NYACP News ~ Summer 2019

In This Issue...

  1. President's Letter to our Members
  2. Being Mentored by a Collaborative Team
  3. State Bar Proposes Changes to Professional Conduct Rule Affecting Mediators
  4. Basic Collaborative Interdisciplinary Training
  5. Upcoming Events
  6. Spring Event Review
  7. Member News

President's Letter

By Andrea Vacca

As I look back over the past several months, I can’t help but feel so much gratitude and appreciation for our NYACP members and our organization in general.

There have been so many events that have given us the opportunity to network, learn together and grow as collaborative professionals and have repeatedly reminded me of how unique NYACP is when compared to other professional organizations.
In particular, these past and future events stand out for me:

• In May, as I was participating in the Meet the Heat: An Experiential Training, I found myself looking around the room and feeling so grateful for, and frankly in awe of, our collaborative community. Our Family Specialist members were engaging us in well thought-out role plays to help demonstrate difficult emotional issues that come up in our collaborative cases. And, our members were enthusiastically working with each other and with the trainers in response to those role plays. We were not only actively learning together, but also having fun and enjoying each other’s company. Thank you again to all the Family Specialists who worked so many hours to bring that program together.

• In the last 2 weeks, I’ve also felt much appreciation for our board members who took time to organize and host information sessions in NYC, Long Island and Westchester for professionals who are interested in taking the Basic Collaborative Interdisciplinary Training that we’ll be offering on November 1, 2 and 4th in White Plains this year. These board members thought about the colleagues in their orbits who would make good collaborative professionals and personally invited them to attend these sessions. Other NYACP members also recommended colleagues to attend, which I’m thankful for. We know that the more qualified professionals we have doing this work, the more families we can help through the collaborative process. In NYC, we were lucky to have 2 experienced BCIT Trainers, Deborah Hope Wayne and MaryEllen Linnehan, with us to explain what to expect at the training and to answer questions that came up. If you know of anyone who may be interested in the training, please refer them to Executive Director, Abby Curro, who can get them all the information they need.

• Looking forward, I’m excited that Justice Matthew Cooper will be joining us on September 19 to present Spousal Support and Child Support: A View from the Bench Meets the View from the Collaborative Professionals. Support is a topic that has strong legal, financial and emotional ramifications for our clients. Regardless of our professional discipline, we need to know how it’s dealt with in court as well as in the collaborative process. Thank you to our Education and Training Committee for putting this program together.

• Our past and future social events which are all detailed below are also a reason to be thankful. It’s at these events that we can connect, catch up with colleagues, and meet new members. The Northern Westchester Pod hosted a potluck dinner on June 13 and the Long Island members will be hosting a happy hour event at Jewel restaurant in Melville on August 15. Those who attended the NYC Pod “Rooftop Party” that Amy Day hosted on June 15 were especially grateful that Amy had a beautiful common area to host our members after heavy rain eliminated our ability to be outside that night.

• I’m grateful for how supportive we are of each other to be the best collaborative professionals we can, which Jacqueline Caputo beautifully demonstrates in her essay that follows. In addition to reading about the generosity and knowledge that our members imparted through their mentoring, I personally loved the juxtaposition she describes between the courthouse and the collaborative table. Was I the only one who felt a pit in her stomach while reading about what her day was like in court?

• And finally, I’m thrilled that we now have this newsletter! It’s been several years since NYACP put one out, but our members let us know they wanted us to bring back. It will now be a quarterly publication. Thank you to our Newsletter Committee chair, Neil Cahn, and to Executive Director, Abby Curro for bringing all the pieces together. Please read on and let us know your thoughts.

