Month: August 2014

College Blues?

Heart and BrainLabor Day is almost here and it’s that time of year when new and returning college student’s pack up their rooms at home and head back to their dorm or off-campus housing.

And how are the parents doing? It is an emotional time for all of us, students and parents. The emotions are mixed. Our head says one thing and our hearts may say another. Those of us with freshmen college students leaving the nest for the first time may be very sad or excited for their student, or some combination of both, while some parents may be feeling a sense of relief that their child is “finally” out of the house.

It is okay to miss your child, but be excited and encouraging for their new “adventure”. Homesickness is a normal part of the process for both the student and their parents. Encourage their new independence. The number one reason students leave college and don’t return is they have failed to make a connection with someone or something at the school, so encourage them to get involved and take advantage of activities.

No matter what emotions you have, it can be a very stressful time for you and your spouse and you may not see eye to eye on how to deal with new challenges. If you need help working through any of the stresses, emotional, financial, etc., consider mediation to help you and your spouse work through this time of change and transition. Marital Mediation focuses on specific issues and helps you both move forward.

Contact us at 585-244-2444 or email us at [email protected]

Who will pay for college?

Education costsParents often have conflict about how to pay for their children’s college education and those who are divorcing wonder if there is prescribed formula for the payment of college expenses. While the New York State Child Supports Standards Act recognizes that education is an add on expense (something that is above and beyond every day expenses), there is no formula.

Every family’s values are different regarding higher education and each family arrives at their own agreement. For example, some families agree that each parent will pay a set dollar amount per year, others to pay for a 2-year school and re-evaluate, others expect their child to contribute by paying one-third of the total cost through work and student loans, others feel the child should be 100% responsible, and others agree to pay a full ride wherever the child is accepted. These are only a few examples and the possibilities are as varied as the family. Some things you might consider are:

*As a married couple, did you intend to pay for college or not?

*If you planned to help with college, was there a limit to how much you could or would pay?

*If monies for college are set aside and there was a plan in place to continue saving during the marriage, how might that change as the result of a separation or divorce?

*If you have no savings in place and a mountain of debt, is it realistic to expect to pay for your children’s college education?

Whatever you decide, it is helpful for the child to know in advance what the plans are. That way, if he or she wants to begin working and saving during high school or attend a trade school or two-year college to save money, they will be prepared. You may even want to tell your child about fundraising ideas for college, many fundraising platforms see campaigns created by children and young adults wishing to gain financial help for a college education. This may be something that could help you and your child pay those tuition fees.

Your mediator can help facilitate this discussion whether you are married, divorcing, or divorced. Call for an appointment today at 585-244-2444 or email [email protected].

Balanced is the New Busy

mini conf photo “Balanced is the New Busy: Practicing Self-Care in a Frantic World”  — Keynote Kristen Skarie.

The New York State Council on Divorce Mediation is presenting a fantastic conference Saturday September 6, 2014 at the Inn on the Lake, in Canandaigua, New York where the Keynote Speaker- Kristen Skarie will speak on the topic “Balanced is the New Busy: Practicing Self-Care in a Frantic World”. This promises to be a great opportunity for to refresh our minds and add new skills to our toolkits as divorce mediators.  The program includes tools for managing mental health concerns, best practices, pensions, spousal maintenance and issues related to the “Gray Divorce” (the over 50 age group).  The venue is right on the shores of beautiful Canandaigua Lake, in the glorious Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York!  We look forward to getting together with our fellow divorce mediators and any other individuals interested in the attending the program.  You can find the registration form online at  Or contact Julie Mersereau, or Barbara Kimbrough at 244-2444 for more information, or email us at [email protected]

Who’s getting ‘divorced’ with you?

Cracked egg -screen size   When you decide that staying in a marriage or long-term relationship is no longer healthy or possible, you realize that you are ending a relationship with your spouse or partner. Who else is getting divorced with you?

Of course if you have children, you realize it will be difficult for them. They will be ‘divorced’ from having a two-parent home. If both parents move to new homes, they will be ‘divorced’ from the home they are used to. They may be ‘divorced’ from friends who live in their current neighborhood and the school they were attending. They may also be getting ‘divorced’ from their ballet class, soccer team, boy or girl scout troop, etc. They will be ‘divorced’ from the security of having parents who care for them jointly.

Your parents and in-laws may be getting ‘divorced’ from the other spouse/partner. They may also be getting ‘divorced’ from their grandchildren in terms of the holidays, vacations and other times they previously shared.

You and your spouse/partner’s mutual friends may well end up being ‘divorced’ from one or the other of you because they find it too hard to maintain a friendship with both.

In certain religions where divorce is not readily accepted, you may be getting ‘divorced’ from that religious community.

None of these are reasons for you not to end the relationship, but all of them need to be thought through, so that new support systems can be put in place, new activities scheduled for children, new holiday traditions implemented, and new friends made—for everyone involved in your divorce.