2023.07 NYACP Newsletter Summer 2023

NYACP NEWS ~ Summer 2023

Volume 5, Issue 3

In this Issue

President's Message
NYACP Board of Directors
Pods and SGCP Groups
Survey Results
Member Spotlight
IACP Forum
NYACP Annual Training and Meeting


By Melissa Goodstein, Esq.

I am writing this message with a view of the rolling hills of Tuscany and under the magnificent glow of the Tuscan Sun. Aah this is my happy place. My summer began on June 19 a little earlier than the summer solstice to allow for a much needed reset with my family and extended family in Tuscany. I am so grateful to spend summers with my sisters and our families in such a peaceful and bucolic setting. The importance of taking care for yourself, making time for family and finding balance in your personal and professional life cannot be understated. During this time I have also had the time to reflect and build a practice of gratitude. This practice allows me to look at my personal and professional life through a positive lens and to recognize and value the good things around me. I have been thinking a lot about the value I receive from my involvement in NYACP and my commitment to collaborative practice. Through NYACP I have been able build a peace based practice and to collaborate with like minded professionals. My practice has increased proportionally to my engagement in NYACP. The NW pod, my SGCP group, committee work and board service have deepened my connection with colleagues and has illuminated my practice. As a solo practitioner my relationships with my colleagues mean everything to me. A special shout out to Margaret and Ken who l speak to each at least once a day and others who are my speed dial whether working on a case together or not, to bounce ideas, help problem solve and just get through the days -these calls are my daily collaborative cup of coffee; necessary, energizing and all so comforting. NYACP is a fertile ground to cultivate these connections and to build your practices. So get involved or more involved as the rewards are immeasurable.

Getting back to gratitude, I am blessed with a 32 year marriage and incredibly supportive husband who I can count on to make my actual one cup of coffee each day and who is there for me every day to share a meal, take a walk or media watch together. I am also blessed with three awesome children who have provided immeasurable joy and pride. And then there is my mom, my sisters, my brother, my brother in laws, nieces, nephews, my friends and the gratitude list goes on however my word count is limited. Take a moment to make this gratitude list- it has the power to rewire our brains so we can approach our work as peacemakers and our lives with greater clarity and awareness.

Finally , I am also grateful for the joy I get cooking and baking for my family and friends. Try this stone fruit torte that captures Tuscany’s la dolce vita and was delizicio!

Summer Stone Fruit Torte

3/4 cup sugar
I/2 cup butter room temp softened
2 Eggs
1 tsp vanilla and almond extract
2 Eggs room temp
I/2 cup pastry flour or double 00 flour
1/2 cup almond flour
I tsp baking powder
Sliced Stone fruit of choice mixed or one type cherries, nectarines, plums, peaches, apricots -
Orange Marmalade or fruit preserve of choice
Turbinato or coconut sugar

  • Pre heat oven 350degrees. 8 in buttered springform pan.
  • Mix by hand sugar and melted butter. Mix in eggs, extracts until well mixed. Sift flours, salt and baking powder and then incorporate into batter until fully combined - careful not too overmix.
  • Pour into pan and then top with sliced stone fruit the amount up to you however you should still see the batter. Sprinkle with turbinato sugar and cinnamon. Bake about an hour but check for doneness before depending on oven.
  • Heat about two to 4 tablespoons of your fav marmalade or preserves and brush on warm cake. Use butter knife around sides and then release spring.
  • Serve with whipped cream or ice cream or plain. Enjoy!

Here’s our view of Tuscany!

See you in September and enjoy your summer!

With gratitude,



Your NYACP Board meets every other month and works diligently to identify what is happening in the organization and what we can continually work on to build a better and more fulfilling organization for our members. Each Board member chairs a committee, a group and/or a Pod.


From the results of the Board phone survey conducted with our members in April, we discovered that some members expressed confusion about the difference between Pods and SGCPs (Support Groups for Collaborative Professionals) so we thought it was time to clarify this issue.

Pod meetings take place on a monthly basis and are regionally based (NYC, LI, Northern Westchester) but open to all members, regardless of where you practice.  These meetings involve presentations and discussions of topics related to Collaborative Practice conducted by outside speakers or members.


