Sabra Law Group Interview with Child & Marriage Therapist Antonia Di Leo

In this latest “Ask the Experts” blog series with Sabra Law Group, the law firm
interviews New York based experts in child and marriage therapy. This particular
interview is with Antonia Di Leo, licensed marriage and family therapist and
clinical director at Cornell & Associates Marriage and Family Therapy in New
York City.

When should you consider marriage therapy/counseling?

“Marriage counseling or couple therapy could be beneficial prior to getting
married. We have many couples who engage in premarital counseling to work
through difficult topics that often come up during the marriage.”

How do you convince your partner to participate in marriage counseling?

“If your spouse is not comfortable with counseling, it might be helpful to suggest
books to read together, look through a few websites to get a feel for some
therapists and then possibly offer to have a call with a therapist to see if it's a
good fit. Alternatively, you can partake in individual counseling to work through
coping strategies in the marriage.”

What are some things you should and shouldn’t say in marriage therapy, if
there’s anything off the table?

“During therapy, it is best if the couple stays on task and does not blame or
criticize their partner in order to keep the conversation moving forward.”

If you have a family law issue, contact the Sabra Law Group in Manhattan at
(646) 472-7971. The firm’s expertise is in all forms of family law, such as
alimony, divorce, prenuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, child custody
battles, child support, domestic violence, and restraining orders.

Manhattan Mediator Explains How to Determine if You Should Get Divorced

Does the tension in your marriage build every day? At night, you toss and turn, trying to decide if it's time to say goodbye.

Getting married was a momentous decision, and deciding to part is at least as critical. Here are some guidelines for how to determine if you should get divorced.

Look for the Warning Signs

Certain signs can tell you if it's time to end your marriage. One of them is the persistent feeling that you'd be better off alone. Perhaps you feel this way because your needs are no longer being met. When you got married, you viewed your relationship as a partnership. Each spouse was dedicated to fulfilling the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of the other. When you feel that your needs are consistently going unmet, it may be time to seek a divorce.

Are You Staying in the Marriage Only for the Sake of the Children?

If you're looking for more evidence, then ask yourself if you're only staying together for the kids. Many parents fall into this trap, but that's precisely what it is. Staying in a toxic marriage isn't healthy for you or the kids. It's far better to go your own way and lead healthier, separate lives.

Consider Going to Counseling to Repair Your Marriage

What steps have you taken to try to repair your marriage? Many couples try counseling, and this can be successful. It's a good idea to give counseling a shot. Even if things don't work out, at least you'll know you gave it your best. If you've been through counseling and you're still miserable, then it's time to call it quits.
Recognize When it is Time to Leave a Bad Marriage

As a Manhattan mediator can tell you, it's time to leave a marriage when the partnership is seen as the lesser of two evils. Don't stay in a marriage just because you think it's the easier route. Divorce can cause considerable disruption, but it also gives you both the opportunity to build new, happier lives. You can even make choices, like opting for mediation over litigation, that makes the process less acrimonious. 

Divorce Doesn’t Have to Be Negative

When you work with a Manhattan mediator, you'll learn that it is possible to make divorce a more positive process that can settle major issues more efficiently and privately. Couples who choose mediation are able to start creating their new lives sooner than those who choose to go to court.

Speak to a Manhattan Mediator to Determine the Best Route for Your Divorce

If you would like to speak with a Manhattan mediator to learn more about how to determine if you should get divorced, call the Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971.







How to Negotiate House Rules During COVID-19 With Your Soon-to-Be Ex

negotiate house rulesWere you in the midst of contemplating divorce when COVID-19 hit? If so, then you may find yourself stuck at home with someone who's difficult to get along with.

Fortunately, it's possible to negotiate house rules that will see you through the crisis. Doing so may show you that divorce can be more amicable and productive than you might have imagined.

Sit down to negotiate house rules with your spouse. A little straight talk can go a long way toward cutting down on angst and disagreements. Consider discussing ideas for some basic ground rules by which everyone in your home will need to abide.

This can also work for families where the parents are already living separate and apart and there is a parenting, visitation and access plan in place to ensure that both households are practicing the same or similar safety measures to protect themselves, the children and all occupants of both households.

