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The Long Island Collaborative Divorce Professionals Wish You And Your Family A Happy New Year!

Posted On: December 31, 2020


It's my pleasure to share my good friend and colleague Elizabeth Vaz's New Years wish from the Long Island Collaborative Divorce Professionals!

The Long Island Collaborative Divorce Professionals seeks to inform and answer all of the questions you may have regarding the Collaborative Divorce process as well as help foster understanding and further our mission of helping families make informed choices about how best to proceed throughout any family crisis.

For immediate information, please visit:

Website • Facebook • Instagram • LinkedIn
Phone: 844-542-3700 • Email:


Welcome To The Latest Collaborative Circle On YouTube

Posted On: December 28, 2020

Welcome back to the Collaborative Circle!

As a reminder, on the last Tuesday of every month, the Long Island Collaborative Divorce Professionals releases their Collaborative Circle on YouTube, which seeks to inform and answer all of the questions you may have regarding the Collaborative Divorce process as well as help foster understanding and further our mission of helping families make informed choices about how best to proceed throughout any family crisis.

I was featured in the November 2020 video, and while we did post elsewhere, we did not post on my website, so here it is...Enjoy!

Parenting Time Over The Holidays & The Collaborative Process

Anyone seeking more information about how we can help families in conflict, during divorce or separation, please reach out.

More about the Long Island Collaborative Divorce Professionals:

The Long Island Collaborative Divorce Professionals group is committed to helping families find a better path when faced with divorce or family conflict.

We are a coalition of interdisciplinary experts comprised of eight attorneys, four financial neutrals, and two family support specialists whose dedication and sole mission is to serve Long Island families in supportive and confidential ways during times of family crisis.

For immediate information, please visit:

Website • Facebook • Instagram • LinkedIn
Phone: 844-542-3700 • Email:


Couple Married For 47 Years Die Of COVID At The Same Time

Posted On: December 22, 2020

This is a very touching article, like Romeo and Juliet.  This Michigan couple was married for 47 years and died in the hospital on the same day at the exact same time.  They were 75 and 78 years old, respectively.

They were both no strangers to public service; Pat was a registered nurse for over 35 years at the hospital and Leslie was a veteran of the United States Naval Reserves.

This couple did literally everything incredibly heart-warming story and read.


Biden Administration On Track To Be Most LGBTQ-Inclusive In U.S. History

Posted On: December 14, 2020

So, I don’t know about you, but I finally feel like I can take a huge deep breath.  It is wonderful!  There is still a long way to go to put our world back on track, but Biden has shown that he is not only supportive of the LGBTQ community but he's putting words into action.

This article demonstrates how Biden’s administration may be the most inclusive for all including the LGBTQ community in our entire history!  We will have the first openly LGBTQ cabinet member confirmed by the Senate. There are many that also are encouraging Biden; if the opportunity arises for him to appoint the first openly LGBTQ Justice to the Supreme Court.  That would be amazing!!

Kamala Harris’s openly lesbian Chief of Staff has been announced as the Deputy Press Secretary for the new administration. This is so encouraging.  My only hope is that this new administration can quickly undo many of the terrible wrongs, outright discrimination and backward steps taken by the last administration.


Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Asks Supreme Court To Reverse Lafayette Couple's Same-Sex Parenting Case

Posted On: December 08, 2020

In an amazing display of inappropriate use of public office, the Attorney General for the state of Indiana has petitioned the United States Supreme Court seeking a reversal of a lower court decision in Indiana, which allowed same-sex couples to both be listed as parents on the birth certificate for their child. The US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Indiana affirmed the decision by the lower court Justice in Indiana's Federal Southern District Court.  The Lower Court stated that Indiana laws that limited who could be called a parent of a child were unconstitutional.

