#ORLANDO

My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those affected by the terrible tragedy in Orlando this weekend.

Orlando is not so far from home. Terrorism is not a nebulous threat. Terrorism by definition is a hate crime – a political statement, and whether homegrown or jihadist, it was a crime that was simultaneously unimaginable, and yet, far too common. Long Island was devastated in 2008 when Marcelo Lucero was stabbed to death when targeted by a gang that violently pursued Hispanics for sport. And our community was shocked when Ku Klux Klan fliers were found outside Rockville Centre, amidst reports that Hamptons Bay had become headquarters for the KKK with an estimated 50 to 70 members.

Hate crimes, as we experienced in Orlando this weekend, can be gruesome and violent beyond comprehension, but they can also be micro aggressions that haunt minority communities. A passing slur on the street, an insensitive joke that renders someone powerless and ashamed.

When I started my law firm 18 years ago on Long Island, I experienced racial bias on a daily basis. Doubt was cast on my ability and thrust upon my clients as a result. Donald Trump’s own admission that he doubts the ability of an Indiana judge of Mexican heritage to oversee his case due to his ethnicity is enough proof that those beliefs have not dissipated in the past two decades.

Hatred is built upon ignorance. As a volunteer and participant with Long Island’s LGBT Network, I have seen the bullying and disrespect cast towards LGBT youth. Doubt is often thrust upon them when teachers and classmates accuse them of being ‘confused,’ or ‘experimenting.’ Those words are hurtful and lead many in the LGBT community to seek refuge in safe spaces, like an LGBT nightclub, like Pulse in Orlando.

As a family lawyer, I have only seen the real life effects of gun violence when dealing with domestic disputes. However, this experience has allowed me to see the damage a gun can do to a family, but also the healing power that love can bring to that same home. I encourage all to set aside differences of religion, politics and lifestyle to search for the common ground of love. Only through cooperation and empathy, will we be able to find a solution to terrorism, gun violence and LGBTQ rights.

There are many ways to make the world a better place, many solutions that we may disagree upon, but it is important to remember that there is not one way to eradicate terrorism or hate crimes. This week, take an action step. Give blood (RedCrossBlood.org), write a note to your lawmakers (Congress.org) or say a prayer. Do something to make the world a better place, and most importantly – be kind to all you encounter.

 

The LGBT Network raised nearly $200,000 to support “Safe Schools Initiative”

On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, the LGBT Network honored former Nassau County legislator and family law attorney, David Mejias at the LGBT Network “Studio 54” Gala for his continuous support of the LGBT Network and his strong commitment to the LGBT community on Long Island and Queens.

LGBT Network’s 2016 “Studio 54” Gala to honor David Mejias

Studio54Gala2016_david-mejiasThe LGBT Network is honoring David Mejias of the law firm Mejias Milgrim & Alvarado at the 2016 LGBT Network “Studio 54” Gala on Wednesday, May 4th for both his life-long commitment to LGBT equality and his tireless support of the LGBT Network. As a family law attorney and Nassau County Legislator, David has led efforts to keep the children in our community safe. In honor of his efforts, the proceeds from the 2016 LGBT Network Gala will directly support the Network’s “Safe Schools Initiative,” which seeks to create safer schools for LGBT youth across Long Island and Queens through anti-bullying and youth empowerment programs. This year’s “Studio 54” Gala will feature disco tunes, dancing, and lounge seating with a cocktail party format. The program will be just 20 minutes, so guests can mix, mingle, and hit the dance floor. Join the LGBT Network in honoring David Mejias as we “boogie down against bullying.”

David Mejias honored at Long Island Business News’ Diversity in Business Awards

David Mejias Diversity in Business Award 2016

2016 Honorees of Diversity in Business Awards

On April 21, 2016, Long Island Business News hosted the Diversity in Business Awards to honor business leaders of diverse ethnicities, who have exemplified a leadership and commitment to increasing diversity in the business community on Long Island. Amongst the honorees was David Mejias, a family law attorney from Mejias, Milgrim & Alvarado, which is the only law firm on Long Island where every member of the firm is a minority.

