Last week I attended a workshop, which I organized for a professional mediators association, dealing with adult children ( 16 or 17 years old, and up) of divorce. It is a topic that most mediators (and parents) spend little or no time discussing, (“How are the kids taking the divorce?” “Great. They are OK with it”). Not surprisingly, the workshop was titled : The Invisible Children”.
April 25, 2010 was Parental Alienation Awareness Day.
Parent Alienation is defined as a deliberate attempt by one parent to distance his or her children from the other parent. The motivation is to break the bond between the child and the other parent. It is very difficult for the alienated parent to overcome parent alienation. Rebuliding a relationship with an alienated child may seem remote or hopeless, but if no effort is made the chance of success is almost non-existent.
I have been a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan operaettas for many years. When I was young, I was even a member of an amateur Group that only performed Gilbert and Sullivan works. Although many of their lines are so far out of date that it is impossible to know what they refer to, many of their themes are universal and timeless. One of them, is a song in HMS Pinafore entitled “Things are Seldom What they Seem.”
Recently I spent a weekend at the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation’s annual conference, which, as a member of the Board of Directors and Conference Committee, I helped to arrange. More than 150 mediators from all over the state attended to hear prominent experts on divorce related issues run workshops and lectures to improve our skills and keep current with the latest information that will help our clients get through the difficult Divorce Process as easily as possible.
Every divorce and family mediator is dedicated to the principle known as “Self-Determination”. That means that couples should be the ones who make all decisions related to their separation or divorce issues, and not some outside third party such as a judge or a lawyer. The role of the mediator is to help the couples discuss the issues and reach agreements, if possible.
USA Network, a major cable network, will be presenting a series about Mediation. “Facing Kate”, starring Kate Shahi, centers on a top litigator who becomes frustrated with the injustices that she sees in the Legal System, and decides to become a mediator.
“…with traditional lawyers, it’s always one wins, one loses; in mediation, the goal is to have win-win…”
The series, which is currently scheduled to start with a 90 minute pilot followed by eleven episodes, is expected to air this Summer or early Fall
Separation & Divorce Mediator & Collaborative Attorney
The highest appeals court in the State of New York, The Court Of Appeals, issued a decision on March 18, 2010 which determined that New York courts were empowered to consider a case involving a claim for equitable distribution and dissolution of a same sex civil union which was legally entered into in Vermont.
There are two basic types of retirement plans. Those that are defined by the benefits paid, and those that are defined by the contributions made. Retirement plans that are defined by the benefits paid are are referred to as “Defined Benefits” plans. Defined benefits plans are what most people think of as pensions. Those plans tell you how much you will receive, usually on a monthly basis, when you retire. The amount is usually based on your earnings and the amount of time spent in the pension system. Many public employees have this type of retirement plan.
I always recommend that my divorcing and separating clients obtain ans share their credit reports to make sure that there are no surprise debts or credit lines. People may discover that they have credit cards in their name that they were not have aware of, and obtaining the report early in the divorce process presents the opportunity to correct inaccuracies that could impact ability to qualify for credit, or even for employment.
There was an excellent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times (February 18, 2010) by Ruth Bettelheim, a marriage and family therapist. The message was a familiar one to those of us in the Mental Health, Mediation and Collaborative Practice Communities, but somehow it has been slow to be accepted, understood and internalized by the general public and by legislators. The message is a simple one: Exposure to parental conflict is bad for kids – especially in the context of a divorce.