Start with defining the purpose and goal of the ground rules.  For instance, to keep the family safe, minimize any possible exposure to the Coronavirus, clarity, and agreement of what we feel are the safety precautions that are necessary and reasonable given all of the information that we know. 
Examples of these rules include:

-Leaving the house only for groceries and doctor appointments
-Not allowing anyone outside of your household into the house
-Walks with people outside of your household are not allowed
-Refrain from going into other peoples' homes

Taking precautions a bit further, consider providing face masks and gloves to anyone in the household who leaves the home, deciding whether to remove shoes and change all or only certain garments of clothing and whether to shower immediately after returning to the home after grocery shopping or running other essential errands. Another sensible measure may include establishing a daily cleaning checklist and dividing chores such that each spouse will perform the chores on alternate days.

The ideas in this blog article are merely suggestions and you and your partner will likely have different opinions on the extent of the ground rules that you both establish together. Look at the CDC guidelines, talk with extended family and friends and find out what other families are doing.  It is important that you both work together and develop terms that you both can agree upon and live with.  Remember, you are in this together. So, if either of you balks at any of the suggestions and other restrictions that either of you proposes, you will want to focus on the fact that you are each heavily dependent upon each other in this situation and safety is paramount. Your movements and behavior may be restricted for a few weeks or months, but it is only with the goal of deriving the most benefit not only for your family but also for all of society.

A spouse who puts his or her foot down and refuses to abide by the new house rules may need to look for somewhere else to live. Alternatively, you may want to seek out a new spot in which to shelter in place if that's possible. If not, then it's wise to separate yourself from your spouse by sealing yourself up in your room and coming out at designated times for necessary purposes.

If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are butting heads during the quarantine, then perhaps it's time to arrange for a conflict resolution virtual session with a legal professional from Sabra Law Group. This service is available to couples and families who are seeking creative solutions to challenging problems.

Call Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971 to speak with a legal professional about conflict resolution, divorce mediation, and other related family law matters.






Why Mediation is the Best Option for a Peaceful and Harmonious Divorce

Peaceful and Harmonious Divorce Divorce is a painful life transition. While it's normal to experience negative emotions such as loss, fear, and anger, this doesn't mean that divorce has to be acrimonious.

It is possible to have a peaceful divorce. Keep in mind that "peaceful" is not the same thing as easy. Many challenges are inherent in amicable separations. Nonetheless, couples who resolve to respect themselves, each other and their children will find that they avoid many pitfalls.

Mediation has many advantages over litigation. It keeps the family out of the court, which translates to better relationships afterward. It's also settled more quickly, and it's always less expensive.

Another advantage is that it puts the couple in control. If they can work together, they have an opportunity to work toward real-world solutions that are ideal for their unique family.

Many couples also prefer mediation because it's more discrete. Anything that's litigated becomes public knowledge. Conversely, the proceedings involved with mediation remain confidential.

A harmonious divorce is hard work, but it is not impossible. It frequently begins with the couple deciding that they aren't going to blame each other. By the time you've made the decision to separate, a great deal has already been said and done. Blame doesn't serve a useful purpose during the divorce. Choosing to avoid blame is tough. However, it is a choice that is in your power to make, and it means moving forward with a more peaceful and harmonious outlook that will serve you and your family in the future.

If you want your divorce to be an amicable one, then it's also sensible to keep the big picture in mind. It requires the right mindset and choosing to focus on the end goal. And not letting minor and petty issues derail your good intentions. Divorce proceedings don't have to drag on for years, especially if you stay focused on what's really important. Things like your children, your health and the security of your financial standing are all more critical than punishing your former spouse.

If you want to learn more about why mediation is the best option for a peaceful and harmonious divorce, then contact the Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971 to schedule a confidential consultation.


Why Divorce Doesn’t Have to Be a Financial Disaster

Financial DisasterMany pressing concerns arise when divorce is on the horizon. Children are the primary focus, but it is nearly as vital to concentrate on financial concerns. The more stable and predictable your economic security is, the better able you'll be to take care of yourself and your children.

Regardless of whether your divorce is acrimonious or not, it's important to give early consideration to financial matters. This typically involves opening personal banking accounts that are in your name only. Accordingly, your former spouse won't have access to any funds in these accounts. It is advisable to inform your spouse about the new banking accounts simply so that you cannot be accused of hiding money.

If you and your spouse have joint credit accounts, now is an excellent time to close them. You can always decide how to divide any outstanding debts through divorce mediation.

Additionally, if there are joint investment accounts, you might consider withdrawing half the money, reserving the other half for your spouse. Other couples decide to require the signature of both parties on any transactions dealing with an investment account. This ensures that no one has an opportunity to hide funds.

Many divorcing couples further decide to get their own post office boxes as they go through the divorce process. In the event of an acrimonious divorce, it's not unusual for one spouse to hide correspondence from the other. The result could be missed bill payments and other money-related chaos.

