Author Archives: Susan Ingram

How Long Will This Take?

Divorce and family mediator, Susan Ingram, discusses how long a mediation process may take depending on the circumstances.When I first meet with my clients, they often ask me how long the divorce mediation process will take. My answer is – it depends. In reality, it depends on any number of different factors, such as:

  • How complicated their issues are
  • Whether they have children or not
  • Whether they’re both “on the same page” as to the end of their relationship
  • Whether they’re waiting for certain events to occur (such as the sale of a home) before finalizing their arrangements.

Divorcing Couples and Parenting Plans

Divorce and family mediator, Susan Ingram, discusses divorcing parents and parenting plans.For couples who have children and are divorcing, there’s no more important subject to discuss than their parenting arrangements post-divorce.

As we are working in mediation, my couples sometimes ask if there is a best parenting plan that couples should adopt and follow. The short answer to that question is, no. The slightly longer answer is – no, because so much depends on the unique circumstances and needs of your specific family and its members.

A Valuable Resource for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities

NYC Divorce and Family Attorney/Mediator, Susan Ingram, discusses her role in advocating for children with learning disabilities and provides a good resource for parents.In addition to my work as a family and divorce attorney/mediator, I’ve been involved in the non-profit world for more than 20 years helping children and young adults who have learning disabilities (LD). As often happens with people, I knew nothing about this subject until it touched me personally – when my son, Scott, was diagnosed with dyslexia, the most common form of LD, at the age of seven.

Beware the Well-Intentioned Advice of Friends and Family

Divorce and Family Mediator, Susan Ingram, warns against heeding the advice of non-professional, well-intentioned friends.I suppose it’s only natural that friends and family will volunteer all sorts of information as to what happened to them, or other people they know, when they got divorced. The clients I see in my divorce mediation practice often come to me with preconceived and incorrect information as to what they believe they are “entitled to” as part of their divorce settlement.

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.