David Louis on July 6th, 2015
Know Who You Are

Know Who You Are.

 

As mediators, we are trained to be self-aware, to understand how we may be affected by what we see or hear in our work.

 

"Know Yourself" - photo of a woman looking into a mirrorThis kind of self-awareness is extremely helpful for divorcing spouses in mediation so they may focus effectively on making important decisions affecting their futures.

Relationships are filled with history – in a marriage that is ending, this usually includes repeated episodes of individual behavior or words said to or about each other that create tension.

These words or behaviors are typically described as “triggers”. They’re reminders of things that make us unhappy, cause us to react inappropriately or make us feel bad – and lose focus and control of ourselves when it’s most needed.


“It’s so easy to be unaware of how one’s words or behavior can affect others.” — David Louis


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David Louis on April 26th, 2015

If You Know What’s In the Water – You Can Know Where to Swim

If You Know What’s in the Water, You Can Know Where to Swim

photo of a person swimming and being pursued by a "Jaws" type sharkWith summer approaching (thank goodness!) I’m reminded of family vacations to the beach when our children were younger.

 

Depending on where we traveled, we sometimes faced challenging conditions like red algae, or even jellyfish! Since we knew what we may encounter while swimming, we tried to swim away from danger.


Being aware of what may induce unwanted conflict can help us remain focused on progressing to the mutually acceptable outcome.


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David Louis on April 7th, 2015

Freedom to Be Who We Are

Freedom to Be Who We Are

 

photo of cupped hands releasing a butterfly into the airAt its best, marriage is a partnership that nourishes the individuality of each to blossom into fully self-expressed human beings. A marriage that allows for growth while retaining underlying connection and intimacy can be a very powerful attribute of a successful marriage.

And yet, in some marriages, people often work toward their personal evolution at different rates or not at all.

 
Sadly, this presents challenges that may be insurmountable. Trying to meet the expectations of a spouse that don’t match who we are can prevent us from becoming who we want to be.


As with nature, without growth, we wither and die. Personal growth helps us to thrive.


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David Louis on February 4th, 2015

From Darkness to Light

From Darkness to Light

 

Photo of a person silhouetted by bright sunlight The start of winter is defined by more darkness than light. So can be the emotional weather of those experiencing separation and divorce.

Like the proverbial winter, sadness, uncertainty, fear, and anger represent the dark emotions.

 
Yet as the New Year turns the corner to the end of January, we notice the light of each day is with us a little bit longer. The brightness of morning comes earlier, and nighttime is later.


Mediation as a process is the chance for planning to overcome uncertainty and assist both spouses to define future realities.


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David Louis on November 25th, 2014

Giving Thanks for Courage

Giving Thanks for Courage

 

A man and woman jumping joyfully from a hilltop with the sun shining brightly behind themIt’s Thanksgiving Week, and hopefully we can all find something to be thankful for, even if we are facing difficult personal challenges.

 

I’m thankful for the clients I work with in divorce mediation and collaborative divorce cases – you have the courage to do what most people can’t. It’s easy to hide behind lawyers and fight for as much as you can get instead of working together to bring about a resolution that is satisfactory for everyone.

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David Louis on November 12th, 2014

His Truth, Her Truth, The Real (?) Truth

His Truth, Her Truth, The Real (?) Truth

 

The end of a marital relationship is a significant life transition.

Photo of a sunrise behind a road sign that says "Truth"

 

When I am meeting with a couple, either in mediation, or in a collaborative divorce, I describe this transition as the intersection

of the “road that got you here” and the “road of the future”.


“I ask my clients to allow the other spouse to be the sole owner of “their truth.” – David Louis


 

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David Louis on October 2nd, 2014
Was That Me?

Was That Me?

 

Drawing of woman looking into a mirror and asking herself "What's Wrong?"We can all look back on stressful times in our lives and feel pangs of regret for our own poor behavior. Who hasn’t wanted to take back words and acts that have been hurtful to others? We can make choices that turn out to be unwise. We are left with the consequences of our decisions.

 

The process of separation and divorce can be stressful – impacting on decision making skills.

 

Many divorcing spouses don’t recognize the level of stress they themselves are under during the divorce process. They may not even realize how they were affected until much later. Most are not thinking as wisely as they usually do. In addition, the overwhelming majority of people believe they ARE thinking wisely, when, in fact, after the dust has settled, they know they could have made better choices.

 


 “As Mediators, we are trained to help our clients look within themselves to find the needs and interests that are being held in the emotions of the moment.” – David Louis


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David Louis on August 30th, 2014
School's Open – It’s a Great Time to Learn and Teach!

School’s Open-It’s a Great Time to Learn and Teach!

 

School's Open - A Great Time to Teach and Learn! Image of a person standing amid desks in a classroom.School will be back in session again and it’s a perfect reminder that teaching and learning are lifetime activities.

