Author Archives: Susan Ingram

Mediation and the Decision to Separate or Divorce

{3:10 minutes to read}

Mediation and the Decision to Separate or Divorce By Susan IngramWhen couples first come to me as their mediator, they know that their marriage or relationship is not working and that they do not want to continue together as a couple.

  • Some tell me they want to proceed to divorce as quickly as possible;
  • Others are more comfortable working out the details of a legal separation and waiting to see how that goes before they decide whether, or when, to follow through with the divorce.

The Children’s Bill of Rights

The Children’s Bill of Rights By Susan Ingram{3:42 minutes to read}

Many of the couples I see in my divorce mediation practice have children. Not surprisingly, I find that some parents are more able than others to keep their conflict separate from their relationship with the children. Understandably, this is no small feat, given all of the emotions, anxieties and fears that can arise during this challenging transition from married to separated/divorced.

A Survey Reveals a Huge Disconnect for Couples

{3 minutes to read}

A Survey Reveals a Huge Disconnect for Couples By Susan IngramI heard a startling fact on the radio the other day that really got my attention. The announcer declared that a recently released Fidelity Investments Study had found that “while 72% of couples say they communicate well, 43% of couples cannot correctly identify how much their partner makes.” (For the Study, couples were defined as those who were married or living together in a long-term relationship.)

Whoa! Hold on there!! This was something I, as a veteran communicator and couples mediator, had to learn more about right away.

Mediation and the Tale of the Single Lemon

Mediation and the Tale of the Single Lemon{2.48 minutes to read} In my last blog article, I described my frustration with lawyers and other professionals who undervalue the skills and experience that go into making a good mediator.  As I continued to contemplate this subject, I remembered an excellent “story” I had been told early in my mediation training days to illustrate one of the key principles of mediation.

I’ve dubbed the story “The Tale of the Single Lemon,” although I’ve heard it told with an orange or other fruit as the main focus. Of course, it doesn’t really matter what type of edible it is. So let’s just get to the tale itself and its possible outcomes….

“Oh Yeah, I Do That, Too”

“Oh Yeah, I Do That Too”{3:48 minutes to read}  With a title like that, you’re probably saying to yourself, “what in the world is she talking about?” I will explain, but first let me give you a little bit of my background, so you will have a better understanding of where I’m coming from.

I have been a licensed attorney for over 30 years. For many of those years, I practiced traditional law in corporate legal departments and in my own law firm. Over time, I became disillusioned with the rigid win-lose approach toward negotiating and the lack of true communication between the parties.

What Are 2 Basic Requirements for Mediation?

What Are 2 Basic Requirements for Mediation By Susan Ingram{2:48 minutes to read}  Taking it down to the bare bones, I believe there are really only two essential elements that need to be present in order for a mediation to be viable and ultimately productive.

Willingness to Dialogue

Certainly there needs to be a basic willingness to come together and talk to each other. This does not, however, mean that the participants:

  • Need to have the same degree of commitment to dialogue, or;
  • Feel comfortable speaking with the other.

Can Conflict Be Good?

Can Conflict Be Good By Susan Ingram{3.06 minutes to read}    “Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely…” – Karen Kaiser Clark.

Many people, when in conflict, see it as something bad and unsettling and, indeed, it can be.  Alternatively, conflict can often be good. How can this be so?

There are 2 sides to conflict – one is productive and the other is unproductive. As to which of these approaches will prevail, that very much depends upon the attitude and approach of the participants.

How Can “Skip Track” Be Helpful in Divorce Mediation?

How Can "Skip Track" Be Helpful in Divorce Mediation? By Susan Ingram{2:36 minutes to read} In my last blog, I talked about hitting “The Pause” button at any stage during mediation, and how doing so may benefit a couple both pragmatically and emotionally. Alternatively, I’ve been asked whether sometimes it might be appropriate to hit the “Skip Track” button instead.

The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes.” At times, I find the best thing I can do as a mediator is to help a couple move the conversation along…

Hitting the Pause Button in Divorce Mediation

Hitting the Pause Button in Divorce Mediation By Susan Ingram{3 minutes to read}  Most divorce mediations can be resolved within a matter of months. By ‘resolved’ I mean that, within that timeframe, the couple will have:

  • participated in a number of sessions to discuss their issues,
  • come to an understanding on these issues, and
  • reviewed and executed a legal document (a settlement agreement) that sets out everything they’ve agreed upon.

Sounds like a pretty quick and efficient process, especially given the seriousness and importance of the subject matter. And many times the mediation process can be completed within a 4-8 month timeframe. (Just as an aside, a contested divorce, where both parties have separate attorneys, will very likely take, not months, but 1-2 years or more to resolve.)

Ahhhhh . . . . . Silence

NYC divorce and family mediator, Susan Ingram, explores the importance of silence in our noisy, chaotic world. {2:12 minutes to read}  I’ve been thinking a lot these days about SILENCE, or rather, the lack thereof. You see, I live in an apartment in New York City. As it happens, not just one but two of my neighbors (on either side of me, no less) are renovating their apartments right now. As you can imagine, this makes for much congestion, mess, and NOISE.

This difficult situation triggered my thinking about SILENCE in more depth and contemplating its significance to me and others.

Certainly I know that allowing myself time for SILENCE and contemplation is important and a nurturing activity for me. It helps to ground me in an otherwise hectic world and enable me to move forward with empathy and understanding, as well as focus and determination.