“Children are sponges”.  We’ve all heard that before, but do we think of it while going about our daily routines?  From the time they are born, children are watching and observing.  It is from us that they learn everything…how to speak, what gestures to make, how to walk, how to eat, how to react in stressful situations, etc.  But it doesn’t stop when they are babies.  They are always observing, especially their parents or caretakers.

During my 22 years practicing in the area of divorce and family law, I have had many occasions to speak to clients who were telling me, on the telephone, about their current troubling issue involving the child’s other parent, when I would hear the child in the background. Whenever that happens, I ask my client “Is that your child that I hear?”  When they say “yes”, I ask them to call me later since they should not be speaking about issues concerning the other parent in the presence of the child.  The responses I receive are invariably as follows:  “He’s not paying attention”, or “She’s too young to understand or “He knows what’s going on anyway, so it doesn’t matter” or “I am teaching my child honesty, so she has a right to know what is happening” and similar such responses.  It cannot be overstated that your children do not want to be involved in the issues that you have with your current or former spouse or partner.  That person is their parent too.  Children should not have to be in the position of picking a side.  They should be permitted to love both of their parents without having to deal with whatever issues mom and dad have with each other.

The continued exposure to the disparagement of the other parent has long term effects on the children.  How that will manifest, of course, will vary from child to child, but without exception, they are affected.
I have never done a formal survey, but I would like to think that the goal of most parents is to raise happy, well adjusted children.  So here are some tips on how to do that:
1.  Smile.  Your children will be happier if they see you happy.  Be that example for them.
2.  Give them time.  We all lead very busy lives, but if your little one wants to show you something, or your middle school child wants to watch something on TV with you or your teenager actually wants to talk to you about something, stop what you’re doing and say “yes”.  The work will always be there waiting for you and you will never be sorry for the time that you spent with your child.
3.  Be present.  When you are spending time with your child, pay attention.  If you are checking your phone or doing other things during the time you are spending with them, they will do the same.  Try to make it a point to spend uninterrupted time with your child when you are totally present and then watch your relationship blossom.
4.  Be a good example.  Think about the adult that you want your child to become and then be that example.  Treat them with kindness and respect and give them structure to follow. This will teach them to do the same with others and to have direction in life.
The list, of course, can go on and on, but if you remember that children are “sponges” that get weighed down if they absorb too much drama and negativity, hopefully you’ll think twice about what you say in their presence.


I’ve been practicing for over 20 years as a divorce attorney.  From working with people whose marriages did not work out, I believe that the following are the keys to a good marriage:

1. Marry  someone who views the world the same way you do.  You can’t change your spouse into you.  If your approach towards problems, issues, and other things in general is completely opposite from your spouse’s, it is likely that it will be more difficult to resolve disagreements.  However, if you approach issues the same way and have basically the same philosophy on life, you will have less frowns and more smiles.
2.  Choose your battles.  No one is perfect.  No matter who you marry, there will be things that your spouse does that you don’t love.  Make a conscious decision to let some of those things go (as long as those bad habits do not effect your health or safety).
3.  Don’t fight about the children in front of the children.  Make it a rule between you and your spouse that if you are having a problem with one of your children, that the two of you discuss that problem outside of the child’s presence.
4.  Be a good listener.  One of the best ways you can show your spouse that you care is to listen when he/she talks.  When you interrupt or walk away while your spouse is trying to talk  to you, you’re sending the message that what they say or think is not important to you.  Really listening shows that you care and that your spouse is important to you.

Try these tips for 30 days and let me know if they make a difference in your relationship!

What Do You Do When You’re In The Hospital And Need Help? Do You Call 911?

The question in the subject line is what one of my clients asked me.  She was distraught over the death of her 43 year old son.  He died of dehydration in a rehabilitation facility even though my client knew that something just wasn’t right with her son and kept asking his doctors to help.

So, is there anything you can do while your loved one is in the hospital to prevent him or her from being injured due to medical malpractice?  Yes there is.

1.   Be there.  Go to the hospital and stay with your loved one as much as possible.  Get to know the names of the nurses and doctors taking care of him or her.

2.  Write it down.   Make a written list of your loved one’s medications, allergies,  and unique issues such as dementia or being sight or hearing impaired.  Have a few copies with you when you go to the hospital or emergency room so that you can give a copy to the caretakers.

3.  Speak up.  Ask to speak with the doctor about your hospitalized  loved one’s progress.  If you are not getting satisfactory answers to your questions, or if you are unable to see the doctor despite your requests to do so, speak to the patient advocate at the hospital about your concerns.

4.  Request a meeting. You have the right to request a team meeting with all of your hospitalized loved one’s medical providers so that you may fully understand the treatment plan that is being implemented.

5. Talk to an attorney.  If despite all of your best efforts, you believe that your loved was injured or died due to medical malpractice, obtain all of the medical records and contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney for help.



You knew that things weren’t so great in your marriage lately, but you thought that eventually things would work out and then BAM!…you get served with divorce papers.

For many people that this happens to, it’s very shocking.  Even if you knew things weren’t great, you were married.  You had a life together and a divorce threatens everything that is life as you know it.  So what do you do after you get over the shock of the papers that you’re holding in your hands?

Since this is being written by a lawyer, you’re probably thinking that the obvious answer is to contact an attorney, and you’re right, but there’s more to it than that.  Everyone’s situation is a little different depending on how long you were married, whether you have children, whether both of you worked and what your marital assets are.