It is worrisome why some state officials continue to fight against families headed by same-sex spouses. This case was originally commenced by petition by the lesbian couple in 2015.  They sued Indiana's health commission and various county officials because the county officials would not list both of them as parents on the birth certificate of their son, who was conceived through artificial insemination. The lame excuse given by the health officials was that they were not able to list both parents because the software used by the state to produce birth certificates would not allow two women to be listed as parents on one certificate.  I guess Indiana is unique; unlike any other state in the union they apparently do not have any computer experts to deal with such a crisis of software incompatibility.

Furthermore, Indiana’s Attorney General made the inspiring argument in his petition that: upholding the lower court's decision would violate common sense and throw into jeopardy parental rights based on biology.  Well, this goes against common sense especially when rights are given up through artificial insemination like in the use of a sperm bank! The Attorney General went on to argue that a biological father’s rights and obligations to the child have necessarily been undermined without proper adjudication.  If that was the case, then in every circumstance of artificial insemination across the country, including millions by heterosexual couples, would be undermined nationally to that of a biological sperm donor. It is clear that Indiana’s Attorney General has not thought through the implications of his argument nationwide or the peril for actual sperm donors.  Under his argument maybe sperm donors now have to worry about child support obligations.

Selected excerpt(s) and/or linked article courtesy of Dave Bangert & Johnny Magdaleno, Indianapolis Star
Photo Provided by Article Subjects Ruby & Ashlee Henderson


For Now, NYS Can’t Penalize Anti-Gay Adoption Agency

Posted On: December 01, 2020

This is an update of a prior article.  It is important to note, the importance of everyone’s vote and how it affects not only who sits in the White House and the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, but the appointment of Federal Court Justices that affect citizens everyday lives, rights and privileges. 

We previously reported about an article where the New York State was challenging New Hope Family Services, a Christian adoption agency, licensed by New York State, decision to refuse to provide services to married same sex couples.  US District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino, issued an Injunction on Oct. 5, 2020, after be directed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider her prior denial of a Preliminary Injunction, and dismissal of New Hope’s lawsuit.  The Second Circuit panel reversed her decision.

In 2010, the legislature complying with the states highest court practice of recognizing second parent adoption for same sex couples since the 1990s, amended the law to allow authorized agencies to place children for adoption with an adult unmarried person, an adult married couple together or any two unmarried adult intimate partners together. 

The New York State Office of Child Family Services in turn adopted a non-discriminatory regulation and informed all authorized agencies that they could not discriminate against same sex couples or unmarried couples. 

After New York Marriage Equality Law went into effect in 2011, of course same sex married couples were automatically covered by the amended statute and authorized agencies were so advised.

In 2015, the US Supreme found that same sex couples had a constitutional right to marry and their marriages are entitled to the same treatment under state laws as all marriages.  Notwithstanding the regulation and the directive given them, New Hope retained its long standing policy of limiting its service to married heterosexual couples or unmarried adults not living in intimate relationships with another adult rather than placing a child with a lesbian or gay couple, married or not.

New Hope stands on an allegation of discrimination, based upon their religious beliefs.  New Hope filed this law suit, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a leading anti-LGBTQ religious litigation group, arguing that OCF’s regulations went beyond the statute.  The State moved to dismiss their law suit, which was granted by Judge D’Agostino, ruling that the regulation was in the scope of the statute and did not violate New Hope’s constitutional rights.  This Decision was appealed to the Second Circuit, which reversed Judge D’Agostino’s dismissal in July and sent the case back to her.  The three (3) Judge Circuit panel, concluded that New Hope’s allegations were sufficient to put into play its constitutional claims as well as its claim about limited scope of the adoption statute as permissive, rather than mandatory and noted that any Appeal of Judge D’Agostino’s new Decision would return to it.  Given those directives, Judge D’Agostino’s new Injunction was inevitable, though it is clear from her opinion, that she did not change her mind about her original analysis.  However, Judge D’Agostino is bound by the Second Circuit Court. 

