Nancy Chemtob, a matrimonial lawyer, has helped Mary-Kate Olsen, Tory Burch, Bobby Flay and other celebrities get divorced. After practicing for decades as the founding partner of Chemtob Moss Forman & Beyda, one of the largest matrimonial firms in New York City, Ms. Chemtob went through a divorce herself, in 2012.
Her divorce was horrific and unexpected, she said. But she got through it and remarried six years later.
These days, Ms. Chemtob, 57, lives in Chelsea with her husband, Michael Kubin, 71, an executive in targeted advertising. Each has three adult sons from their first marriages, some of whom occasionally stay with them and their Goldendoodle, Sunshine, in their three-bedroom apartment.
MASS MEDITATION When I met Michael, he almost made it a prerequisite for me dating him that I start meditating, I guess because of the trauma of my divorce. Now it’s the first thing I do when I wake up at 7 a.m. We meditate through a dial-in call with Bob Roth, the chief executive of the David Lynch Foundation, which is dedicated to the practice of Transcendental Meditation. Sometimes there’s 2,000 people on the call. You’re not supposed to drink coffee before, but I do.
SELF-CARE We’ll have some breakfast, usually oatmeal, which Michael can cook. The only thing I’m capable of cooking without burning the house down is an egg in a hat. After that I go to Tracy Anderson’s 9:30 exercise class, in TriBeCa. It’s absolute torture, but it keeps me sane physically and mentally. When I walk home I listen to self-help books. This past Sunday, I was listening to “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.” Prior to that it was “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” They’re work-oriented things, not ