National Autism Awareness Month: Divorcing with a Special Needs Child

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and this is a good time to discuss the divorce process involving a special needs child. Each year, parents of over a million children get divorced. Everyone is impacted by divorce, but it tends to be especially hard on children who are disabled. [Read more…]

Using Mediation When You Decide to Separate

Some couples reach a point in their marriage where they are considering divorce, but they are not sure about taking such a permanent step. In the meantime, they decide to separate for a while. This can present challenges of its own, because many states (including New Jersey) do not have legal separation, which leaves many important issues in doubt. Mediation helps couples in this situation by putting a plan in place to address these issues while they are deciding their next step. [Read more…]

Emotional Reactiveness During Divorce

Emotional Reactiveness is defined as an uncontrollable reaction to a person, place, event or other stimuli. It can create defensiveness, decrease trust and most importantly, decrease understanding. When being emotionally reactive, it destroys the ability to effectively communicate. The person on the receiving end of emotional reactiveness only hears anger, not words. [Read more…]

Online Virtual Divorce Mediation: How It Works and Who It Benefits

Divorce mediation is an alternative to traditional litigation that provides couples the opportunity to settle the terms and conditions of their divorce more quickly, affordably, and peacefully. Couples also maintain greater control over the process, and they are able to customize the settlement agreement based on their unique needs, values, and goals. A recent offshoot of divorce mediation is virtual mediation – a process by which the sessions are conducted in a virtual setting rather than face-to-face. [Read more…]

Gray Divorce: Explaining Divorce to Grown Children

The term Gray Divorce refers to the parting of two adults that have been married for decades. Along with the parting are many years of memories. The Thanksgiving dinner where everyone ate together at a perfectly dressed table. The family weddings, with sweet memories of dancing, or perhaps you have a picture of you together on your child’s wedding day. Together, you both watched grandchildren, who were always thrilled to go to “Grandma and Grandpops” house. Now, together is not forever in your family. [Read more…]

5 Benefits of Divorce Mediation

As the New Year approaches, many couples are looking for a fresh start – apart from each other. The reality is that a large percentage of marriages do not work out, and the start of the New Year is often a clarifying moment for spouses in troubled marriages. If you and your spouse have tried to make things work and believe there is no other alternative than divorce, one route to strongly consider is divorce mediation. [Read more…]

Holiday Co-Parenting After Divorce: Thinking Outside the Box

The holidays are a stressful time for everyone, and this is especially true for parents of divorce and their kids. If this is the first holiday season you are going into since your divorce, you may find that the parenting schedules you set up are not going to work as you originally planned. There are a lot of possible reasons for this. [Read more…]

Kids of Divorce, Holiday Parenting Schedules

It’s that time of year when  divorced parents have to either decide where the kids are spending the holidays or when they go to their Parenting Agreement to review the schedule that was prepared during their divorce.

When I’m sitting down with divorcing couples during divorce mediation, often times, parents struggle with how to split up the holidays with the kids. It causes not only much stress for them but also stress for the kids. [Read more…]

Trick or Treat: How to Navigate the Halloween Parenting Schedule for Divorced Parents

Years ago, when I first started my divorce mediation practice, I was blown away by how passionate many parents are about Halloween. I found that many couples had no issue whatsoever with alternating weeks or days, and alternating holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. But when the conversation turned to Halloween, things got…scary. [Read more…]

Divorce Mediation: Why Does Divorce Tend to Run in Families?

As a divorce mediator, I deal with many couples whose parents have also been divorced. There is no doubt that divorce tends to run in families, but it is not entirely clear why this happens. For decades, most counselors and therapists in this arena have believed that it is due to adult children role-modeling the behaviors of their parents. [Read more…]

Divorce Mediation: How Long-Term Disability Insurance Protects Families during a Divorce

In the past, I have discussed the importance of having life insurance in a divorce settlement, particularly to protect spouses and children who depend heavily on support payments to stay financially solvent. This month, I want to touch on another type of policy that is closely related to life insurance: long-term disability. [Read more…]

The Benefits of Mediation for Unmarried Parents

Divorce mediation is not only for married couples. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than four out of 10 children in America are born to unwed mothers. In many of these cases, the mother and father are unmarried domestic partners. Other times, the parents live apart from each other. [Read more…]

New Jersey Supreme Court Sets New Standard for Child Relocation

In what has been called a “landmark” decision, the NJ Supreme Court has reversed nearly two decades of precedent by ruling that the relocation of children during divorce must be based on the best interests of the child. In a previous ruling from 2001, the court held that a custodial parent could move a child out of state as long as the move did not cause harm to the child.  [Read more…]