With much appreciation and admiration,



Being Mentored by a Collaborative Team

By Jacqueline Caputo

On a Wednesday afternoon in February, I run down the steps outside of Nassau Supreme Court, out of breath and sweating, utterly stressed and frustrated. I've spent the last three hours standing in a crowded hallway, holding a gigantic file overstuffed with notes, correspondence and now seemingly pointless motions. I've been pleading with a rude and obstinate opposing counsel to make a reasonable settlement proposal, but he's never willing to do so. When I finally have the opportunity to discuss the case with the court, the judge's law secretary, although brilliant and very well intentioned, has just managed to set settlement back even further in a less than five minute conversation. We are given a trial date in July. My client is publicly berating me and I can't blame her for being upset. After nearly three years of litigation, she has no real plan for moving forward. She fears losing her house and despite being awarded attorneys’ fees that her husband never actually pays, she still owes me tens of thousands of dollars. She feels lost, and if I'm being honest, so do I. But I can't think about it all anymore today because I am late to my next meeting, and to me, it's one of the most important meetings of my career. I have been invited to observe a six-way meeting in an actual collaborative divorce.

Last year, I took my basic collaborative training and since then I've spent many hours in our local support group learning from experienced professionals. I have also worked alongside other collaborative colleagues trying to spread the word and educate others on the benefits of the collaborative process. But I have yet to actually experience the process first hand. That is about to change.

I sit down at the table. The meeting is already well underway. Mr. and Mrs. are accompanied by their respective counsel. There is a Family Specialist and a Financial Neutral at either end of the table. They are working through a complicated issue, but they are fortified by detailed budgets and projections. They know what they can afford and what they need to do to achieve an outcome that will satisfy them both, a specific outcome which probably wouldn't have been reached in litigation. They are making smart decisions. Emotions begin to flare, but are quickly cooled by a brief caucus to refocus and restore calm. The parties are able to get back on track.

I am mesmerized by what I am witnessing. This is a well-oiled machine. This is a well-choreographed dance. This is how it should be!

These particular parties have decades of problems and baggage. They can barely communicate. They have drastically different parenting styles. The wife labels her husband a raging alcoholic. And despite all of that, they are effectively and efficiently reorganizing and untangling their lives, and they strike a deal.

I am fortunate to be here. I am gaining a practical understanding of how this all works before I ever have a chance to do it for myself. I am watching an experienced team; a team that has worked together successfully before. I am learning firsthand from some of the very best. I am able to pick their brains at the post-meeting debrief. They use some terms that I am not familiar with and I take note. They have even been generous enough to include me on joint their conference calls and emails in between meetings. I notice that there are always snacks and drinks provided because this sets a comfortable tone. This may seem silly at first, but I learn that it's actually quite important.

As the conversation develops among the parties and the professionals at the table, I imagine what my responses might be. Sometimes I am right on; answering in my mind just as the pros in the room are in real time. But sometimes I am not, and I am able to analyze their responses, as opposed to how I might have handled it. There is much to be learned in this exercise.

I am careful not to overstep my bounds in the limited role of observer, of mentee, but at one point in the final meeting, I find myself alone with them and I cannot help but tell Mr. and Mrs. that they have made a wise decision in choosing this process. They don't even realize it because they have no idea how bad things can be just down the road at Nassau Supreme Court. They can't even appreciate what they have just accomplished together.

A few weeks after my mentoring experience came to an end, I was officially retained on my first collaborative case. I made the announcement to my colleagues as if I had just given birth! It is a momentous achievement for me. It will be the first of many. I am confident in that, but as a result of my training and subsequent mentoring, I am so much more confident and well-equipped take on this new challenge for the first time. I am now more prepared and more ready. It won't be a perfect process, but I know I'll have plenty of support if needed from our wonderful collaborative community. And for that, I will always be grateful and enriched.

Note: Jackie was mentored by Harriette Steinberg, Neil Cahn, Neil Grossman, and Bryan Koslow

State Bar Proposes Changes to Professional Conduct Rule Affecting Mediators

The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct (“COSAC”) is engaged in a comprehensive review of the New Your Rules of Professional Conduct (22 N.Y.C.R.R. Part 1200). COSAC circulated a memorandum asking for public comment on proposals to amend various sections and their Comments. Comments are due on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM. Comments should be sent by e-mail to [email protected]. Any new or different language should be sent in redlined style revealing what is to be deleted and what is to be added.