That is why it is very interesting to note, the appointment of, not only Supreme Court Justices, but Federal Court Justices to the bench, can drastically change the decisions and climate of our country.  What is further interesting to note, is that the New Hope case is very similar to a case that was argued in the Supreme Court on November 4, 2020, the day after the election, where Catholic Social Services sued the City of Philadelphia over the city’s refusal to renew their contract to participate in the city’s Forster Care System.  Similarly to New Hope, they have refused to provide its services to same sex couples seeking to foster parents.  This is just another demonstration of how important our votes are in shaping not only who sits in the White House, but who regulates our lives through laws and statutes and the court system.

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Arthur S. Leonard,


‘Righting a Wrong’: Nevada Becomes First State To Protect Same-Sex Marriage

Posted On: November 24, 2020

It’s nice to share a bit of good news. This article was a welcome sight amongst everything that has gone on in the recent past and the fear of reversing rights for the LGBT community as well as a possible attempt to undo the Supreme Court case permitting lawful marriage nationally between same sex couples. 

I think everybody recognizes Las Vegas as the wedding capital of the world, in that it has been not only a place that people can get married quickly, but is known for its exuberant nuptials and themed weddings.  People have streamed into Nevada from all over the world to get married or “hitched” since the 1930s.  Nevada can now say that it is one of the first states to officially protect same sex marriage in its constitution. 

For years legal marriages were banned for same sex couples.  Nevada had voted a ban on same sex marriage in 2002.  In 2015, the nation recognized same sex marriage by the Supreme Court case of Obergefell v Hodges.  However, there is a looming question whether the two conservative Justices (Alito and Thomas), who have spoken out against this decision, might try to undo and seek to reverse that decision and leave it totally up to the states whether or not to discriminate against same sex couples who wish to marry. 

It is also heartening that the vote in Nevada was passed by a 60% margin.  Getting it to be part of a state’s constitution is not easy.  In fact, in Nevada, it had to go through the state legislature twice, in 2017 and 2019 before it was able to be put on the ballot.  Nevada has long been a swing state with the electorate ranging from cowboys to casino workers and people transplanted from many other states.  It is apparent that Nevada has now been trending more democratic in recent years and the fact that it was called for Biden and Harris shows it is presently a more democratic state. 

At present about 30 states still have same sex marriage bans on the books, though they have been blocked by the courts.  Notwithstanding the Supreme Court decision, these bans still exist, although they cannot be enforced.  Only a few states have actually repealed their bans and some efforts, like in Indiana and Florida, to repeal a ban have failed. 

Another note of interest, Nevada is also a place that people have flocked to undo their marriage in an easier fashion than their own states:  by setting up short residency they are able to get a non-contested divorce.  This has changed in many states, but most states, like New York, have a requirement of residency prior to being able to file for a divorce. 


This Simple Marriage Hack Will Lead to Happier, More Fulfilling Relationship

Posted On: November 17, 2020

When you plan to spend the rest of your life with someone, or commit to a long term relationship where you are living under the same roof, you have to recognize it is not going to always be rosy and cheerful.  Conflict is inevitable and is going to happen.  How you handle it and how you go about a resolution is what will determine how your relationship fares.  Long term relationships with two people are complicated.  Adding in kids and financial responsibilities can cause conflicts to multiply exponentially. 

If you actually analyze marital disagreements or spats, they tend to follow a negative trend.  Someone is negative to the other person, the other person becomes defensive and things escalate in a negative manner.  This article explores an interesting way to break that cycle.  They have termed it a “Marriage Hack”.  In essence the parties embrace an idea of a third party.  Although figuratively, the exercise involves once you find yourself in a positional argument, for each to take a step back, take a few minutes and write about the argument and disagreement, not from your own point of view or your partner’s point of view, but from a birds eye view of a neutral third party observing your argument. 

The study conducted over a few years at Northwestern University, shows that utilizing this exercise, many times, brings a clear perspective on what the couple is arguing about and what has triggered the argument.  That opens the door to finding a solution.  It was also interesting that they found that the couples that utilize this technique, not necessarily had less conflict, but that the conflicts did not escalate as far and caused less stress and frustration between the couple.  There is nothing more damaging to a relationship when an argument goes too far in the wrong direction.

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