It's Not Too Late to Mediate

Many people have told me lately that they regret hiring a lawyer to litigate their divorce.  They say they’re tired of the acrimony that comes with litigation.  They tell me they’re unhappy with the war-like tactics, confused that they’ve been instructed not to communicate with their soon-to-be-ex and worried that they’ve lost control over the process and outcome.  But the worst part is that many of them don’t know that they still have options!  No divorcing couple is, or should be, tied to a process that isn’t working for them.  It’s never too late to mediate.

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A Key Step Forward for Parental Rights in Modern Families

New York courts are continuing to prove that they are dedicated to protecting the rights of the LGBT community.  In an important recent case, the Appellate Division applied the “presumption of legitimacy”—the concept that a child born during a marriage is the legitimate child of the couple—to married same-sex partners.  Applying the presumption of legitimacy—which comes along with key parental rights and protections—was especially enlightened in the circumstances of this case, where the child was not a DNA match to both parents.  For many LGBT families, the decision reflects a critical step forward in establishing the non-biological parent’s rights.

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Pet Custody and Divorce Mediation

Like so many New Yorkers, married couples are often deeply devoted to their pets.  One recent study even found that “most pet owners would not trade their pets for even $1 million in cash”.  Couples facing divorce often find themselves spending considerable sums asking courts to decide who will take custody of a pet.  But there is no guarantee that, in doing so, the court will take into account the deep emotional connection most of us feel to our pets.

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Modern Family? No Problem, Say the New York Courts

If the twenty-first century has made anything clear, it’s that no two families are alike.  Couples are creating multiracial families by adopting from different countries.  Same-sex spouses are rearing biological children as a result of innovative procedures like artificial insemination and surrogacy.  Couples are choosing to raise children in committed partnerships rather than marriages.  Today, the family unit ranges from single-parent households to families with three or more parents.  With the constantly evolving social landscape, courts are breaking from custom and proving to be more accepting of “unconventional” families. 

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