For the divorce mediator or collaborative divorce professional it’s a special opportunity to support couples in making important decisions by providing information that will assist their decision making.

Couples often come with limited knowledge regarding specific topics under discussion.

 

Fortunately for them, the mediation process offers a classroom to facilitate the beginning of a transformation from an uncertain and under-informed spouse to an informed and more confident decision maker.

This can be especially critical for divorce mediation clients who do not utilize consulting attorneys before or during the mediation process.


Another attribute of the mediation room as a classroom is to promote a discussion of the resources that may assist a couple in coming to a place where they are capable of making informed decisions.


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David Louis on August 13th, 2014

Fear and Anger – Are They Kissing Cousins?

Fear and Anger – Are They Kissing Cousins?

 

image of kissing cousinsFor many, the ending of a marriage is filled with a range of emotions that may be as broad as the menu at a good diner. In my divorce mediation and collaborative divorce practice, I observe this variety of feelings by one or both spouses.

Most often, I see fear and anger.

 
A typical client consultation will include this statement, “I/We have never done this (divorced) before.” For the unwilling spouse, whose world has been rocked, a lifetime commitment to a marriage is on the verge of dissolving. For both spouses, there is often an underlying current of uncertainty. For many, the uncertainly about living on their own, questions about their future resources, and lack of clarity about parental involvement causes strong fear.


As the uncertainty of the future is reduced there is less reason to be afraid. If there is less reason to be afraid, there is less reason to be angry.


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David Louis on July 13th, 2014

The Decision Layer Cake

The Decision Layer Cake

 

I’ve previously written how many divorcing couples are involved with each other in a relationship “layer cake”.

Image of a frosted layer cake.  The beginning of the divorce or separation process is like an uncut layer cake. It appears as a whole, inseparable unit. Mediation can help couples see layers and options available to them that are not immediately apparent early in the process.

Just as we can’t see the layers of the cake beneath the frosting, and need to take a slice to see how many layers there are, I observe clients that struggle in recognizing that addressing the separate layers in their relationship may require separate decisions and plans.

 

I recently mediated for a couple with young adult children. The husband has been estranged from their daughter, while having a good relationship with their younger child. Overall, the couple’s total marital assets were modest in their financial value.

 


 “Helping clients to understand their relationship layer cake can be an effective role for a mediator who is a neutral in the room. ” – David Louis


 

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Upstate Divorce Mediation provides family and divorce mediation services to the following counties and towns in Upstate New York - ALBANY COUNTY New York - Albany NY 12202, 12203, 12204, 12205, 12206, 12208, 12209, 12210, Alcove NY 12207, Altamont NY 12209, Berne NY 12023, Bethlehem NY 12054, Clarksville NY 12041, Coeymans NY 12045, Coeymans Hollow NY 12046, Cohoes NY 12047, Colonie NY 12205, Delmar NY 12054, East Berne NY 12059, Feura Bush NY 12067, Glenmont NY 12077, Green Island NY 12183, Guilderland NY 12084, Guilderland Center NY 12085, Knox NY 12107, Latham NY 12110, Loudonville NY 12211, McKownville NY 12203, Medusa NY 12120, Menands NY 12204, Newtonville NY 12110, Preston Hollow NY 12469, Ravena NY 12143, Rensselaerville NY 12147, Selkirk NY 12158, Slingerlands NY 12159, South Bethlehem NY 12161, Voorheesville NY 12186, Watervliet NY 12189, Westerlo NY 12193.

Divorce Mediator David Louis, Co-Founder and President of Upstate Divorce Mediation, provides family and divorce mediation services to the following counties and towns in Upstate New York - COLUMBIA COUNTY New York - Ancram NY 12502, Ancramdale NY 12503, Austerlitz NY 12017, Canaan NY 12029, Chatham NY 12037, Chatham Center NY 12184, Claverack NY 12513, Clermont NY 12526, Columbiaville NY 12050, Copake  NY 12516, Copake Falls NY 12517, Craryville NY 12521, East Chatham NY 12060, Elizaville NY 12523, Germantown NY 12526, Ghent NY 12075, Glenco Mills NY 12541, Greenport NY 12534, Hillsdale NY 12529, Hollowville NY 12530, Hudson NY 12534, Kinderhook NY 12106, Livingston NY 12541, Malden Bridge NY 12115, Martindale NY 12513, Mellenville NY 12544, New Lebanon NY 12125, Niverville NY 12130, North Chatham NY 12132, Old Chatham NY 12136, Philmont NY 12565, Spencertown NY 12165, Red Rock NY 12060, Stockport NY 12534, Stottville NY 12172, Stuyvesant NY 12173, Stuyvesant Falls NY 12174, Valatie NY 12184, West Copake NY 12953, West Taghkanic NY 12502.