The New York City Pod meets the first Tuesday of the month from 8:30-9:9:30am. For questions, if you have a topic of interest, or would like to facilitate a meeting, please contact Judith Stein, j[email protected].

The Presumption of Joint Custody & Joint Parenting Time:  On the Books & In the Courtroom

 On May 9, Myra L. Freed, Esq. and Lawrence N. Rothbart, Esq. Presented on The Presumption of Joint Custody & Joint Parenting Time:  On the Books & In the Courtroom

When it comes to decisions regarding children, the Court often applies the standard of best interests of the child.  In a lively discussion, we explored the extent to which this standard is considered in custody and parenting time decisions in the New York metro area, both on the books and in the courtroom.  We also discussed specific factors that the Court may consider in joint custody and parenting time decisions, and how all of this and more may inform our work in Collaborative Practice.

Managing Our Reactivity to Clients on June 13, 2023

Do you find yourself struggling at times to manage your own emotional reactivity with clients? Therapists refer to this as counter-transference. Four common types of counter-transference are subjective (our own unresolved issues are triggered), objective (we are reactive to clients' dysregulated or counterproductive behaviors), positive (we are overly-supportive of our clients), and negative (we react negatively to uncomfortable feelings). The NYC pod members joined together for the last pod meeting until September to share your experiences with these types of challenges as well as to expand your toolbox for dealing with them in real time.

Long Island Pod

The LI Pod meets the first Tuesday of the month from 8:15-9:30 AM.  Check your email for specific information about what each Pod is doing and RSVP to attend as many of these meetings as you would like.   For questions, if you have a topic of interest, or would like to facilitate a meeting, please contact Neil Cahn, [email protected].

Northern Westchester Pod

NYACP's Northern Westchester Pod presents a Member Zoom Meeting every third Wednesday at 9:00am of each month with a hiatus during the summer.  For questions, if you have a topic of interest, or would like to facilitate a meeting, please contact Melissa Goodstein, [email protected].

Stalking Through The Court: What Legal Abuse Is, Identifying Red Flags in Our Collaborative Cases and How to Protect Your Clients

On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, The Northern Westchester Pod hosted: Stalking Through The Court: What Legal Abuse Is, Identifying Red Flags in Our Collaborative Cases and How to Protect Your Clients with Lisa Johnson and Chris Barry.  Chris and Lisa, founders of Been There Got Out, spoke about what legal abuse means, including red flags that your clients may be heading for a protracted divorce, the importance of strategic communication, and how to mitigate. They also discussed the concept of coercive control and Jennifers' Law in Connecticut, the third state in the US to expand its legal definition of domestic violence (to include legal abuse). 

Lisa Johnson is the co-founder of Been There Got Out, a high conflict divorce coach and certified domestic violence advocate who has successfully represented herself through scores of court appearances. Her case, published in the Connecticut Law Journal, is being used as legal precedent. Her live testimony helped pass Jennifers’ Law in Connecticut, the third state in America to expand its legal definition of domestic violence to include “coercive control.” She and her partner, Chris, the male half of Been There Got Out, coach people in high-conflict relationships, divorce, custody battles, and co-parenting hell so they have the chance of the best outcome in family court and beyond. They also offer a weekly Legal Abuse Support Group for those dealing with narcissistic opponents in legal matters. Their book, "Been There Got Out: Toxic Relationships, High-Conflict Divorce, and How to Stay Sane Under Insane Circumstances'' was released in March 2023.

Chris Barry is a certified high-conflict divorce coach and the co-founder (and male half) of Been There Got Out. He developed the Been There Got Out podcast, manages BTGO’s website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, and all the background technology they use to run the business. He also specializes in writing high-conflict parenting plans. Through their coaching program, Legal Abuse Support Group, broader community on social media, and upcoming book, “Been There Got Out: Toxic Relationships, High Conflict Divorce, and How to Stay Sane Under Insane Circumstances,” Chris and Lisa support and guide people in these harrowing situations so that they can avoid common mistakes and have the best chance at getting themselves (and their kids) through it all as unscathed as possible.

