Blog: Ellen’s Divorce Tips

An image of an inkwell and a fountain pen.

From time to time, I will post suggestions, ideas and tips about divorce, mediation, helping children through divorce, and other related subjects. If you would like to comment on what appears here, feel free to email me through the Contact Me page. If your comments are relevant and helpful, I will post them here. Let me know if you want your name included or excluded from the posting. You may even send comments about your mediation experience—either with me or another mediator (no names, please). And if you want to share your litigation experience, feel free to write and I may post those remarks, too. Keep checking for updates. Something may appear that will be exactly what you need to hear to move forward.


Freddie is my 13 ½ year old Labrador retriever.  She is by my side when I am writing Separation Agreements and court papers - and often in the office when clients are with me in mediation. There are occasions when she prefers to take her nap in one of her beds outside the room in which I am mediating, but when she awakens and realizes there is serious business going on in the room next to her, she comes in to say hello and then settles back again to nap in our presence.  …

Sex Abuse of Children - Myths I Have Heard - #1

Years ago, a grown woman who had not yet had children of her own, looked me square in the eye and declared with absolute certainty that 100% of adults who were molested as children grow up to be child molesters.  

I tried to explain to this woman that she had it backwards.  I explained to her that many or most - or maybe even all, but I doubt it  - child molesters might have been molested themselves - but this was a very different statement than the one she had just made.

No Recorders!

Mediation should be a private and confidential process.  The promise of confidentiality is not quite the same as the attorney-client confidentiality governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers, because there are two clients in the session with the attorney-mediator, not just one; and each one is entitled to know the communications that go between the mediator and the other person.  The Rules of Professional Conduct regarding confidentiality for lawyers (who are not serving as mediators) apply to the one-on-one relationship between a lawyer and her solitary client.  …

Accepting Help

Some people arrive at mediation with more than an outline of how they wish to see their divorce resolved.  They arrive with certain issues carved in stone.  Unmovable.  Even stubborn.  

For example (hypothetically), a wife who will receive alimony wants her husband to maintain his $1,000,000.00 term life insurance policy - not only to protect the much smaller amount of alimony to which she will be entitled  (for which insurance protection is standard in many divorces), but for the remainder of her life 

Thoughts On Shared Physical Custody

For whose benefit is it to provide two separate homes for the children with equal time in each home?   The best way to begin answering this question is to begin with the statement:  “The children would be better off having two different houses to call home because _________.”     If you can finish that sentence, your children might be among the few who would benefit from splitting their time equally between two houses.

When parents come to mediation already considering a shared physiscal custody arrangement, most of the sentences in defense of this idea begin with the word “I”. 

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