Getting Started

Your History.

    • Are you married? Living together? Or have some version of a “nontraditional” relationship?
    • How did you get together? What was good then?   when/ what changed? 
    •  Why do you wish to split up?  Why NOW?
    • What do you expect?  hope? will be different once you live separately? 
    • Your values, the criteria you choose to make decisions.

Fundamentals of the Divorce Process. As we sit together to discuss some basic questions, we will find out how similar and how different are you and your partner’s views. We consider:

    • What are your values? what is most important to you?
    • How do you want to live your life during the divorce? afterward?
    • What kind of relationships do you wish to have with your children? extended family? friends? work colleagues? your “ex”?
    • What is your long term vision for your family? 5? 10 years from now, how do you want your children to remember this time?

Emotional Bedrock of the Divorce Process.

Finally, how ready-to-forgive yourself and your partner are each of you?

How. We will discuss and possibly decide which of these 4 options available in New York State might best fit the needs of you and your family:

    • Kitchen table?
    • Mediation?
    • Collaborative Divorce?
    • Litigation?

Who. Then we will explore who are the best professionals to work with you and your circumstances:

    • Mediator
    • Collaborative Divorce Team: An Attorney for each partner, Neutral Coach, Neutral Financial expert
    • Litigating Attorneys
  1. Once you and your partner choose one of these separation/divorce processes, we form a professional team, which may include a neutral couch, an attorney for each of you, and a financial expert. We will review and explain the legal and financial options you have concerning:
    • spousal support
    • child support
    • maintenance
    • property distribution
  2. My role and responsibilities as your Collaborative Coach, or Mediator, differ from your Attorney’s role. The focus of his or her half of the process is legal and financial . The other half of the process is emotional. This is where the Coach attends to you and your partner’s emotional needs as well as those of the team.
  3. The  Mediator’s / Coach’s job is to make sure you experience the process as safe and equitable, and the overall process for clients and for the professionals goes as smoothly as possible.

  My Role as Mediator or Divorce Coach 

In general, the Mediator’s and  Coach’s role are similar.  I guide you both to find common ground, where you can each be responsible for your half of this process, whether you are comfortable or not. Photo by Joy Dryer  Wherever you are along this Readiness-to-Separate continuum, people mourn loss and ending in different ways. We work together to help you get past your sense of grief, anger, revenge, despair, loss, regret…whatever your feelings are. And however you wish to talk about them, or not. Specifically, my many decades of experience as a Psychologist helps me in my Mediating/ Coaching role, here I:
    • focus on your feelings and needs, and those of your children. However you feel is our starting point.
    • work with both partners to create the Parenting Plan.
    • take care of the overall process, to be sure the right steps are happening, and to watch out for the inevitable bumps along this difficult road.
Photo by Ian Shand Our work together will benefit the entire family, specifically as you and your partner develop:
    • negotiation skills
    • techniques to control your emotions, especially during heated discussions
    • methods to reduce your stress
    • and to feel calmer

Nine out of ten couples differ in their emotional readiness to separate

The “initiating” spouse may feel clear that it’s time to go, even long overdue. When the “non-initiator” hesitates, perhaps hoping for reconciliation, this imbalance heightens tensions between you, and thus needs immediate attention/ clarification.  No one likes getting an ultimatum from his/her partner (sign this,  agree to this,  or …).  Said another way,  no one wants to feel “done to”/ feel like a “victim”.  I always encourage a We-Two strategy… discussing and arriving at decisions together will save you much heartache in the future. 

 By the time you sign your Separation* Agreement (signing divorce papers is a separate legal step), the goal is for you and your partner to be “accepting” of this life change (even it you don’t “like” it.)