Monday, February 9, 2009

Thoughts on Anne Barnard's 02-04-09 New York Times Article "2 Doctors, a Custody Battle and an Execution-Style Killing"

"Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply;

those who want to deny the world must have once embraced
what they now set on fire.” --- Kurt Tucholsky"

More than a year ago, lives of people in the peaceful community of Forest Hills, in which I live and practice family law and divorce mediation have been turned upside down. Allegiances are firmly split. You MUST either hate the mother’s family or the father’s family in the glorious tradition of Montagues v. Capulets, Malakovs v. Borukhovs. A father’s life is lost. A mother is on trial for murder. A childhood destroyed.

This horrible drama has defined the dynamics of family disputes in the Bukharian community for the past year and may continue to do so for years to come. As the stories will continue to pour out of newspaper headlines during the next few weeks I invite you to explore the course of the escalation of the Malakov/Borukhova family conflict from a separation to a murder.

Did these parents know that they could choose alternative dispute resolution before coming to court? Did their attorney/judge or anyone who addressed them at the start of litigation, educate them about the existence of divorce mediation? In a close-knit community, consisting primarily of Jewish immigrants from Uzbekistan, the extended family’s role in advising the young and raising grandchildren is critical. Shouldn’t extended families be educated about how family mediation can help resolve custody disputes?

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