce outcome is by negotiation and settlement. Hamilton: But I have been insulted and my legacy tarnished! Kellem: You can go to New Jersey to duel with Burr. But someone is going to get hurt badly and    permanently. Probably both of you. Chorus: So Kellem, please tell ‘em – what’s Ham’s best shot in his divorce? Kellem: Mediation, Collaboration, Negotiation, Arbitration! Chorus: Explanation?

Click here to read David Kellem's full article...

Help Your Lawyer Help You! 3 Tips to Keep in Mind
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Help Your Lawyer Help You! 3 Tips to Keep in Mind | Gayle Rosenblum

Many people going through a divorce or other family law related matter have limited experience working with a lawyer; some may have never before hired a lawyer. Others may have prior experience in matrimonial litigation or in other types of cases. The tips below will help anyone going through a divorce, regardless of how many times you’ve worked with a lawyer before your current case.

Tip #1 It’s all right to ask questions. Write down any questions you have before meeting with an attorney. If you’re prepared in this way, you won’t forget to ask any questions you thought of before the meeting. Remember: there’s no such thing as a silly question. You should walk out of a meeting with an attorney with answers to your questions.

Click here to read Gayle Rosenblum's full article...

What Happens When the Rejected Becomes the Rejector?
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What Happens When the Rejected Becomes the Rejector? | Ada Hasloecher

{4:06 minutes to read} No matter which spouse wants out of the marriage, there invariably comes a time when there may be some second guessing. This is not to say that there is going to be a reconciliation, but the fact of the matter is that, as with all big decisions, the actual reality may not be as clean and clear as it was when we originally conceived it.Case in point: I worked with a couple where the wife was definitely the initiator of the separation. I’m pretty sure that she already had a significant other in her life when they came to see me. The husband looked like someone had shot him out of a cannon. He was despondent and morose and seemed lost to the point of despair.

Click here to read Ada Hasloecher's full article...