When David Mejias put out his shingle to practice law he found himself very much alone as he discovered much to his dismay that he was one of the very few lawyers on Long island who could speak conversational English to his Spanish speaking clients.

Twenty years later the law firm of Mejias, Milgrim & Alvarado now employs a half dozen attorneys and five members of support staff all of whom happen to be women or minorities or both. For Mejias it is partly by design and partly his belief that minorities who have struggled to enter white collar professions are focused laser like on success.

“Our law firm’s staff represents 21st Century America and yet we share something that I believe has been a constant in our nation’s history. Every immigrant wave has been hungry to succeed, to demonstrate a work ethic that insists we are still a country of opportunity regardless of the prejudice or discrimination that seeks to hold that new group back,” observed Mejias.

While staff includes those of Indian, Latino and African American descent, Mejias says competence, professionalism and pride in winning cases remains the criteria for hiring. “Quotas don’t work here. But nor is there a sense of entitlement. We have been fortunate to find, recruit and retain smart people who happen to represent a spectrum of diversity. It also allows us to communicate with clients who share those ethnicities so there is nothing loss in language, culture or thought when you enter the courtroom.”

To the best of his knowledge Mejias says his is the only law firm on Long Island where every member of the law firm is a minority, especially if you define “minority” as being an overachiever.

How Many Marriages Are Too Many?

Divorce and remarriage was once a major faux pas. Interestingly enough, today it is common to meet people who have been married two or three times, and our culture is completely comfortable with it. Having multiple marriages really doesn’t shock people anymore. But statistics show that these people who are marrying multiple times are more likely to end their current marriage, and remarry once again. According to an article in TIME Magazine, “Statistics show that more second marriages break up than first ones and more third marriages — about 75% — break up than second ones.” I guess once forever isn’t forever, it’s easy to say, “Never mind, I’m getting sick of you.”

Though the divorce rate has been decreasing from 50% in recent years, there still remains the issue of “serial marriers.” Serial marriers are people, who have been married and divorced over and over, never maintaining a long, healthy marriage. A great example of someone you might consider a “serial marrier” is Larry King. Marrying 8 people in just 45 years, Larry King has earned a spot in the divorce hall of fame.  People would argue that 8 marriages is way too many in a lifetime, but really, how many marriages forces you over that line of acceptability?

It is completely plausible for someone to have married three times in their life due to unexpected circumstance. So when is it too much? According to psychologists, a serial marrier is someone who has been married 5 or more times.  It is assumed that serial marriers have psychological issues that play into their multiple marriages. Do we cut people off at four weddings, and force them to get therapy if they try to walk down the aisle a fifth time?

Laws do not regulate morality, so legally nothing can be done to prevent someone from entering into too many marriages. But it is interesting to think about whether or not a regulation on how many marriage certificates can be issued to one person would be supported. I guess you can’t put a limit on “love.”

7 Signs Your Relationship Won’t Last After You Walk Down the Aisle

Every day I come across couples in the process of divorce that say, “I was so blinded” or “How could I have missed all the signs?” When I hear about their relationship, it shocks me that they are surprised at all.  We as a society get caught up in the idea of “true love” and “happily ever after” that we are blinded by our unhealthy, unhappy relationships. A diamond ring and giant party do not make a relationship last, and you should be aware of the signs that lead to relationship failure before you head down the aisle. Below are seven signs that you are in the wrong relationship and should end it before it’s too late.

  1. Your partner is secretive and paranoid with their phone

 Number one sign that your significant other is cheating: hiding and protecting their phone. The only reason your partner is gripping onto their phone for dear life is because there is something they don’t want you to see. If this is the case, it means they are already keeping secrets from you and therefore will feel comfortable doing so in your marriage. Lying and lack of trust are one of the top reasons people get divorced.

  1. Your partner is secretive about the relationship on social media

If your partner is secretive about your relationship on social media, ask yourself why? Most likely it is because they are either ashamed to be with you or he/she doesn’t want people thinking they’re taken – just in case something better comes along. If this is the case, you should definitely reconsider getting married. Both people in the relationship should be proud to be with one another and want the world to know. Also, you don’t want to have anyone second guessing as you exchange those rings because if they are, you’re doomed.