Dating After a Divorce: When to Introduce Children to a New Partner

One of the most common issues that comes up after a divorce is finalized is when and how to expose your younger children to new love interests. This scenario can cause a lot of tension and conflict, particularly when parents introduce their kids to their significant other without first talking to the other parent. After all, the last thing a parent wants to hear when their child comes home from a visit with their ex is “I just met Mommy/Daddy’s new boyfriend/girlfriend”. [Read more…]

The Role Fear Plays in Divorce

I have yet to have met a divorcing couple who doesn’t have fear. Fear of what?

“What will happen to me in the future?”

“What will happen to my children?”

“How can I afford to live on my own?”………..

The list goes on and on.  One of the  important things to me as a Professional Divorce Mediator is to make sure my clients are not making decisions from a place of fear. Although the divorce mediation process gives divorcing couples a chance to [Read more…]

The Best Ways to Prepare for Divorce Mediation

Going through a divorce is never easy. Dissolving a marriage takes a major emotional and financial toll on spouses and their families. Divorce mediation can alleviate much of the stress by helping you avoid costly and protracted litigation. By choosing mediation, you are choosing to resolve your differences privately and amicably, so you can preserve important family relationships. [Read more…]

Divorce Mediation is Not Just About Saving Money

Divorce mediation is an affordable and flexible alternative to traditional litigation, which is why a growing number of couples are choosing this option. Mediation is not just for people who “cannot afford an attorney” however. In my practice, I work with many high net worth couples who want to maintain more control over the outcome of their divorce, and do not want to spend their hard-earned cash on exorbitant attorney fees. [Read more…]

When is a Good Time to Start Divorce Mediation?

For many divorcing spouses, mediation can be an affordable and time-saving alternative to costly and protracted litigation. There is a common misconception, however, about when to start divorce mediation. Many believe that they must have everything worked out first before beginning the process.

Recently, I received a call from someone looking to come in with their spouse to begin mediation. He said, “We are almost in agreement on the last issue, so we are almost ready to come in”. [Read more…]

If Jen & Ben Affleck Can Mediate Their Divorce, So Can You!

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner recently filed for divorce, but as People Magazine reports, they have chosen to officially represent themselves in the filing, and handle the dissolution of their marriage as amicably as possible. I applaud them for using divorce mediation, and for choosing to keep the details of their divorce private.

Divorce mediation is becoming increasingly mainstream, even among high net worth couples such as Ben and Jen and other celebrities. Gone are the days when it is assumed that saving money is the only reason to consider mediation. [Read more…]

How Should You Celebrate your Children’s Birthdays After a Divorce?

As a divorce mediator, I work closely with couples to develop a settlement that works best for them. And when I begin working with a divorcing couple who have children, the first thing I do is establish a parenting plan. I do this first for a number of reasons.

First of all, I like to start with a topic in which the parents are likely to be on the same page; after all, nearly every parent wants what is best for their children. Secondly, children are not “negotiables”, and I do not allow them to be negotiated for anything. [Read more…]

Divorce Can Create Stronger Family Values

I am a true believer that when divorce is approached in a thoughtful and reasonable way, there can definitely be positive outcomes. It’s all a matter of how two people go about it and what their end goals are. One of the things I love most about being a divorce mediator is that I get to work with couples in a way that will enable them to strengthen their family bonds rather than pull them apart.  [Read more…]

Divorce Issues Are Not Really About the Law

Divorce is technically a legal proceeding, and once it is completed, the state recognizes the marriage as dissolved. But although the process is legal, the issues within a divorce have less to do with the law, and more to do with other factors. Among them include emotions, finances, and personal circumstances. [Read more…]

Divorce is NOT “One Size Fits All”

Divorce is almost always a difficult and emotional process. The uncertainty of “what comes next” tends to create a lot of stress for divorcing spouses. In addition, each circumstance is unique, and the wants and needs of the spouses vary from case to case. This can make it especially difficult to come to a satisfactory resolution through traditional processes.  [Read more…]

What are the Holidays Like for Children of Divorced Parents?

This month, I’ve invited author and freelance writer Paul Lindquist to write a guest post about what it was like for him during the holidays as a child of divorced parents. Paul has agreed to share his insights on how he experienced the holidays both before and after his parents were divorced, and how these experiences remain with him to this day. Take it away Paul… [Read more…]