The Latest News

COVID-19 and Future Custody Determinations

Posted On: April 02, 2020

In these trying times, more than usual, people are facing difficult relationship problems and/or possibly even divorce.  This often puts children at risk.

As is human nature, people often view things only from their own perspective.  Notwithstanding that attorneys and learned counsel or counselors try to advise otherwise, many times clients do not see things from another perspective.  Here is a very well written article by the Hon. Jeffrey Sunshine that truly gives insight as to how a Judge views things when it comes to co-parenting and children’s custody.

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Frozen Embryos Can’t Be Implanted in Divorced Woman Because Ex Doesn’t Want Kids

Posted On: March 31, 2020

The issue of frozen embryos and the rights to same has been an ongoing issue in many areas of the country and in different courts.  It is an issue for heterosexual couples as well as the LGBTQ community and anyone who has reproductive challenges.  The issues can be extremely complicated even if the conceptions of the embryos were under the auspices of a legal marriage or where the sperm donor is through a sperm bank.  A known donor actually creates additional concerns and issues.

I was recently contacted by a colleague looking for guidance in dealing with a lesbian couple facing a divorce where stored embryos will be an issue. 

The case in this article does not address all of the variety of issues that can come up when dealing with frozen embryos and how the law treats them.  However, it does bring home a very important point; the better choice for clients when choosing alternative reproductive methods is to be sure that everyone's rights with respect to the embryos including a possible donor are detailed and acknowledged in a written agreement between the parties, especially if there is sperm from a known donor not chosen through a sperm bank.  Many times lesbian and gay couples may use family members as a donor to have similar genetic makeup in their children for the non-biological parent.  This again can create complicated situations that, although the parties may not want to address in writing, they absolutely should. 

There are very strong feelings around reproductive rights and ones connection to a child or possible child.  These must all be considered and people really must know where they stand before they end up in a situation where the courts have to decide. 

This stresses another good reason why people should use the skills of a trained Mediator and/or trained Collaborative attorney to resolve these issues before they get to the point where the party is facing a dissolution to the relationship and a problem as to the rights of their embryos.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Storm Gifford, NY Daily News
Photo courtesy of Andrei Tchernov/Getty Images

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FREE Webinar March 25th - Vaccinating Your Business & Your Life Against Covid-19

Posted On: March 23, 2020

In these uncertain times my colleagues and I are holding a FREE webinar to support our friends, clients and the businesses in our community.

Please join us this Wednesday, March 25th from 12pm - 1pm for Vaccinating Your Business - and Your Life - Against COVID-19. 

Register here.

We look forward to having you!

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Lights, Camera, Legal Action! Courts To Livestream Divorce Proceedings

Posted On: March 23, 2020

Nobody really wants the divorce to be part of the public news cycle (or made public at all), but starting at the end of this year, the UK will begin livestreaming family cases.

This is another reason why collaborative divorce is so essential for many couples. Not only does it take you and your dispute out of the court system but it makes it completely private and confidential.

I know personally from my clients that being in court is stressful, and having to relive terrible parts of their marriage in an open forum would be unbearable. 

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Amy Woodyatt, CNN

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What To Wear While Video Conferencing To Look Polished & Professional

Posted On: March 16, 2020

Video conferencing and working from home virtually is going to become the new business norm for the current health crisis.

This is a great blog post on how to dress for your video conference.

Ms. Melanie Lippman is a member of my MOXXIE networking organization and has helped many of my colleagues with tips on how to look their best. 

Thank you Melanie for writing this blog!

Linked blog post courtesy of Melanie Lippman.  Photo courtesy of VSPL.

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What To Do With The Ring In Divorce? Three Questions To Help Decide The Surprisingly Complex Answer

Posted On: March 09, 2020

Engagement rings and wedding bands are often significant investments, not to mention the emotional attachment they may have as well as the pain they can invoke after a divorce.  So, the question becomes, what happens or what do you do with the rings?  The choices people make can vary tremendously, just like the differences between couples in divorce are varied.  They span the spectrum of practicality to cathartic. 