  1. You two play power games to be the one “wearing the pants” in the relationship

Power play is never going to work in a marriage. If you find your partner becoming distant or trying to make it seem like they care less about you than you do them, it’s time to break up immediately. This shows that your partner is insecure and incapable of being in an even, committed partnership. They will never be on your team. If you or your partner will only put in enough effort to keep one another on the edge of comfortable, your marriage will fail miserably.

  1. Jealousy is a constant issue

When people get jealous to the point where they become angry and aggressive, or depressed, it is usually a sign of trust issues. Whether this jealousy comes from a place of insecurity or is a general trait of the person, it shows that when push comes to shove, the person does not trust their partner. As mentioned, trust is arguably the most important quality for engaged couples. If you don’t trust your partner or they don’t trust you despite other people’s actions, most likely this will blow up in the future and you will end up searching for a divorce lawyer.

  1. You never turn to each other for emotional support

Who do you want to call to vent to when you have a bad day? If your significant other wasn’t the answer you should just end it now. If you don’t feel comfortable leaning on your partner for emotional support now, you will drown when the actual tough stuff starts to happen. Marriage isn’t easy people.

  1. You can think of several friends or colleagues whom you’d rather be in a relationship with

If you or your partner spends time daydreaming about other potential partners then remove that ring and cancel your wedding. If you aren’t in the “you and only you” mentality now, you will never be while you’re with this person. That feeling doesn’t magically grow over time.

  1. You blame your partner for your life not being as satisfying as you’d like it to be

Placing blame on one another for the unfortunate events that are taking place in your life or for your personal stagnancy and lack of growth is a big red flag. First of all, if this is happening, you two clearly aren’t facing life as a team and you are probably insecure with who you are and where your life is going. Run away from that altar if your fiancé blames you in this way, if you don’t, you’ll be miserable later, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

So, if you face any of these traits with your partner, you should begin to consider your options to make a happier life for yourself.

State of the Union Proved Uneventful

The President’s messaging was, by and large spot on, especially the need for both sides of the political aisle to review their rhetoric and ask whether their language aids in ensuring a better state of the union. The problem for the President is that he seems unable to inspire a nation. It is not sufficient to be bright, which he clearly is, or cogent, of which there is little doubt. But his inability to resonate with the vast number of Americans ensured that few beyond political wonks were watching his address. He has become background noise to the national debate,  doing little more than seeking to assert his legacy in the closing months of his administration as opposed to an inspiring leader who galvanizes the average  citizen. He could, ironically, take lessons from Winston Churchill, a man Obama views as a reactionary colonial apologist, as to how to make oratory work to advance his political agenda.  Alas, that lesson is now moot for this State of the Union.

2015 Long Island Business News Leadership in Law Award

dave-mejias-Long-Island-Business-News-Leadership-Law-Award-2015I wanted to thank the Long Island Business News for their continued support throughout the years. Last night I was awarded with the LIBN Leadership in Law Award for my commitment to the Long Island community, and in particular, the Hispanic youth community. My passion for enriching the lives of young Hispanics in Nassau and Suffolk County has been a passion of mine since I was young. The joy of encouraging their engagement and participation in their own education and future, through internships and scholarships has brought so much positivity and fulfillment to my own life. Thank you to Long Island Business News for this encouraging award; I look forward to doing you proud and continuing to build a legacy bright future for Long Island’s tomorrow!

leaderlaw-125x125

From Long Island Business News

As a Long Island family law attorney and managing partner of Mejias, Milgrim and Alvarado, Dave Mejias has been serving as a community leader within the Long Island Hispanic community for more than two decades, working tirelessly for the voices of his county and his heritage. He has championed the Long Island Hispanic community fighting for education and career opportunities. Dave is chairman of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association Community Service Fund and has helped raise more than thirty thousand dollars in scholarship money. As a Nassau County Legislator, he has led the effort to keep children safe from sex offenders by sponsoring the Megan’s Notification Law in New York State and wrote the legislation implementing residency restrictions for sex offenders. Please join me in awarding Dave Mejias as a Long Island Business News Leadership in Law Awardee.

