Month: March 2014

Telling Your Spouse You Want to Divorce

Deciding to divorce is a very personal choice and figuring out how to tell your spouse can be difficult. Here are some things to consider:

  • Select a time and place to talk when you are both well-rested, well-fed, and free from interruption or distractions;
  • If you have children, make sure they will not be present and allow enough of time with them away to fully have this important discussion, as well as to recover somewhat;
  • Rehearse what you will say and how you will say it;
  • Take responsibility for your own decision, using “I” statements;
  • Keep blame out of the conversation–you are trying to move forward, not backward;
  • You know your spouse very well, so imagine the reactions you might receive and prepare in advance for how you will handle them;
  • Work with a counselor to consider how you will feel when your spouse reacts and how you can manage those emotions.

Mediation can help to minimize the negative impacts associated with divorce. When you and your spouse are ready, working with a mediator can help to minimize conflict and keep the focus on your children and outcomes that will work for the whole family moving forward.

Update on Child Support and Temporary Maintenance in NYS parents, attorneys, mediators and anyone else that has an interest in Child Support and Temporary Maintenance calculations there have been changes effective January 31, 2014.  These changes are required by the statute to occur every year on January 31st.

The new income levels that may affect the amount of a child support obligation are as follows:

  • Combined Parental Income Amount: $141,000
  • Self-Support Reserve: $15,755
  • Poverty Income Guidelines Amount (single person): $11,670

You can find the New York State Child Support Standards Chart online at .  This chart is released each year around April 1.  The chart that is currently posted is the 2013 chart and does not include the new income levels referenced above.  You should check online for the new chart in April.

The new Income Cap under the Temporary Maintenance Guidelines has been adjusted from $524,000 to $543,000.  You can find revisions to the Temporary Maintenance Worksheet at and the changes have also been made to the Temporary Maintenance Calculator which is found at

It is important to note that the application of these guidelines may vary depending the particular facts of each case.  The Court may deviate from these guidelines depending on the circumstances of each case as it is presented.  Parties who choose mediation, collaborative law or who negotiate a settlement through attorneys may reach any agreement that varies from the strict application of these guidelines. [author_info]Julie V. Mersereau, Esq. is a Divorce Mediator and Collaborative Law Attorney with offices at the Mediation Center.

The Emotional Process of Separation or Divorce

The emotional process for a divorce or separation is very different for everyone and most times, the couples we see coming in for mediation are in very different places emotionally as individuals. One person in the relationship has made the decision to divorce or separate and the other person is still in “save the marriage” mode.

How do people who are in very different emotional places with the relationship mediate? It isn’t easy when one of the spouses is already “checked out” of the marriage and the other spouse in still holding on and wants to work on things. A majority of the time, the spouse who has initiated the divorce or separation has made the decision a long time ago and has had months and even times years to process the dissolution of the marriage in their head and their heart. The spouse playing catch up has a lot of mental processing to do and needs time to wrap their head and heart around what is happening. Couples going through such a huge life change are caught in a cycle of grief not un-similar to the cycle of grief people go through from the death of a loved one. The marriage is over, it is a loss whether you want the divorce or not.

Mediation for divorce or separation allows the couple to work at a pace that is best for both people involved, allowing the spouse who has not had as much time to process what is happening the pace and time to be involved in the decision making while still allowing the spouse who is ready to move forward to start making the decisions necessary for the separation or divorce. Mediation also provides the privacy and environment that promotes good communication and healthy decision making along with processing the loss of the relationship. Mediation facilitates not only the divorce or separation process, but also the emotional process critical for people to move forward.