Author Archives: Susan Ingram

Why Mediation Is Better for Couples and Their Children

Family and Divorce Mediator, Susan Ingram, explains Why Mediation Is Better for Couples and Their ChildrenThe majority of the couples I see in divorce mediation have children. Early on in the mediation process, when I ask them to identify their most important concerns, they invariably say that they are most concerned about the well-being of their children during their separation and divorce process – and continuing after they are divorced.

There is no question in my mind that mediation is the best process for most couples when they are divorcing.

The “Good Enough” Settlement Agreement

Divorce and Family Mediator, Susan Ingram, discusses settlement agreements.Exactly what do I mean by a “good-enough” settlement agreement? Although it’s an amusing and somewhat awkward phrase, in the context of family mediation, it has some very positive attributes.

Actually, it’s easier to first describe the opposite of the good-enough agreement. That would be the more-than-enough or have-it-all agreement. To simplify my discussion in this blog, though, let’s just call this other option the “perfect” agreement.

Reflection – What Happens When It’s Not Part of Our Lives?

NYC Family and Divorce Mediator, Susan Ingram, discusses the importance of making time to be being alone for reflection.The New York Times ran an interesting article recently, entitled “No Time to Think.” The author, Kate Murphy, describes a phenomenon that we’ve become all too used to in our modern, high tech society, without questioning whether it’s beneficial for us. “It” is the way we’re running around all the time, over scheduled and exhausted – never having a moment for ourselves.

Integrated Team Mediation: What Is It
and How Can It Benefit You?

NYC Family and Divorce Mediation, Susan Ingram, explains integrated team mediation.For family and divorce mediation to be done as effectively as possible, I believe an integrated team approach must be utilized. I use the term “Integrated Team Mediation” to describe this approach. So what do I mean by this?

First let me explain some basics– at the core of the team is the couple who has come to me to facilitate their discussions, and of course myself, their mediator/attorney. Sometimes a couple’s circumstances are quite straightforward, and they already have all the information they need to make their decisions. For instance, I’ve had couples who don’t have children, have a short-term marriage and have few resources to divvy up. In those instances, typically there is no need to bring in outside professionals.

Can Mediators Be Impartial and Address an Imbalance of Power?

Divorce and Family Mediator, Susan Ingram, discusses maintaing impartiality while keeping parties balanced and informed during the mediation process.In my last blog article, I questioned whether a mediator could be either neutral or impartial. As I discussed, for me personally, the term “impartial” is more relevant – and something I continually strive for when I am mediating with my clients.

How does this actually play-out in a mediation? Sometimes with difficulty and a great deal of challenge. Let’s face it – even with the best of intentions, we’re all just human. I will frequently check-in with myself to question whether I am maintaining an unbiased position toward each of my clients. Then, if I sense there’s an issue, I’ll try my best to adjust my approach.

Can a Mediator Really be Neutral or Impartial?

NYC Family and Divorce Mediator, Susan Ingram, explains the difference between a neutral and impartial mediator.Is it really possible for a mediator to be neutral or impartial with clients?

This is an issue I’ve been grappling with for quite a few years now, ever since I started to mediate. While it hasn’t gotten easier to answer this question, my understanding of this issue has become much deeper and more multi-faceted – and I’m sure will continue to evolve over time. As I share my thoughts on this subject with honesty and an attitude of intellectual curiosity, I invite you, my readers, to keep an open mind and then come to your own conclusions.

As with any discussion of this nature, definitions are extremely important. So I first want to define what I believe is meant by the words “neutral” and “impartial” in the context of mediation.

What’s Perception Got to Do with It?

“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”
~Henry David Thoreau

What's Perception Got to Do With It? By Susan Ingram

What’s perception got to do with it? Everything! Thoreau couldn’t have said it any better. To illustrate this concept on a very personal level, I would like to share with you an experience I had nearly eight years ago. To this day, I continue to reap profound benefits from it.

In the summer of 2006, as I was in the process of switching my career from that of ‘regular lawyer’ to that of coach and mediator, I decided to do something very different that would hopefully assist me in my new endeavors. I enrolled in a 5-day course entitled “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.” This course was based upon a book of the same title written by Betty Edwards, a professor of art with a doctorate in art, education and the psychology of perception.

Special Needs Children and Divorce Mediation

Special Needs Children and Divorce Mediation By Susan IngramOne of the important questions I ask on my mediation intake form is whether or not any of the couple’s children has special needs. If they answer yes, then I know I will need to obtain much more information about the specifics of their child’s situation in order to help the parents address important decisions about their child’s current and future care.

The term ‘special needs’ covers a broad range of conditions, some more serious and long-term than others. It includes physical disabilities, chronic disabilities and mental or cognitive disabilities.

The term ‘special needs’ covers a broad range of conditions, some more serious and long-term than others. It includes physical disabilities, chronic disabilities and mental or cognitive disabilities.

One-Up, One-Down: Power Imbalances in Mediation

One-Up, One-Down: Power Imbalances in Mediation By Susan IngramI recently participated in a discussion with a number of colleagues who are therapists working with couples and their families. We had all just witnessed a divorce mediation session where a couple was discussing the parenting arrangements for their two children, both under the age of ten.

The husband and wife were both foreign-born, although they had lived in New York City for quite a few years and had raised their children here as well. They had decided, because of money issues and a desire to be closer to family, that the mother and children would move back to Italy. The father needed to continue working at his job in New York City, and it was not clear if, or when, he might have the opportunity to move his home to Italy as well.

Purr-fect Wisdom: 6 Life Lessons from Master Percy

NYC Mediator Susan Ingram of uses her cat to share some life lessons that can benefit all.I recently added a beautiful Siberian cat to my household. This is not the first time I’ve decided to share my life with a feline. I’ve owned two other cats before this, spanning a total of 20 years. It’s been over a year since my last cat died. A few months ago I decided to take the leap once more and introduce a new fellow, this time dubbed Percy, into my life.