Published Articles

Divorce: To Mediate, Collaborate or Litigate, – That is The Question.

Published in Financial Planning Association of the Greater Hudson Valley, Spring 2009 Newsletter When confronted with a divorce, you don’t need to be a legal scholar to know the risks of going to trial and having a judge decide the issues in a court of law. Just talk to your friends and relatives who have been through a bitter divorce in the courts, or to any honest divorce lawyer. They will tell you that the costs, both financially and emotionally, of a court battle in a divorce can be ruinous, not only for the divorcing couple but also for their children.

Restraining the Custodial Parent from Relocating the Child to a Distant Domicile

Published in the Domestic Law, May 1988

It’s an emergency! A new client, Mr. Stayput, telephones you in a panic. His former wife, the custodial parent, has threatened to leave the jurisdiction with their child and relocate to a distant state by the end of the month. She plans to marry and become Mrs. Gogo, hereafter referred to by that name. Unless you can restrain Mrs. Gogo from so relocating, Mr. Stayput, at worst, may never see his child again; or, at best, will never see his child as often. Neither option is satisfactory.

Everyone involved has a lot at stake. Mr. Stayput wants to prevent the potential irrevocable damage to his relationship with his child. Mrs. Gogo may have at stake her remarriage plans, better employment opportunities in the foreign jurisdiction for herself and/or her fiancé (Mr. Gogo), and more time with the child if she plans to work fewer hours after her remarriage.

It is very likely that one or both of the parties will be saddled with the expense and inconvenience of plane trips to and from the distant domicile.

A qualified forensic psychiatrist or psychologist will be needed to serve as […]

The Struggle to Preserve Collaborative Law Benefits When Litigating a Divorce

Published in Westchester Bar Journal, Spring/Summer 2007

The Spring/Summer 2007 edition of the Westchester Bar Journal included my introductory article on collaborative law entitled: “Collaborative Law: Divorce Lawyer as Peacemaker.” This follow up article gives my impressions and observations of the collaborative law movement in Westchester, those regarding the avalanche of divorce litigation in Westchester shared by Hon. Anthony A. Scarpino (Supervising Judge of the Matrimonial Part in Westchester who also serves as our Surrogate’s Court Judge), how collaboratively trained lawyers can serve and benefit in the adversarial court system, and an illustrative case study.

The case study demonstrates the benefits available in the collaborative process, the struggle to keep those benefits from being eroded and lost during divorce litigation, and how one attorney involved in litigation – with collaborative training – can still have a positive impact, both in the case and the overall court system.

Impressions and Observations
Judge Scarpino, speaking before the Yorktown Bar Association in November 2006, stated that, among other things, each matrimonial Judge in Westchester (there were only two then) had a case load of approximately 400, and he was hoping to add Judges and take other steps to bring each Judge’s case load down to 200. […]

Collaborative Law: Divorce Lawyer As Peacemaker

Published in the Westchester Bar Journal, Spring/Summer 2006

An army of peacemakers is growing throughout the United States and other countries in the field of divorce law. These peacemakers are collaborative lawyers, and I am one of them. If you are a matrimonial lawyer, a lawyer doing some divorce cases, or a spouse considering a divorce, collaborative law is an important subject that may have a huge impact on your life.

Definition

Collaborative law is a divorce settlement process. Each party is represented by a collaborative attorney, trained in the disciplines of divorce mediation as well as collaborative law. Rather than starting a divorce action, an initial agreement known as a Participation Agreement is signed by the parties and their attorneys providing, among other things, that the parties shall not go to Court, or threaten to do so, during the settlement process, and the attorneys shall not be the litigators or trial counsel in that case if negotiations break down. Negotiations occur at four-way settlement conferences (both spouses and their collaborative attorneys attend) conducted privately in one of the lawyer’s offices. Mediation techniques, including reframing or looping described below, are used by the attorneys during the conferences. The goal is to reach […]