Author Archives: Susan Ingram

Divorce Mediation: Putting Together the Pieces of a Puzzle

Divorce Mediation: Putting Together the Pieces of a Puzzle by Susan Ingram{2:30 minutes to read} When I first meet with my mediation clients I explain that, through the course of our sessions, they will be making decisions concerning many important issues, including:

  • Dividing the funds in their retirement accounts
  • Sharing parenting time with their children
  • Paying child support and other expenses for the children
  • Keeping the marital home or selling it
  • Paying maintenance (alimony) to a spouse
  • Filing for divorce immediately, or waiting for a period of time

Putting Post-Divorce Mediation to Good Use

Putting Post-Divorce Mediation to Good Use by Susan Ingram{3:12 minutes to read} Once my couples have made their various decisions during our mediation sessions, I proceed to draft their settlement agreement. This is the document that memorializes everything they’re agreed upon.

It’s important for the agreement to be as detailed as possible, to avoid problems in the future. Yet, especially when a couple will be living under the agreement for many years (such as when they have young children), it also needs to provide some flexibility for future changes.

Finding the Parenting Plan That Is the “Right Fit”

{2:48 minutes to read}

Finding the Parenting Plan That Is the “Right Fit” by Susan IngramI received a call earlier this week from Jane*, a potential mediation client. During our chat, I proceeded to describe the mediation process and the issues we would be addressing. When I asked Jane if she had any specific concerns she would like me to address, she revealed that she was worried about the tentative parenting arrangement she had worked out with her husband for their 5-year-old son, Benjamin*.

As Jane described the situation, both she and her husband are very involved and loving parents and they each want to spend close-to-equal time with their son. The husband had intentionally moved to an apartment in Manhattan just three blocks from Jane so that Benjamin could sleep at his apartment during the week and still have his daily routine remain the same. They were also alternating weekends with Benjamin. She said this arrangement seemed to be working well for all of them.

Common Bonds Between Mediation and Hostage Negotiation

Common Bonds Between Mediation and Hostage Negotiation By Susan Ingram{2:43 minutes to read} I recently attended a symposium in New York City that was presented by the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation. The first presenter, Lt. Jack Cambria, retired from the NYPD after 33 years of service. His final and most important position was that of chief hostage negotiator for NYPD’s elite hostage negotiation team.

His talk, entitled “Lessons on Conflict Resolution from an NYPD Hostage Negotiator,” revealed many common approaches and goals between our two professions.

Treat people with respect

Thoughts on Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Thoughts on Thanksgiving and Gratitude By Susan Ingram{4:36 minutes to read} Here I am sitting at my computer on the night before the Thanksgiving holiday trying to pull together my divergent thoughts and find the appropriate words to write this blog on the subject of Gratitude. I’m finding this task especially challenging this year, given the events over the past two weeks beginning with the terror attacks in Paris. Everything we hear and read in the news seems to underscore the violence, despair and fear that exist throughout the world. On a global scale, it’s hard for me, and I’m sure many others, not to feel overwhelmed by the sheer negativity of these events.

As a human being, mother, mediator, peacemaker and peacebuilder, I know that the cultivation of gratitude needs to begin on a very personal level. By that I mean we need to feel and express it first in our closest relationships – with our family, friends, co-workers, and local communities.

Children and Chronic Illness: Type 1 Diabetes

Children and Chronic Illness: Type 1 Diabetes By Susan Ingram{4:30 minutes to read} The NY Times recently published a detailed article on how school systems in the U.S. are failing to adequately care for students with Type 1 diabetes. What an eye-opener this was! And it’s because I know quite a bit about this subject that it was even more of an eye opener for me. How did I come to be so knowledgeable about this issue? Here is a little background information.

My son, Scott, who is 29 years old now, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was just 5. Type 1 diabetes is a serious illness that requires insulin to be given by injection (or insulin pump) and frequent monitoring of blood sugar levels. If something goes awry, the child can become unconscious, have diabetic seizures, and in extreme situations, even die.

Curls of Wisdom: Trusting in the Process

Curls of Wisdom: Trusting in the Process By Susan Ingram{3:06 minutes to read} I have naturally curly hair. Of course, in my youth I always wanted long straight locks. The type that when you flirtingly tilted your head would gracefully cascade to the side. Or that you could sweep into a beautiful chignon with just a few flicks of your wrist. But, alas, that was not to be. Thank goodness, I came to terms with this by my early ‘30s, when I started to really enjoy my natural curls.

Now fast-forward a few decades. About a year ago, I had to change hair stylists. (That’s another story!) We curly-haired types know that “The Cut” is everything. My new hair stylist, Elana, was excellent with The Cut, but she had a different way of drying my hair afterwards so that my curls ended up being what I thought were too tight and “un-natural” looking. So…each time after she cut and dried my hair, I would return home and wash it again immediately. Yes, I know that sounds crazy – and I would never admit it to Elana.

Last month when I went for my routine haircut, things happened a little differently.

Can Conflict Be Viewed as an Opportunity?

Can Conflict Be Viewed as an Opportunity? By Susan Ingram{3:06 minutes to read} I can just hear my readers muttering under their breath, “Oh no, there she goes again – talking about how wonderful conflict is.” In fact, several months ago I wrote a blog entitled “Can Conflict Be Good?” In that article, I spoke about productive versus unproductive conflict. For productive conflict to occur, typically there needs to be a degree of flexibility and an openness to understanding the needs of the other party(ies).

Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting: Which Approach Is Best for Your Family?

Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting: Which Approach Is Best for Your Family? By  Susan Ingram{3:02 minutes to read} In my last blog, I talked about some of the challenges that separating and divorcing couples face when they are putting together a parenting plan for their children. Now I would like to explore the two basic approaches that parents can take when creating their parenting plans. One is referred to as Cooperative Parenting and the other as Parallel Parenting.

Just from their names, it sounds like there’s a significant difference between the two approaches. And there is – although either approach can work satisfactorily, given the specific personalities and circumstances of each family. So, as a basic guideline, the first thing that needs to be determined is how well the parents are able to get along, and communicate with each other.

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.