Author Archives: Susan Ingram

Divorcing Couples and the Parenting Plan Balancing Act

Divorcing Couples and the Parenting Plan Balancing Act By Susan Ingram{3:18 minutes to read} For separating and divorcing parents, often the biggest concern they have is how their children will fare through this difficult process and going forward.

While none of us can look into our crystal ball and predict the future, it is clear from research that the #1 factor that causes harm to the children of divorcing couples is the amount of conflict between their parents. The more intense the conflict, the greater the likelihood of harm to the children.

Why Isn’t Divorce Mediation More Popular?

Why Isn’t Divorce Mediation More Popular? By Susan Ingram{3:54 minutes to read} I believe that divorce mediation should be the first choice for the majority of couples who are separating or divorcing. So then, why isn’t the divorce mediation process used more frequently by couples?

I’ve been pondering this question for a number of years now. My role as chair of the Public Awareness Committee of our statewide NY State Council on Divorce Mediation has helped inform me on this subject, as our organization has tried to bridge the knowledge gap for divorcing couples.

What’s So Special About a Roundabout?

What’s So Special About a Roundabout? By Susan Ingram{3:02 minutes to read} My mind has been focused on “roundabouts” for the past several weeks. This might sound strange, but there’s really a good reason for it. First of all, I happened upon an intriguing article in the NY Times about a month ago on the increasing use of roundabouts in the U.S. And then, over the past two weeks I’ve been vacationing in Europe, which is the ‘birthplace’ of the modern roundabout. So I’ve had an opportunity to see and enjoy many of these engineering designs up-close during my travels.

Are You Really Listening?

Are You Really Listening? By Susan Ingram{2:54 minutes to read} Recently, I came upon the Chinese character for the word “Listening.” I was fascinated to learn that the character is comprised of 5 separate symbols related to listening. The meaning of those 5 symbols is discussed below.


Since our ears are the part of our bodies that enables us to hear sound, they are the most obvious component of listening and typically the first thing we think of. Yet, according to the Chinese, the ears comprise only 1 of the 5 elements. So, continuing on….

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.