Support Groups for Collaborative Professionals (SGCP)

SGCPs are closed groups that are regionally based.  The same group of members meet once a month to discuss cases or address topics.  This is an opportunity to connect with other practitioners in a deeper way and learn from each other.  These are also geographically based and occur virtually although members may have occasional times when they meet in person. If you are interested in joining an SGCP group the best time to do so is in the fall so contact the group leader in the summer.

Groups are as follows:

Lower Westchester-Steve Kaplan [email protected] and Ellen Jancko-Baken [email protected] are leaders.  Meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month from 5:30-6:30

Northern Westchester-Meg Sussman [email protected] and Melissa Goodstein [email protected] are leaders.  Meetings are the third Wednesday of the month from 5:30-6:30

NYC-Rachel Green [email protected] 

and Bob Raymond [email protected] are leaders. Meetings are the third Tuesday of the month from 5-6:30.

Mental Health Support / Process Group

The Mental Health Process Group is open to any NYACP Mental Health Professional member.  Our next group meeting is July 18, 2023.  If you are interested in joining, please contact Bob Raymond, [email protected] or Jeffrey Steiger, [email protected].

During our last meeting in May, your Mental Health Professionals (MHPs) discussed at length what we want to be identified as. It seems that many are satisfied with our title of “Family Specialist”. It was suggested that we might consider getting help from a professional brander to refine our name. There was also a discussion about the use of the name “Facilitator”, which received mixed feelings. The consensus seemed to be that what we do is more important then what we call ourselves. We discussed if there was a particular way that we were being utilized on a team. Do most of us attend all of the meetings? At what point are we being brought into the case? Are many of us brought in primarily to do the parenting plan? Are we brought in after a crisis reveals itself?  The answer is all of the above. The ongoing client concerns about costs were also discussed. This emphasizes the importance of attorneys really understanding the value added of the MHP and how you are communicating that to your clients.


Training and Education Committee

The Training and Education Committee develops and implements interdisciplinary programs for all professionals supporting our work in the collaborative process. This includes periodic advanced collaborative practice trainings averaging once a month from Sept to June every year for all professionals by non -members and members, basic collaborative divorce training for prospective new members by members annually or every other year and annual day of collaborative process training and annual meeting in December. The committee is given a budget approved by board on an annual basis and programs are designed to enable members to achieve excellence in collaborative practice. The committee strives to provide trainings in response to membership interests and topical issues relative to our collaborative practices. Trainings take place at locations in NYC, Westchester and on Long Island, with location and platform for a particular training taking into consideration preferences of trainers, sponsors, likely attendees, cost and other factors. The Committee meets monthly September-June on the first Thursday of the month from 12 to 1pm via Zoom.

This spring, the committee arranged a variety of programs to enhance your knowledge and practice:

"Stop-the-Clock" Agreements and the Collaborative Process

On April 26, 2023, NYACP presented an in-person networking and interactive panel discussion in White Plains about "Stop-the-Clock" Agreements and the Collaborative Process Presented by Katherine Miller, Esq. and Neil Kozek, Esq. and moderated by Anthony Markus, Esq. and Kathleen Donelli, Esq.

Discussion Points: were as follows:

  • What does it mean to enter into a Stop-the-Clock agreement?
    • Asset Valuation Dates
    • Cut-off Date for Marital Property and Marital Debts
    • Duration of Spousal Support
    • Automatic Orders
    • Maintaining the Status Quo on payment of expenses
  • Content of Stop-the-Clock Agreement
    • Review of sample agreements
    • Comprehensive agreements compared to shorter formats
    • Enforceability if the matter proceeds to litigation.
  • How to introduce Stop-the Clock agreements at the beginning of the Collaborative Process?
  • Should all collaborative matters include a Stop-the-Clock agreement?

Retirement Benefits

On May 19th, NYACP presented Retirement Benefits with Denisa Tova and moderated by Tony Markus, Esq..  In this 1.5 hr CLE Webinar, Denisa Tova-Liebman, Founder and CEO of TOVA QDRO & Pension Consultants, explained how to navigate the complexities of equalizations of retirement assets, especially in light of the recent changes imposed by some defined contribution plans.

