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Want to Fight Less in Your Marriage? Quit Using Logical Fallacies.

Posted On: April 19, 2021

There are obviously worse things that can happen in a relationship than having a heated argument with your significant other, especially if there is a chance of making things better or learning from each other.  But there should be rules to fighting and arguing, whether spoken or unspoken. 

In 1980, two Dutch scholars developed some simple rules that can help.  This article also focuses on what fallacies to avoid using.  When I looked through these, what struck me is that many of them contain a judgment embedded in them, which is another thing to avoid when having an argument or a discussion with your spouse or significant other.  The last thing you want to do is blame or speak with a statement dripping with judgment.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Stever Calechman,
Royalty free photo courtesy of


“A Hero” Among Us. An article by Concetta G. Spirio About a Special Client

Posted On: April 14, 2021

I do not remember how I originally met this client, but she and her wife became my clients 11 years ago when they asked me to prepare their Wills.  At that time, they were not able to legally marry as a same-sex couple.

When we met, I did not know that my client had a history in the military.  I only learned more of her story when they decided to update their Wills and came to my offices for their execution.

Unfortunately, my client was injured and for the last ten years has been in a wheelchair.  I didn’t know that she had the opportunity as a female veteran to work with a company that had created “Rewalk”, an exoskeleton suit that would help and enable a paralyzed person to walk.  She worked with the manufacturer and the government on the first prototype, and as a result, she traveled the world educating and demonstrating this device.  Being in a wheelchair has not stopped her service to her country.  In fact, this is what was so touching to me that I felt the need to write this article.  I found out that what I and many people do not know is that there are military traditions that include awards of certain coins.  One of the highest honors a retired military person can receive is a service coin given by a higher ranked military person to that retired service person in recognition of their continued service to their country.

My client received a very special Presidential coin from President Obama.  It was one of only two President Obama ever gave out.  I was so touched by her story which was shared with me, not to show off the coin or brag that she was in possession of it, but merely relaying the story which I found so significant and so moving.

Although this coin has not left her person since it was given to her by the President, she does not often show it.  I felt very privileged and honored that she chose to share her experience and offered to let me see and hold this valued coin.

Article written by Concetta G. Spirio

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 32 Years.

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20 Years Ago, These Brides Made LGBTQ History. Where Are They Now?

Posted On: April 07, 2021

I cannot believe it's 20 years ago that the first same sex marriage occurred.  It has taken so long everywhere for same sex marriages to be recognized. 

The first lesbian couple to be married took place in the Netherlands.  This couple originally met on a blind date 20 years before they actually reconnected and started their courtship that resulted in the first lesbian marriage 3 years thereafter.  However, their path to a true legal marriage took some time and like other countries, was not offered immediately.  Their first ceremony was technically a registered partnership, which was the best they could do at the time, while one of them was pregnant with their first child.  However, the partnership registry did not give parental rights to the non-biological parent, notwithstanding the “union”.  In fact, the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg referred to this version of marriage as “a skim milk marriage”. 

When this first couple’s child was born, the non-biological mother had no legal connection, claim or rights to this child.  It wasn’t until the Netherlands enacted a new law, which came into effect on April 1, 2001.  This couple was the only lesbian couple to be married on the first day of the law’s enactment with a ceremony performed by the mayor of Amsterdam. 

Based upon the couple’s own recollections, they were thrust into the forefront of a media frenzy and actually saw a video of themselves on CNN. 

In 1999 most countries did not even offer a registered partnership, which obviously falls very short of full martial rights.  In the United States, Vermont became the first state to offer “civil unions”.  However, most people did not understand the significance that to undo that “civil union”, they would need to reside in Vermont, prior to the dissolution for at least one year.  This became very problematic for many who rushed to Vermont to get married. 

The Netherlands passed its law in 2001.  Belgium followed in 2003 and Massachusetts became the first in the United States to legalize marriage for same sex couples in 2004.  However, it wasn’t until June 26, 2015, that the United States allowed and recognized same sex marriages as a result and Order of the United States Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v Hodges.  At that time the United States was one of only 17 countries to change their national laws. 

Today same sex couples can marry in only 29 countries.  This is a stark contrast to the fact that nearly triple that number criminalized consensual same sexual behavior.  I remember as a law student, interning in the early 80’s, with then “Lambda Legal Defense”, on their project to help overturn existing sodomy laws in Texas and many other states. But change is slow!  Sodomy was only officially decriminalized in the United States in 2003.  It still carries the death penalty in some countries.  I find that incomprehensible when so many other heinous crimes have such minimal sentences!  Although many nations are moving towards decriminalizing same sex acts, and a few more countries have come on board in accepting legalizing same sex marriage, there is still a lot of progress that must be made. 

