Thinking of Splitting Up? Read This First

February 17, 2013 by Kathryn Lazar

By Kathryn S. Lazar, Esq., Attorney at Lazar and Schwartz, Hopewell Junction, New York

Your first stop should not necessarily be a lawyer: start at a book store or library and on the internet to educate yourself before you meet with a potential lawyer or mediator.

If you are considering separating from your spouse, you are probably having a million thoughts a minute.  It is a difficult choice, with lots of implications, so it makes sense to slow down and think clearly.

Question One: Should I stay or should I go?

There are several books that are helpful in answering this question:

Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go by Susan Pease Gadoua.  This new book is designed to help you examine your own feelings and situation, to assist you in making up your mind.  It does not urge divorce or reconciliation, but rather tries to help you understand your own feelings and alternatives.

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step by Step Guide to Help you Decide Whether to Stay in or Get Out of Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum.

There are also some good books to help you try to repair your relationship.  Consider Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First) by Jamie Turndorf, or Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner by Dr. Phillip C. McGraw.

Question Two: If I am leaving, how should we go about working out the details?

The process you choose to figure out the terms of your separation will have an enormous effect on you, your spouse and your children.  The more hostile the separation, the harder the rest of your life will be.  You need to read up on mediation and collaborative divorce, to see if one of these out of court alternatives is worth exploring.  The out of court choices are less financially expensive, but even more important, they are less emotionally costly.

Divorce Without Court by attorney Katherine Stoner is an excellent review of mediation and collaborative law as alternatives to Court.  You can often get this used through Amazon, and it will help you decide whether to pursue a mediation or collaborative consultation to consider these choices.

Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move on with Your Life, by Pauline H. Tesler and Peggy Thompson.  This provides a clear picture of how collaborative divorce works and its advantages over the alternative approaches.

Question Three: How can I negotiate a fair deal with my spouse without feeling like I’ve either been taken advantage of or have taken advantage of him/her?

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In by Ury and Fischer is the best small book you’ll ever read.  It will help you in negotiations with your spouse whether you stay or go, and will help you in all the other millions of negotiations we undertake over time – with the cable company, the contractor, your employer and the babysitter.  Read it and you will exponentially increase your ability to negotiate in all situations.

Don’t have access to a book store or the library?  What about the internet?

All of these books can be purchased at Amazon on line, but there is also a lot of information on line.  Check out the following websites:


Hudson Valley:


Collaborative Law:

Hudson Valley:;


For consultations:

Mediation:, 845-471-7167

Collaborative Law: Lazar and Schwartz, 845-896-9651


By Kathryn S. Lazar, Esq.


Kathryn Lazar Accepts “Psychologically Healthy” Organizational Award

February 15, 2013 by Kathryn Lazar

April 30, 2012

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kathryn S. Lazar, 845-896-9651



Hudson Valley Collaborative Divorce and Dispute Resolution Association

Receives “Psychologically Healthy” Organizational Award, May 5, 2012

DUTCHESS COUNTY, NY- The Hudson Valley Collaborative Divorce and Dispute Resolution Association (HVCDDRA) is to be honored with the Hudson Valley Psychological Association’s Award in the “Organizational” category. The Award will be presented at a Reception and Ceremony, Saturday May 5, 2012 from 6:00 – 9:00pm, to be held at the Henry A. Wallace Center, FDR Presidential Home and Library in Hyde Park, NY.

Kathryn Lazar, co-founder of the HVCDDRA said, “We are very proud to accept this award, as it so accurately reflects our mission, which is to make divorce a process that is psychologically based and which treats all participants as humanistically as possible.”

The mission of the Dutchess County-based HVCDDRA, is to support each divorcing couple, including their children, as they make complex choices. The goal is to maximize their long-term financial, legal, and emotional health as the family’s life and structure are reorganized during the divorce process. The participants make their own decisions, unlike in the litigation process of divorce, where a judge makes decisions for the couple in court,

The Collaborative process is designed around three basic principles:

1. The Collaborative professionals work as an interdisciplinary team for the best interest
of the family as a whole.

2. The process prioritizes respect, transparency, and strives to define “fairness” in all

3. A rational, positive, pro-active attitude is emphasized, with each spouse taking
responsibility for his/her own future.

Children’s needs are especially considered in this process. Kathryn Lazar said, “Children’s developmental stages and needs are central to the Collaborative Divorce process. We listen to the children’s voices themselves and assess their emotional and educational needs and help to enhance their parents co-parenting skills.”

All members of the Collaborative team, the two attorneys [one for each spouse], the neutral financial expert, and the neutral mental health professional, pledge not to go the court. Instead, the team works together with the clients in a respectful, transparent manner to resolve their current dispute and move the entire family into a future characterized by cooperation, hope, and growth.


BACKGROUND. Formed in 2003 by founding members Kathryn Lazar, Esq, Daniel McCabe, Esq, and Maria Alba-Fisch, Ph.D., HVCDDRA has grown to forty legal, financial, and mental health professionals, with each member an expert in their field.

The Hudson Valley Collaborative Divorce and Dispute Resolution Association represents a new approach to divorce, which offers couples an opportunity to separate with a minimum of bitterness and animosity. Instead of going in front of a judge, the two parties and their attorneys sit down together to work out the details of the dissolution of their marriage, with the help of mental health professionals and a financial advisor. Each party has a lawyer and a divorce coach to assist them. The team works collaboratively with the couple so that divorcing spouses can reach agreement.

Every regional member is required to belong to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP: which keeps a high level of quality control through its monthly trainings, workshops, and retreats.









Collaborative Divorce Interdisciplinary Basic Training

February 12, 2013 by Kathryn Lazar

A Collaborative Divorce allows the parties to draw upon the expertise of various professionals trained to help them arrive at solutions which promote their long term best interest.

For any attorney, mental health professional, or financial specialist who is considering joining in Collaborative Divorce work, this is an excellent overview of this rapidly growing field.

The trainers (Kathryn Lazar, JD, Mark Bass, JD, Micki McWade, LMSW, Allison Bell, PsyD, Jon Tanner, CDFA 
) are leaders in the Collaborative movement with hundreds of settlements  their credit. Expect to hear insightful practical advice, honest answers, and inspiring stories from seasoned professionals who have moved beyond the expensive adversarial litigative process and who are dedicated to creating a satisfying and deeper resolution for divorcing couples.

14 CLE credits (approval pending)
Call Kathryn Lazar 845 896-9651 or Micki McWade 914 557-2900 for further information

For full information download flier BasicTrng 2013-2

May 9th 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

May 10th 8:30 am – 4:00pm

Venue: Bear Mountain Inn

Phone: (845) 786-2731

Address: 98 Hessian Drive, Highland Falls, NY, 10911, United States