Included among the rules proposed to be amended is rule 2.4 (see PDF): Lawyer Serving as Third-Party Neutral. Because many of our lawyer-members serve as mediators, in addition to collaborative counsel, this rule change should be of interest.  A pdf of the changes can be found her: Proposed Attorney Rule Changes

BCIT 2019

The NYACP 2019 Basic Collaborative Interdisciplinary Training (BCIT) three (3) day training will be held on Friday, November 1st, Saturday, November 2nd, and Monday, November 4th, 2019 at the Cambria Hotel White Plains - Downtown, 250 Main Street, White Plains. This year, our trainers will include Lauren Behrman, Ph.D., Lili Vasileff CFP, CDFA, MAFF and Deborah Wayne, Esq..

Information sessions about Collaborative Practice and the Training were held in Manhattan, Westchester and on Long Island to provide an overview about the process and details about the BCIT.  The sessions were hosted by our NYACP Board members, and provided an opportunity for all the attendees to learn more about the process to become a Collaborative Professional, while enjoying coffee and danish at the Manhattan and Long Island events, and wine and cheese at the Westchester info session. 


Spousal Support and Child Support: A View from the Bench Meets the View from the Collaborative Professionals

Thursday, September 19th from 5:30pm - 8:30pm

On September 19, 2019 at 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 60 East 42d St., NY, NY, New York County Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper (pictured) will provide a view from the bench, focusing on child support in shared custody arrangements and spousal support in light of tax changes, and are other developments or changes in divorce litigation and practice in 2019. Other panelists include Neil Cahn, who will discuss the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA); terminating the alimony deduction (see, e.g., Wisseman v. Wisseman, 97 N.Y.S.3d 823, 825 (Sup. Ct. Dutchess Co. 2019) [Rosa, J.]) and personal exemptions; changes in the tax rates; and tax credits; and the burden of proof and the role of experts (and Financial Specialists in the Collaborative Process) and available software. Moderators include Ken Novenstern and Anthony Markus and opening and closing remarks from Melissa Goodstein. Register Here

Long Island Happy Hour

Our Long Island members will be meeting for happy hour drinks and hors d’ouvres on Thursday August 15, 2019 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at Jewel, 400 Broadhollow Rd. (Route 110 or LIE So. Service Rd.), in Melville.


NYACP Member Networking Boat Cruise ~ Alive After Five in New York

Thursday, September 12th from 5:30pm - 8:00pm 

The entire NYACP membership is invited to a fall networking event, a NYC Happy Hour on the Harbor! Join us as we get together for a fall NYACP Member event...and a completely different way to do a social hour! The Alive After Five is a two-hour cruise with a laid-back vibe, great drinks, a bite to eat, and good times! A DJ will provide a soundtrack to the sights of NYC as we network with our co-collaborative professionals in a relaxing and fun atmosphere! More...

Fall Webinar

The topic of this webinar is yet to be determined, so if you have a suggestion for a program, or would like to submit a proposal for a presentation, contact the NYACP office.

NYACP Annual Meeting ~ The Power and Challenge of Teams 

Join us on December 5th, 2019 at the Brae Burn Country Club as we join together to celebrate the year, conduct our annual business meeting, and experience Nancy Cameron and Yuval Berger's workshop on the "The Power and Challenge of Teams".

Practicing in Collaborative teams provides tremendous structural support for clients going through collaborative process.  Yes, this work can also be extremely challenging.  Team members may have different values which may be in conflict, may align to closely with their clients and may be triggered by interactions with clients or with other professionals.  This workshop will give skills and insights to help us identify challenges and engage constructively with the challenges in order to increase the power of our Collaborative teamwork.

Please mark your calendar to join us for this wonderful program and opportunity to network with colleagues and friends in December!

It Was a Busy Spring!

Here's a little sample of the great events NYACP has had for our members this past spring!  And while we enjoy our member only events, it was wonderful to welcome some new faces to these programs also.  For more photos, visit the NYACP website, or click here!