The best way to prevent money from complicating a divorce is to sign a thoughtful prenuptial agreement before tying the knot. These contracts can be highly customized to reflect your family's unique circumstances. They may address who is responsible for student loan debt and who gets your grandmother's antique clock if the marriage doesn't last.

A prenuptial agreement may include provisions for the support of a non-working spouse in the event of a divorce. This may include alimony payments and other considerations that are left to the discretion of the couple.

Each family's situation is unique. A well-written prenup takes this into account. In fact, it may be the primary means of protecting your money, and it can be revised to reflect your changing economic status.

If you are ready to learn more about how you can protect yourself from a financial standpoint in the event of a divorce, contact the Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971.


Fallout from Ashley Madison: How to Handle Betrayal

The Ashley Madison scandal has destroyed thousands of marriages. The website targeted married individuals who wished to have an affair. Hackers recently breached Ashley Madison servers and released the names, credit card information, addresses, and sexual preferences of millions of users—all of which was easily searchable online. Clearly, many relationships were negatively affected by this revelation. Clearly, those whose names were associated with the website were in trouble with their spouses.

Although online dating websites, such as Ashley Madison, have seemingly made straying much easier, infidelity has plagued marriages since well before the Internet came into existence. If your partner has cheated on you, it does not mean the marriage is over. With hard work and dedication, you may rebuild your relationship and trust your partner again.  (We have an upcoming interview with NYC marital therapist, Elisabeth Mandel LMFT, who discusses Tips to Safeguard Your Marriage from Infidelity, that will air on our weekly program www.CoffeeBreakwithSabra.com on October 21.) 

First, have a candid conversation with your spouse, and keep it calm and civil. Ask your partner why he or she strayed. In many cases, a partner feels neglected at home, and seeks attention elsewhere. Had your partner expressed to you that he or she felt lonely? In many cases, working on open communication will prevent such betrayals from happening again.

Your partner should also cease all communication with his or her paramour while you work past this devastating event.

Next, although it will be hard, you will have to learn to trust your partner again. For this step, it is wise to seek the assistance of a counselor. You will likely create new terms for your relationship as you try to heal. As time goes by, remember to focus on the present: do not be quick to react to actions that you feel are signs of cheating, as you will likely be reacting to the initial betrayal for some time.  And your partner must now be willing to give you assurances of his/her faithfulness – even if that includes revealing communications and phone records.

With open communication and renewed loyalty to each other, and much effort by both partners, the two of you will be able to repair your relationship.

For more information, listen to our interview with our guest on our weekly program Coffee Break with Sabra on October 21.  Access the interview here.

Manhattan Child Custody Attorney Shares 3 Tips on Successful Joint Custody Arrangements

Manhattan Child Custody Attorney













Manhattan Child Custody Attorney Sabra Sasson Shares 3 Tips on Successful Joint Custody Arrangements  

Put Your Child's Interest First

It is imperative to remember that the child's best interest is paramount. In determining the best child custody arrangement, it is important to consider:

  • Child's age
  • Child's personality
  • Child's academic and extra-curricular activities
  • Overall family schedule
  • Career and social commitments of each parent
  • Distance between parents' homes

Develop a Successful Parenting Plan

A parenting plan helps parents establish principles and guidelines for each other and their child.  A successful parenting plan may include:

  • Schedule regarding where and with whom the child will reside on a day-to-day basis
  • Schedule of how holidays and school vacations are handled
  • List of who makes important decisions on matters that impact the child

If either parent violates a joint custody agreement, either parent may seek to enforce the parenting plan in the appropriate Family Court.  The Court will first review any existing parenting plan between the parents in making its decision which is why it is important to have your agreement in writing, preferably with the assistance of legal counsel who can properly draft the provisions to reflect the agreement.

Practice Effective Communication

Even if you do not have a good relationship with your ex, make sure that you are not arguing in front of your child.  Considerations in developing an effective way of communicating with your ex may include:

  • Utilizing email to clearly communicate your point
  • Agreeing upon the preferred method of communication concerning your child
  • Putting aside your personal feelings and agenda
  • Focusing on having conversations that enhance the child's well-being

Joint custody is never ideal for a child, however, it is possible to have a successful joint custody arrangement if there is cooperation between the parents and a clearly defined parenting plan.

For more tips on developing a successful joint custody arrangement, contact Manhattan child custody attorney, Sabra Sasson, at (646) 472-7971 for a free consultation.