Denisa Tova-Liebman, MBA, CFP, CDFA, CQS is a Founder and CEO of TOVA QDRO & Pension Consultants, a full service, QDRO and retirement valuation firm based on Long Island, NY. Denisa is a Certified Financial Planner™, Certified QDRO Specialist™, and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ and brings over 20 years of experience working with matrimonial attorneys. Denisa and her team provide QDRO services, retirement plan valuation and tracing services, settlement language drafting and consulting.  Denisa has been frequently appointed by the New York Courts as retirement valuation expert and has been qualified as an expert witness in New York Supreme Court 9th Judicial District as well as in Colorado. She is also frequently appointed as a single joint expert by the solicitors and the courts in the United Kingdom. In addition to her practical experience, Denisa has been presenting monthly educational programs to attorneys, law firms and matrimonial Bar Associations on all aspects of the distribution and valuation of retirement assets. More recently she presented a 2-part CLE program for the New York State Bar Association the NYWBA and the AAML Connecticut chapter. She had also co-presented program with the Chief Supervising Judge of the Suffolk County in NY, Judge Cheryl Joseph for the New York State Judicial Institute.  For several years, she appeared live as a financial expert on a few TV stations in a dedicated segment titled “The Economy Tracker”. Denisa was born and raised in Prague and came to the US as a young teen. Prior to moving to New York, she lived in Colorado.

Racial Equity Roundtable with Jessica Rothberg and Elana Katz

On June 1, the Committee for Racial Equity presented an interactive round table discussion. The presenters emphasized how many white people are confused about their own relationship to the racism that has been more overtly identified and discussed in recent years. We discussed how is this part of our personal and professional lives? We explored whether there a relationship to our own awareness and the accessibility of collaborative practice to colleagues and clients of color? We talked about racism and why it matters! The Committee asked that participants watch a 1 hour long video  with Dr. Bukky  in advance of the round table as a springboard for the discussion. If you haven’t watched this, you are urged to do so.

The round table was facilitated by the members of NYACPs Committee for Racial Equity:

  • Jessica Rothberg, Esq. (Chair)
  • Elana Katz, LCSW, LMFT
  • Kate Bar-Tur, LCSW, FIP
  • Melissa Goodstein, Esq.
  • Catherine Canadé, Esq.
  • Ken Novenstern, Esq.
  • Adam Halper, Esq.
  • Carmen Rodriguez, Esq.

If you are interested in participating on the Committee, please contact Jessica Rothberg at [email protected])

In each issue of the newsletter, the Committee will provide suggested resources and encourage you to commit to learning and growing in this very critical issue.

A View from the Bench with the Honorable Victor G. Grossman

On June 16th, this presentation included Judge Grossman’s views on the role of Collaborative Law and Mediation in the ADR context, enforceability of Collaborative Agreements including “Stop the Clock” Agreements, Mediation Agreements, confidentiality issues related to Mediation Agreements and the current state of Maintenance and Child Support Guidelines and “everything you wanted to know about Judges but were afraid to ask.”

Victor G. Grossman is a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, presently sitting in White Plains, where he has been assigned to the Matrimonial Part. He has presided over numerous matrimonial actions in White Plains, and previously when he sat in Putnam County. Judge Grossman was elected to the Supreme Court after more than three decades practicing law, with a heavy emphasis on all aspects of Family Law. He has represented mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, victims of domestic violence, and others who have been involved in the legal issues surrounding divorce, custody, equitable distribution and support at the trial and appellate levels.


More events to come this fall:

  • Fall 2023 Feedback and debriefing with Ivan Alter
  • November 30 Annual Meeting Back to Basics Training featuring various trainers from the NYACP community.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee has been hard at work. In addition to our ongoing successful Mentor Program, we have instituted monthly lunches in New York City, Long Island and Westchester. Look for the emails and on the website and make sure to attend one to get to know your colleagues in an informal, fun way. In addition, we have a vibrant social events committee that has event planning in the works for the Fall. This Spring we met at the Pier in Manhattan for a fun night of bowling and schmoozing. The Mental Health Professionals started a support group similar to the regional support groups to provide them with an opportunity to share MHP-specific issues and challenges. We are excited to report that we have created working groups to focus on how we can enhance the success of the collaborative process both internally and with public awareness. We wish everyone a healthy and happy Summer and we look forward to seeing everyone soon!

