Thursday, October 17, 2013

Do Court Orders Protect from Violence or Can They Potentially Increase its Threat?

“Litigation: A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.”
– Ambrose Bierce
New York City Mediation Law Attorney Alla Roytberg of discusses court orders and their lack of protection against domestic violence.Do any of you see disturbing patterns in recent news? Patterns where people who, as it turns out later, have mental health issues, end up snapping and committing murder? These patterns are not limited to our country and unfortunately, they are becoming more and more frequent, especially in the area of family disputes.
In September 2013, a man kidnapped his small children in Tel Aviv, Israel, and ended up throwing them off an 11-story building, then taking his own life. That man, whose name was Eli Gur was estranged from his wife. After being found “unfit for duty” and released from the police force, Gur lost his mother and was living with his brother in her house. There was a restraining order in place and he could only visit his children under a social worker’s supervision. However, the court order did not prevent him from storming into his wife’s home, choking her, snatching the children and taking off. Click here to read more.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mediating Secondary Education in NYC

By Lara Traum (mediator with the Law Firm and Mediation Practice of Alla Roytberg, P.C.)
“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”
― Victor Hugo
New York City Mediation Law Attorney Lara Traum of discusses navigating secondary education options in New York City and explains how mediation can help divorcing parents through the decision-making process.In a city of unique academic options and restrictions, parental decision-making is perhaps the single most significant force that determines a child’s educational path. Unlike the idyllic American dream that depicts a wholesome Brady bunch in a balanced local high school, successfully stumbling through a system of well meaning and artful instructors, the school system in New York City is varied, inconsistent, competitive, and without guarantee.
Just as some kindergarteners spend their afternoons with tutors, preparing for admission into elite elementary school programs, many of New York’s seventh graders spend their summers indoors, drilling for the gamble of the specialized high school’s admissions test. As competition becomes more fierce and programs become more rigorous, more and more parents are finding it necessary to adjust their children’s educational plan. Click here to read more.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Housing Issues for Families – Part 3

The House

New York City Mediation Law Attorney Alla Roytberg of continues her series on real estate issues during divorce, this time taking on the house.When people own a house, their proof of ownership is a deed, and very often in a marriage, the deed states that the house is owned by both husband and the wife together. In New York State, this ownership is called “tenants by the entirety” and it means that if something happens to one of the spouses the house ownership automatically passes to the surviving spouse.
Sometimes, if parties divorce and still want to retain the house jointly in the future, they would switch their ownership from being “tenants by the entirety” to becoming “tenants in common.” A tenancy in common is a basic type of ownership by partners, where if one of the partners passes away, his or her interest gets transferred to his/her individual heirs rather than to the remaining owner. If owners are not married to each other but want the ownership of the house to pass to surviving owners, they would ordinarily state on the deed that their ownership is as “joint tenants with right of survivorship.”
In a separation or divorce, spouses have to explore various options. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Does Honoring Individuality Help Resolve a Dispute?

By Lara Traum (mediator with the Law Firm and Mediation Practice of Alla Roytberg, P.C.)
“There are men who can think no deeper than a fact” – Albert Einstein.
Lara Traum of talks about the importance of maintaining and respecting each partners' individuality when going through a divorce.We live in a world of absolute truths. History, math and science tell us that facts exist, that questions have answers, and that formulas can be applied to resolve many of life’s mysteries. We make firm projections about the future just as we reflect with conviction on the past. We rarely pause to wonder whether the way we experience a situation is indeed that objective – whether the person sitting next to us who has lived on the same block and eaten at the same diner and talked to the same street vendor for the past ten years has experienced the picture entirely differently.
Vantage point is the depth beyond fact that individuates personhood. But what happens when one identity has been enmeshed with another for years? Click here to read more.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Housing Issues For Families – Part 2


A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life; he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)
New York City Mediation Law Attorney Alla Roytberg explains the unique aspects of condominiums.A condominium is another type of apartment; however, owning a condominium is very different from “owning” a co-op. In a condominium, owners actually own their space as real estate, as opposed to owning shares in the co-op building. They have a deed, the same way you have a deed on a house. When a person owns a condominium apartment, he/she owns whatever is inside the walls/unit and also a proportionate share of the common elements of the building. For example, if there are 4 apartments in the building, the owner would have a deed for their apartment and a 25% interest in the common elements in the building as well.
Just like with the co-op, the building has an offering plan. It has a budget and, depending on its size, they may have a management company and it can borrow money, if needed. Monthly maintenance payments in condominiums are usually called “common charges” and they relate to the unit owner’s proportionate share of the costs needed to run the building. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Housing Issues For Families – Part 1

The Co-op

April 10, 2013
“A cooperative apartment is an apartment in a building owned and managed by a corporation in which shares are sold, entitling the shareholders to occupy individual units in the building.” – A Definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary
New York City Mediation Law Attorney Alla Roytberg of begins her series on housing issues and divorce, discussing cooperative apartments.Very often, one of the most critical disputes a family may have revolves around housing. Where will the children reside? Who stays in the marital home? Do they own or rent? If the parties own their home, it may be a condominium, a cooperative apartment (co-op) or a house. How should one structure a delayed sale, exclusive occupancy or a buyout if a family unit is restructured?
While in other states a co-op is not such a common phenomenon, in New York State, and especially in New York City, a co-op presents a frequent form of ownership for many people. Most pre-war buildings in Manhattan are co-ops and so are many in Queens, Brooklyn and other boroughs. When you own a co-op, you don’t actually own real property. There is no deed, like in a house or a condominium. Instead, your form of ownership consists of a stock certificate that represents the number of shares allocated to your unit by the cooperative corporation, i.e. the building. The co-op has a Board of officers and members. These people make a lot of decisions. If you want to sell your co-op, your purchaser will have to complete an application for Board approval. The Board can approve or deny this application if it believes that the buyer is not financially secure, or, for any other reason at all under the “business judgment rule”.  Click here to read more. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Is Anyone Thinking About the Children?

And the king said: ‘Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.’ Then spoke the woman whose living child was unto the king, for her heart yearned upon her son, and she said: ‘Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and in no way slay it.’ – The Bible, Kings 3:16-28 – The Story of King Solomon and “Splitting the baby”.
New York City Mediation Law Attorney Alla Roytberg of discusses a tragedy in Delaware where a paternal grandfather killed the mother of his 3 granddaughters. On February 11th, a grandfather shot and killed his grandchildren’s mother in a Delaware Family Court. Christine Belford, a contact lens technician, and David Matusiewicz, an optometrist, were married from 2001 to 2006. As reported by on February 12th, they had 3 daughters, who were the subject of a custody battle during their divorce. One of the girls is autistic. 
Click here to read more.