Upstate Divorce Mediation provides family and divorce mediation services to the following counties and towns in Upstate New York - GREENE COUNTY New York - Acra NY 12405, Ashland NY 12407, Athens NY 12015, Cairo NY 12413, Catskill NY 12414, Climax NY 12042, Cornwallville NY 12418, Coxsackie NY 12051, Durham NY 12422, Earlton NY 12058, East Durham NY 12423, East Jewett NY 12424, Elka Park NY 12427, Freehold NY 12431, Greenport NY 12534, Greenville NY 12083, Haines Falls NY 12436, Hannacroix NY 12087, Hensonville NY 12439, Hunter NY 12422, Jewett NY 12444, Lanesville NY 12450, Leeds NY 12451, Lexington NY 12452, Maplecrest NY 12454, New Baltimore NY 12124, Oak Hill NY 12460, Palenville NY 12463, Prattsville NY 12468, Purling NY 12470, Round Top NY 12473, South Cairo NY 12482, South Westerlo NY 12083, Surprise NY 12176, Tannersville NY 12485, West Coxsackie NY 12192, West Kill NY 12492, Windham NY 12496.

Divorce Mediator David Louis, Co-Founder and President of Upstate Divorce Mediation, provides family and divorce mediation services to the following counties and towns in Upstate New York - RENSSELAER COUNTY New York - Averill Park NY 12018, Berlin NY 12022, Brainard NY 12024, Brunswick NY 12180, Buskirk NY 12028, Castleton NY 12033, Cherry Plain NY 12040, Cropseyville NY 12052, East Greenbush NY 12061, East Nassau NY 12062, East Schodack NY 12063, Grafton NY 12082, Hoosick NY 12089, Hoosick Falls NY 12090, Johnsonville NY 12094, Melrose NY 12121, Nassau NY 12123, North Greenbush NY 12198, North Hoosick NY 12133, Petersburgh NY 12138, Poestenkill NY 12140, Rensselaer NY 12144, Sand Lake NY 12153, Schaghticoke NY 12154, Schodack Landing NY 12156, South Schodack NY 12033, Stephentown NY 12168, Taconic Lake NY 12138, Troy NY 12180, 12181, 12182, Valley Falls NY 12185, West Sand Lake NY 12196, Wynantskill NY 12198.

David Louis is a divorce mediator who is the Co-Founder and President of Upstate Divorce Mediation and provides family and divorce mediation services to the following counties and towns in Upstate New York - SARATOGA COUNTY New York - Ballston Lake NY 12019, Ballston Spa NY 12020, Burnt Hills NY 12027, Charlton NY 12019, Clifton Park NY 12065, Corinth NY 12822, Day NY 12835, Edinburg NY 12134, Galway NY 12074, Gansevoort NY 12831, Greenfield NY 12833, Hadley NY 12835, Halfmoon NY 12065, Malta NY 12020, Mechanicville NY 12118, Northumberland NY 12831, Providence NY 12850, Round Lake NY 12151, Saratoga Springs NY 12866, Schuylerville NY 12871, South Glens Falls NY 12803, Stillwater NY 12170, Victory Mills NY 12884, Waterford NY 12188, Wilton NY 12831.

Divorce Mediator David Louis, Co-Founder and President of Upstate Divorce Mediation, provides family and divorce mediation services to the following counties and towns in Upstate New York - SCHENECTADY COUNTY New York - Alplaus NY 12008, Delanson NY 12053, Duanesburg NY 12056, Glenville NY 12302, Niskayuna NY 12309, Pattersonville NY 12137, Quaker Street NY 12141, Rotterdam NY 12306, Rotterdam Junction NY 12150, Schenectady NY 12301, 12303, 12304, 12305, 12306, 12308, Scotia NY 12302.

David Louis is a divorce mediator who is the Co-Founder and President of Upstate Divorce Mediation and provides family and divorce mediation services to the following counties and towns in Upstate New York - ULSTER COUNTY New York – Connelly NY 12417, Glasco NY 12432, Hurley NY 12443, Kerhonkson NY 12446, Kingston NY 12401, Malden on Hudson NY 12453, Port Ewen NY 12466, Rosendale NY 12472, Saugerties NY 12477, West Camp NY 12490, West Hurley NY 12491, Woodstock NY 12498.

Divorce Mediator David Louis, Co-Founder and President of Upstate Divorce Mediation, provides family and divorce mediation services to the following counties and towns in Upstate New York - WARREN COUNTY New York - Bolton Landing NY 12814, Chestertown NY 12817, Glens Falls NY 12801, 12802, 12804, Hague NY 12836, Horicon NY 12815, Johnsburg NY 12843, Lake George NY 12845, Lake Luzerne NY 12846, Queensbury NY 12804, Stony Creek NY 12878, Warrensburg NY 12885.