The Membership Committee Members: Ellen Jancko-Baken - Chair, Catherine Canade, Jacqueline Caputo, Ariella Deutsch, Marcos Fernandez, Shara Goldfarb, Adam Halper, Randy Heller, Michelle Lewis, Stephen Linker, Bob Raymond.

Racial Equity Committee

The Racial Equity Committee was instrumental in presenting June's program, "Racial Equity Roundtable with Jessica Rothberg and Elana Katz," and continues to meet regularly and provide information for our members.  Please take a look at the list of resources below for suggestions on what to read, what to watch, and what to experience to learn more about Racial Equity.  For more information about this committee, contact Jessica Rothberg, [email protected].


Read This:

  • “Color Blindness Is Counterproductive” by Adia Harvey Wingfield. The Atlantic.  
  • White Fragility by Robin D’Angelo (for a quick summary see The New Yorker review July 23, 2018 by Katy Waldman) 
  • Caste by Isabel Wilkerson; (NYT’s review: “Isabel Wilkerson’s ‘Caste’ is an “Instant American Classic” About Our Abiding Sin) 
  • Why is the Phrase White Women Triggering for Many White Women? By Dana Brownlee Forbes Magazine

Watch This:

  • A Public Presentation by Ijeoma Oluo YouTube - Ijeoma Oluo
  • Freedom Riders (American Experience Documentary) Freedom Riders  Freedom Riders is the powerful harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever.  
  • The US and Monopoly – Kimberly Jones (YouTube Video)

Experience This:

  • Parable of the Sower - An Opera at Lincoln CenterBased on the work of Octavia Butler – An opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon.  At Lincoln Center, July 13-15, 2023
  • Diane Goodman: Webinar- Understanding White Privilege: A Key to Dismantling Systemic Racism. Diane Goodman. Using a participatory approach, she helps people increase their awareness, knowledge, and skills to foster equity and inclusion. Programs address how cultural differences and issues of power and privilege affect individuals, interpersonal relationships, and organizational culture and practices. 
  • Very Well Mind – Strategies to support you on your anti-racist journey.

Mentorship Program

The Mentorship Sub-Committee of the NYACP's Membership Committee matches experienced members as mentors with less experienced members in sessions that run for four months. Mentors share their knowledge and experience and support the mentee in providing feedback on collaborative cases and in running a collaborative practice.

The next session will begin on September 15th.  Newer collaborative professionals are encouraged to participate, and our experienced NYACP members who can be mentors are always welcome. If you are interested in joining the next session, click the button below to the online form. If you have any questions about the program, please contact co-chairs Catherine Canadé at [email protected] or Shara Goldfarb at [email protected]

2023 Fall Mentorship Application

Collaborative Connections

If you are a collaborative professional looking to expand your connections with your collaborative colleagues, join us for our bi-monthly meet ups for lunch, coffee, or drinks after work. The NYACP Membership Committee organizes gatherings in Westchester, Long Island and Manhattan to offer an easy way to get to know your collaborative counterparts better. 

Event notices with date and location are sent out for each scheduled meet up, and the first eight NYACP members to register reserve their spot. If room allows, members can bring a guest who is interested in collaborative work.  These meet ups offer a great chance to build up you professional and personal network and to find support and encouragement in helping families who have chosen the collaborative process.  Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with your peers and get more involved in the NYACP.  

Long Island in April - City Cellar

Left to right – Nancy Kaye, Jackie Caputo, Randy Heller, Harriet Steinberg. Organized by Jackie Caputo

New York in June - Bryant Park Grille

From left to right – Stacy Collins, Carmen Rodriguez, Michelle Exline Minovi (guest), Marcos Fernandez, I’Asia -Scarlett – Jones (guest), Randy Heller. Organized by Randy Heller

 Long Island in June - Cowfish

"It was a wonderful place to have lunch and reconnect with colleagues and  friends and establish relationships with new ones.  It truly was a 'Lunch Connection!'"

Seated: Rosalia M. Labate ( guest) Kate Bar-Tur Valerie Marvin. Standing: Steve Linker Barbara Rothberg bob Raymond Catherine Canadé  David Filer (guest) Nancy Kaye. Organized by Nancy Kaye

Plans for a Speed Meet and Greet are underway for the Fall…News to follow.