 

Children of Divorce Face Life Long Insecurities if Parents Don’t Take Responsibility

Ask any child of divorce and they will agree, they were victims of a more difficult childhood and they still – 20 years later – admit that their parents’ divorce causes struggles for them.

Divorce is an all too common occurrence that can cause families to put their children at an emotional risk every day for the rest of their lives. According to Psychologist Judith Wallerstein, who followed a group of children of divorce for 25 years, divorce is not a sudden obstacle the child faces, but a life changing occurrence that alters their self-views and their opinion of the world at large.

As a divorce lawyer, I’m forced to see the fall-out of shattered relationships and the struggles each spouse has coming to terms with what they perceive as failure, loss and sometimes abandonment. Years of research have showed us that the children in these situations are at obvious risk as well – suffering future feelings of insecurity and self-doubt as a result of absentee parents.

What disheartens me the most is on the front lines it seems that the children most at risk are the ones whose parents are the least likely to take the time to talk about the child’s feelings, academics, problem-behavior or insecurities. In fact, these are the same parents I see that use their children as a pawn while waging war against their spouse.

If a child turns to alcohol and drug use or their academics falter, many parents berate and scold the child without taking into account their own culpability.

So what can be done? How can we mitigate feelings of failure, inadequacy and insecurity from a child while their parent faces the same emotions? How can a parent, determined to turn a new leaf with a new love, move on from the pain of divorce without forcing the child to be emotionally scarred.

  1. You Cannot Control Your Spouse

You love your child, and you do not have control over how your spouse shows their love. If your former spouse misses a sporting event or forgets to pick your child up from school, your child assumes they are to blame or that their parent doesn’t love them. This will be the most heartbreaking journey of your life, and while it may feel good in the moment to fault the other parent, you must remember that the best thing you can do is show the child love. They do not need you to support their doubt in someone, but build confidence in themselves.

  1. Let your Child Express Him or Herself

This is a sad situation. It is upsetting and hurtful and difficult to manage. You know that, your spouse knows that – and your child should know that too. If at every juncture, your child is unable to express their anger, frustration or sadness because they are told, “It will be OK,” “Don’t worry,” or “It is better this way,” they will feel as though their valid emotions are inappropriate and wrong. Support your child and let them grieve how they see best. Allow them to face their disappointment without you sugarcoating the situation or cutting them off with your own disappointment. This is a difficult point to balance – but an important one to grasp.

  1. Don’t Make Your Child Feel Guilty

Many parents subconsciously make their child feel guilty for spending time with the other parent. Children are all too good at reading the room. Greet the other parent with a smile, and let the child feel confident in spending time with you and your former spouse. Feeling awkward about coming home from the other parent’s house is an issue as well. It may be difficult to hear about your spouse and his or her new flame, but this is still your child’s life and their reality. Take an interest in their weekend. A good rule of thumb is to pretend you are asking about their time at camp or at a grandparent’s house. You don’t need to know if Grandma and Grandpa were holding hands or happy – you want to know if your child felt happy and fulfilled. Remember, it’s not a time for gossip, but silence can send the wrong question as well.

  1. Encourage Your Child to Use Their Voice

If Mom or Dad has been negligent in spending time with your child and they have voiced their concern to you, encourage them to speak with the offending parent. Many spouses will take this upon themselves and attack the absent parent or put them on the defensive. Embolden your child to politely tell the other parent that they would like to spend more time together. This communication will better serve them in the future and teach them not to keep their feelings bottled up.

  1. Get Help

Divorce is one of the few life situations where I see otherwise smart, capable, whole parents – totally unable to navigate the emotional turmoil they have caused. The havoc wreaked is of their own making, and leads some to feelings of guilt and failure. Due to the parent being unable to properly handle the weight of this parenting conundrum – I highly recommend that each family should see a children’s psychiatrist or family therapist. Each parent needs an objective, unbiased observer that can hear the child’s pleas for help and assist the spouses with a post-marriage relationship that is suitable for their situation.