NYC Pod Rooftop Party

For Members Only - Hosted by the NYC Pod
June 18th
NYC Pod members enjoyed wine and cheese on a roof top lounge in the center of New York City! 


Northern Westchester Pod Pot Luck Dinner

For Members Only - Hosted by the Northern Westchester Pod
June 13th
Members of the Northern Westchester Pod cooked, ate and socialized to start their summer sizzling!


NYACP Members
Website Training

For Members Only
June 6th and June 12th Online

Members participated in an online training for the new NYACP website learning how to navigate the website and connect with their peers.  If you have any questions about the new website, please contact the NYACP office.

TCJA ~ It’s Not Just Alimony that Changed

For Members Only - Hosted by the Northern Westchester POD
June 6th in Mt. Kisco

MEET THE HEAT: An Experiential Training by the Mental Health Professionals of NYACP

Open to Members and Non-Members
Wednesday, May 22nd in NYC

Presented by the NYACP Mental Health professionals (and over a delicous dinner) small groups worked in three different role play teams and then saw what a family specialist could bring to the table.

In the ten plus years that we’ve been a multidisciplinary organization, our MHPs have been developing an ever more attuned role in the Collaborative process.Collaborative meetings are often heated, and knowing how to get in there and be with the intensity of difficult emotions is something at which family specialists excel.

This was a fun, informative and interactive evening – and a great way for us to network and learn!

Pictured - Our trainers for the evening: (L to R standing) Elana Katz, Jeff Zimmerman, Lauren Behrman, Abby Rosmarin, Jonah Schrag, Judie Stein, Meg Sussman, and        . (L to R sitting) Robert Raymond, Jeffrey Steiger, and Barbara Rothberg. Not pictured: Tracy Ross, Juliet Cooper, Lisa Muran, Roxane Polak.


"The Perfect Crime” & Drinks afterward! 

For Members Only - Hosted by the NYC Pod
March 26th in NYC
Fun was had by all, working together to solve a crime, and then enjoying cocktails after their escape!


LIFE INSURANCE LESSONS: "Everything you need to know about life insurance as it relates to divorce"

For Members Only
March 28th in Mount Kisco

LGBTQI Training

For Members and Non Members
March 12th in NYC
With the legalization of same gender couples marrying in New York, there has been a concomitant rise in the number of same gender couples getting divorced.  Many same gender couples choose Collaborative Divorce as the best process for the dissolution of their marriage and attendees at this training gained much needed insight on how to effectively work with this population. 


  Novenstern and Jancko-Baken Merge Firms

Effective July 1, 2019, our Director Kenneth Novenstern, of the Mount Kisco-based divorce law firm Novenstern & Gaudio, merged practices with Director Ellen Jancko-Baken (formerly of Fredman, Baken & Kosan) and Neil Fredman. The new matrimonial law firm, Fredman, Baken & Novenstern. will have offices at 333 Westchester Avenue in White Plains, NY, and 69 South Bedford Road in Mt. Kisco, NY.

Ken commented, “Ellen and I pride ourselves on having built a practice that is dedicated to providing solutions for our clients that minimize pain and disruptions to their families.” The combined firm boasts over 100 years of matrimonial law experience spanning across all facets of the field, including: divorce and property distribution, child custody and visitation, support-related matters and pre and post-nuptial agreements. For additional information, visit FNBdivorcelaw.com.


Members Address International Psychotherapy Conference

Bob Raymond, Ph.D., Roxane Polak, Ph.D., and Abby Rosmarin, Esq, LMHC, along with Shireen Meistrich, LCSW (past president of IACP) presented at an international conference of the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI) in Lisbon, Portugal on June 8th.  Their panel was entitled “Family Transitions: The Mental Health Professional’s Role in Collaborative Divorce.”  

The New York Association of Collaborative Professionals
230 Washington Avenue Extension, Suite 101, 
Albany, New York  12203
Phone: 518-313-0420 | Fax: 518-463-8656