The NYACP Board created a Member Survey to gather information from past members on what NYACP provides. A summation of the results are below.

  • A majority of our members have been members for more than 10 years.
  • Less than half of our members participate on committees.  Many members are sporadically active “when schedules allow.” However, there is a direct correlation that the more involved in committees and activities in the NYACP, the more cases the member noted.
  • A majority of our members do not belong to IACP, responding they “don’t see the need."  However, members who are active in the IACP find considerable value in the free programming, forms, marketing materials, and most importantly, the ability to foster relationships and learn with practitioners from around the globe.
  • Most members have participated in, or are currently participating in, pod and support groups.
  • A majority of respondents answered that they have attended our Annual Meetings.
  • On average, respondents reported they had between 1-3 cases this past year. A smaller percentage reported between 4-7 cases.
  • Respondents reported that in large part, they are brought in to do other work by their Collaborative colleagues, even if it is not a collaborative case.
  • 50% of respondents state they work on full teams
  • It is generally thought that more financial neutrals are brought in to collaborative cases than MHPs, the possible reasons included:
    • “Families without children don't feel they need MHP, they think they have expertise in financial matters.”
    • “In general, clients are concerned about cost.“
    • “Of my collaborative cases that did engage other professionals, clients are more likely to engage financial expert over family specialist. It’s easier to make the case to clients that a financial expert saves them money.“
    • “For the cases that most need a family specialist (high conflict), it’s been hard to convince the clients to spend more time together - particularly when there aren’t young kids."

What do you find most valuable about your NYACP membership? 

Here are just some of the responses:

  • Continuing Education
  • Collaborative peer group
  • It's a place to talk about family law, my SGCP is a great group
  • The people!
  • The community dimension of like minded attorneys, who share personal as well as legal relationships, that I call upon to have honest discussions about issues that arise
  • Relationships, training and offering a humane/ intelligent way to divorce
  • By listening and talking to colleagues, how they approach cases, and how to talk about issues, my collaborative colleagues have helped with litigation cases.
  • Meeting other professionals
  • Growing my collaborative practice through networking in the Collaborative Community has led to referrals
  • Education, relationships, comradery, support
  • The professional community and the expertise of the professionals, they are a resource to bounce ideas
  • It's a nice way to practice law, I want to do more Collaborative work
  • I think the professionals in the NYACP are terrific people and I feel a sense of kinship with them through our commitment to collaborative law and creative problem solving.


NYACP members are spreading the word of Peaceful resolution throughout other Organizations

Presenting on the Inner Voice that we bring to the Collaborative table, Ivan Alter, Esq. along with several of his cohorts from the IACP Leadership Academy, gave a thoughtful presentation on how our inner voice impacts our communication and our process

At the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professional’s Annual Statewide Conference, Randy Heller, PhD joined with Steven Blumenthal to understand the origins of our conflict styles in an effort to learn to best manage team conflict. 

Our NYACP member Lara Traum, Esq. spoke about Managing Emotionally Charged Conversations at the New York State Council Divorce Mediation (NYSCDM) Conference.


IACP Forum Coming in October 2023  

Many NYACP members are not currently involved with the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). Participation in IACP's Annual Networking & Educational Forum will expand your Collaborative network, your skills, knowledge, and expertise as a Collaborative professional!

IACP's Annual Networking and Educational Forum is the world’s largest and most preeminent gathering of Collaborative and Consensual Dispute Resolution professionals from around the globe.

IACP is celebrating the 24th Annual Networking and Educational Forum at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from October 19 to 22, 2023! More details will be released closer to 2023's Forum dates.  Stay connected to IACP by checking your emails and following their social media pages! The theme this year is Change the Future: Collaborate. 

Earlybird Registration is Open! Be sure to log into your IACP profile BEFORE registering.

Not an IACP member? IACP members receive a $209 discount on registration, that's the cost of an individual IACP membership! Join today and you'll receive the discount for Forum and a year of benefits!

SAVE THE DATE! NYACP Annual Meeting and Training

Details to follow…

NYACP Fall Newsletter Submission Request!

Let your colleagues know more about you, personally...For our fall Newsletter, please begin to submit some of your best summer 2023 memories. 

Send your photos and comments to Randy Heller at [email protected].