Friday, January 28, 2022

When divorce is fought like a war, the fallout makes it harder for couples to rebuild their lives, not to mention the devastating impact it could have on children. Today there are several paths leading to a healthier outcome for couples considering divorce. If you are considering divorce, or you are a professional counseling divorcing couples, register for the Divorce: Know Your Options webinar on November 9, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The webinar is being provided as a free public service. Registration is strictly confidential to protect the privacy of anyone who wants to learn more about this sensitive and personal matter.

The panel includes legal experts Adam J. Berner, Esq., mediator and collaborative lawyer and trainer, and Stephanie P. Lehman, Esq., Phillips Nizer LLP, matrimonial and family law partner. Both have offices in Bergen County, New Jersey, and New York City. The panel will also include Shireen B. Meistrich, LCSW, a seasoned mental health counselor and coach for couples and children in divorce, and Megan A. Sartor, CPA and expert in the financial arrangements needed to create separate households.

“Divorce is not just a legal process,” said Berner, who spearheaded the webinar. “It’s an emotional, psychological and financial transition. This webinar will provide expertise in each of these areas.” The panelists will talk about different ways a divorce can be arranged and how to help everyone in the family make the transition, followed by a moderated question and answer session.

Berner organized the webinar after years of frustration seeing the negative consequences of adversarial divorces in his community when he knew there was a better way. “I have seen couples become enemies before my eyes and it really bothered me,” he said. “I decided word has to get out that there are alternatives. In New York and New Jersey, mediation and collaborative divorce are accepted and encouraged by the court. Even judges are the first to say that litigation is the last resort.” While Berner began practicing as a traditional matrimonial divorce lawyer, for the past 25 years he has focused on mediation and collaborative law, helping families work through their divorce together, instead of against each other. “The courtroom is the last place where couples should be resolving their differences,” he said.

Lehman is uniquely qualified to speak about the divorce process. She has concentrated on matrimonial and family law in her practice, but she is also trained in mediation and collaborative divorce models. “Until a person is educated in all options available, it can be confusing to assess which route is best,” she said. “Litigation can be expensive, time consuming and emotionally draining but sometimes unavoidable and necessary.” She hopes the webinar will give someone considering divorce the information they need to start the process. “Making the initial call to a divorce lawyer requires significant courage,” she said. “The panelists will outline the process and resources available, which will give people contemplating divorce the confidence and strength necessary to pick up the phone and make the call.”

Berner said the goal of the webinar is to transform how couples go through the divorce process and educate the professionals who guide them, such as therapists, rabbis and financial counselors. This is the first of what he envisions as an ongoing quarterly webinar, potentially with additional topics to help families going through this challenging time in their lives.

To register for the Divorce: Know Your Options webinar, visit https://tinyurl.com/55v8m6zd.

By Bracha Schwartz


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