While it is true that you must contact an attorney as soon as possible after you receive your divorce papers so that you can protect your rights, before you speak with an attorney you should think of the following:

Who will have custody of the children;

Who will live in the marital home and who will move out;

If you are dependent on your spouse for income, how much money do you need per month to live on individually or, if you have children, with your children;

What marital assets do you have.

In NY, you only have 20 days to put in an answer to a complaint that was personally served on you.  You should therefore contact an attorney to discuss your situation with you personally.  as soon as possible.  With the right attorney, by the time you are finished with your initial meeting you will have a plan on how to proceed.

Going through a divorce can be very difficult but with proper action early on you will be able to work towards the best result in a difficult situation.

Sandra M. Radna, Esq.

Do Your Children Know What To Do If They Get Into A Car Accident?

So it’s that time of year again.  Summer is coming to an end.  We’ve had a few days of cool weather and it’s time for back to school.  We are buying back to school supplies, getting new school clothes and sending children off to college.  It’s a bittersweet time of year full of not only endings but exciting new beginnings and potential.  One of the most exciting things for our children, and scary things for parents, is driving.  Learning how to drive in Driver’s Ed, being a senior in high school and being permitted to drive to school or taking a car to college.  This is a very good time to speak to your children about safety when driving and what to do if they have the misfortune of getting into a car accident. Give them the following tips:

  • If anyone in your car is injured, don’t move your car-CALL 911
  • Get accident report information from  police.
  • Do not to move the cars involved in the accident until the police arrive.
  • Do not make any statements to other drivers, witnesses, or insurance representatives for the other driver without consulting an attorney.
  • Take photos of the scene of the accident and vehicles involved, if possible.

After you seek medical attention, you, or someone on your behalf, should contact your car insurance company.  Failure to contact your insurance company within 30 days after your accident may result in nonpayment of your medical bills.

If you would like a glove compartment card with this and other important information with regard to do in the event of a car accident, please reply to this email and we will send you as many as you need right away.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and stay safe!


Happy Summer! I love this time of the year! The hot weather, the beach, the pool, the barbecues and the sun!

However, we have to take the good with the bad when it comes to the sun, right? No, I’m not going to warn you about the dangers of exposing your skin to the sun. I think we are all well versed in that. What you may not be aware of, though, are the dangers of sun glare. Yes, sun glare.

Sun glare is one of the contributing factors in 3,000 car accidents every year. Shocking, isn’t it? More shocking is the fact that a NY court found a driver liable, when he claimed the accident was caused by sun glare, because the driver should have anticipated the sun glare at that time of day. See Lifson v. City of Syracuse (NY State Court of Appeals, Oct. 13, 2011).

Here are some tips to avoid sun glare car accidents:

1. Clean your windshields. A dirty windshield only worsens the problem.

2. Wear quality sunglasses with polarized lenses and UV protection. Unpolarized lenses don’t effectively help.

3. Use the car visor in your car. It can be very effective at blocking the sun.

4. Turn headlights on so oncoming motorists can see you as they’re driving toward the sun.

5. Use the same precautions and care as driving in other hazardous conditions, like fog or rain.


We’ve all heard the joke…”What do you call 500 attorneys at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.”

I hate lawyer jokes. Not just because I’m an attorney and I don’t want to end up on the bottom of the ocean. I hate the jokes because they are a reflection on what people think about attorneys in general.

Everyone needs an attorney at some point. It may be for personal reasons or business reasons.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right attorney, so that you don’t want him/her to be at the bottom of the ocean by the time you’re done with your case:

  • Be aware that your relationship with your attorney is just that…a relationship. You must feel comfortable with the attorney you will be using. This part of the equation is often based solely on personality. You need someone with whom you will feel comfortable speaking. The most important components of the attorney client relationship are trust and honesty. If you are not comfortable with your attorney, trust and complete, detailed honesty are not likely to be achieved.
  • Meet the attorney in person. This is the best way to determine if the attorney is right for you. As we all know, there are certain subtleties that cannot be picked up over the phone.
  • Prior to meeting the attorney, do some research. If the attorney was referred to by someone you know, ask some questions. What did the recommender like about the attorney? How quickly did the attorney return phone calls or e-mails? Did the attorney solve the problem in a satisfactory and timely manner?
  • Look the attorney up on the internet. Look at his/her website. Make sure that the problem that you are consulting the attorney about is listed as one of the attorney’s practice areas.
  • When you meet with the attorney and you tell him/her your problem, they should listen to you. If the attorney does not have time to listen to you the first time that you meet, it is unlikely that the attorney will listen to you after he/she is retained. An attorney is only able to effectively represent you if they fully understand your problem and if they do not listen to you, full comprehension of your problem is impossible.
  • What is the attorney’s plan to solve your problem? An experienced attorney will be able to tell you how he/she will handle your problem in order to achieve the quickest and most satisfactory resolution.
  • What are the attorney’s fees? The attorney should tell you what his/her fees are and when and how you will be billed. The attorney’s fee should not be a surprise to be found out after he/she has already commenced work. You should sign a written retainer agreement that is clear and understandable to you. The retainer agreement should contain any particulars about your fee arrangement with the attorney to which you agreed.

If you follow the above guidelines, you should be able to choose an experienced, competent attorney that you trust and who will solve your problem to your satisfaction.