Even for the first married lesbian couple living in what is considered to be a very progressive country as the Netherlands, they have expressed that they feel that there is more aggression on the streets towards same sex couples today than 20 years ago.  The fact that hate and misinformation has been able to grow rather than decline is still very frightening.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Sarah Prager, The Lily.  Photo courtesy of Unsplash (Royalty Free Photos).


Neuroscientists Reveal What It Takes To Make Love Last

Posted On: March 31, 2021

As most of us know, our bodies can be broken down into simple chemistry.  The same is true for how things react in our brain.  It was interesting to learn that in this study people who had been in long term relationships of an average of 21 years had the same chemical reaction in their brains as people who had recently fallen in love when they were shown a picture of their partner.  What's also interesting is that an activity jump in the areas of the brain associated with maternal love and pair bonding suggest that feelings of attachment are an important facet of a romantic relationship, at least as demonstrated by the chemistry in your brain.

Obviously the key to a long term relationship is not just mere has yet to figure out exactly what keeps the flame of love alive for extended long term relationships, but we all know it's more than just romantic love.  A healthy long lasting relationship also requires elements of attachments and pair bonding and I submit, cooperation, honesty, communication and respect for one another. 

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Grace Browne, Inverse


Divorce and Kids: Navigating Difficult Waters

Posted On: March 23, 2021

One of the hardest things about navigating a divorce is not just your emotional well being and survival, but that of your children.  Too often parents are so overwhelmed with their own emotional turmoil and the disagreements (and the war) going on between them, that they forget about the impact of this devastating time on their children.  Some of the nastiest things that occur in a litigated divorce is when parents use their children as pawns and a vehicle to hurt their spouse.  In actuality all they have done is hurt their children. 

Parents need to communicate honestly with their children about divorce, but they need to keep it general.  They don’t need to involve the children in the nitty gritty of their problems and their relationship.  Often children are not equipped to deal with these complexities, nor should they have to. 

In the collaborative process, family specialist are extremely valuable in helping parents deal with their children and do what is best to help the children navigate through this difficult time. 

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Jim Catlin, Chippewa Valley Family


16 Quotes For Women’s History Month To Share With Your Kids

Posted On: March 17, 2021

Happy Women’s “Herstory” Month!  In school we were mainly taught “history”, and rarely did we hear about women leaders, let alone their quotes. 

Here is a wonderful article of sixteen quotes that you can share with your children and teach them about the impact each of these women have had on herstory.  I particularly love the ones from Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Michelle Obama and Ayanna Pressley.  I will also add one of my favorites by Elenore Roosevelt, “A women is like a tea bag, you never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water”.


How Long Island Suffragist Alva Belmont Helped Women Gain Equality

Posted On: March 09, 2021

In honor of International Women’s Day and Month, this article highlights Long Island Suffragette and socialite Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, who formed the National Women’s party with Suffragette leader, Alice Paul.

Their cause was for the right of women by law to vote in national and local elections.  Without their sacrifice and dedication, we might not have the right to vote.  Ms. Vanderbilt Belmont was the party’s president and primary benefactor.  She was also known for saying “Pray to god, she will help you.”

In 1917, the group began a vigil with hundreds of flag waiving protestors, displaying huge signs, shouting their message which marked the first time that protestors picketed in front of the White House.  It was January 1917 when the group began their vigil that lasted six days a week for six months, despite the weather conditions!! 

All the liberties and rights that women have today are a result of the women who came before us.  I am so grateful for all the strong women, many of whom we have never heard about when we were taught the “history” of our country.  It's time we start to talk about our “herstory”!

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Annie Wilkinson of the Long Island Press


Why Marriage Goals Are Key to a Happier, More Productive Relationship

Posted On: March 02, 2021

If you know anything about goal setting then you know it's imperative to think about and set goals to have success in whatever you do.  Whether it's starting a new business, developing your career, or working within a relationship.  Having goals not only structures and gives positive direction, it focuses ones attention on what's important.  Even within a marriage or a significant relationship, it's important to talk, communicate and think about the future as well as goals. People most often make assumptions that things will just work out and take care of conquers all.  However, as with anything else, if you are looking for success, setting goals helps guarantee the greater possibility of producing positive results.  Having positive intentions and setting them forth creates a better basis for success. 

Choosing to discuss goals with your partner will not only lead to a better understanding for each of you in the relationship, but enlighten you both as to what each of you truly want.  As a result, you will have better communication and a stronger relationship with the possibility of greater long term success.

This is definitely a good read and something I think 90% of couples do not do or think about.

Experts say having goals is a definite must in having a healthy and strong marriage and/or relationship.

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Jeremy Brown, Fatherly