The first question actually is, who legally has the right to make the decision?  Most people don’t understand the legal ramifications of divorce and what constitutes separate or marital property.  Technically, the engagement ring is a gift before marriage and therefore is separate property and is the sole property of the person receiving it.  The wedding rings however, are marital property.  This may vary from state to state, but that is how it is in New York.  What happens if one of the rings was a family heirloom?  That can also raise additional problems and questions.  In the case of an heirloom for an engagement ring, typically the engagement ring is owned by the person it was given to as separate property.  But, if it was an heirloom, it is possible that you can make a deal that the person gets the approximate value of that ring in exchange for returning it to the family inheritance. 

Another significant issue is whether there are children of the marriage.  If there are children of the marriage, there may be strong feelings on gifting one or more of these rings to the children so that they may use it in the future and the rings stay within the family.  This also may be impacted by the financial reality of how much the rings are worth.  If finances are of importance, the financial value of the ring could come into play and a more financially prudent decision may be necessary, such as selling the ring or insuring you will get its value by repurposing it into a necklace or pendant, for example. 

It is important to make the best choice that balances your emotional and financial needs and enables you to move forward in the best possible way to start the next chapter of your life.  If the emotional toll of keeping the ring is too high, repurposing it or giving it to a family member may be the way to go.  You need to dispose of the ring in a way that allows you to move forward and heal.  Although not necessarily a wise decision, some people feel so strongly that they physically have to get rid of it by throwing it away. 

If you decide to sell the ring, make sure you do it in an appropriate way that you maximize its worth by dealing with a reputable jeweler and getting opinions from more than one.  Be aware that an appraisal value is not an indicator of the true value of the ring.  It is utilized for insurance purposes for replacement value, but is not what you can sell it for to a retail or other jeweler.  They will not buy it for premium cost.  A good rule of thumb is that an appraisal is probably anywhere from 10% to 30% higher than the rings purchase price.  It is made to protect the insurer and not to insure that you get a high price. 

This article offers a real life example of how drastic this can be. According to this article, Mariah Carey got a 35 carat diamond ring, which cost the suitor $13 million and was appraised for $66 million, but when she decided to sell it, she only received $2.7 million.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Heather L. Locus, Contributor, Personal Finance, Forbes.

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This Is the Surprising Secret to Making a Marriage or Long-Term Relationship Last

Posted On: March 02, 2020

Surprisingly, psychologists have found that it's not the grand gestures or the extreme passion of a good sex life that makes a marriage last in the long term...it's the little things like taking care of one another and paying attention to all of those small things throughout the days of your lives together.  That small bit of attention goes a long way and more often than not lasts longer than the grand gestures.

In other words, grand gestures without the in-between communication, support and engagement might very well be a sign your relationship won't last.

Relationships that have open and honest communication, where there is an interest in one another, remembering the little things like saying thank you or taking care of something for your spouse...these are the elements that make a relationship endure. 

This article is a testament to interaction and paying attention to one another and having personal exchanges multiple times during the week and most definitely during the day.  Isolation and disconnect are definitely killers to any relationship.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Minda Zetlin for Inc. This Morning Newsletter.  Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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9 Unexpected Things That Show a Marriage Won’t Last Long

Posted On: February 26, 2020

Most people despite the harsh realties are looking for the fairytale romantic relationship where you fall in love at first sight or that you find your soulmate and are looking for a relationship that lasts a lifetime.  The harsh reality is that is the rare exception rather than the rule. 

It has long been a statistic that more than half of marriages end in divorce and in some areas those statistics are higher.  In Europe it has been shown that in the last 50 years people have divorced 2 ½ times more often and get married 2 times less often.

Whether you are married legally or in a committed long term relationship, if dissolution of the relationship is a reality, using the Collaborative process for either a divorce or the dissolution of a significant relationship is vital and a much more holistic approach, no matter what your geographical location is.  Further the courts will not get involved with the dissolution of a romantic partnership that is not a legal marriage.  

There is scientific data and research that has been done on foreseeing whether divorce is a possibility in a relationship  and nine most distinctive factors. 

This first factor I find is a humorous one.  They basically did a study of people’s photographs from college and were able to determine by the amount of the impact of their smile or gloom of their photo, the rate of divorce for those people.  The study showed that people who look gloomy in their photos were divorced five times more often than those who smiled. 

This also held true for people with respect to the emotional tone of their voice and the commitment to what they are saying.  So, it’s not only what you say but how you say it 😊  

This article had some interesting points on what to look for in your relationship and factors that can contribute to an early termination.

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of anton7788, Chowhound.

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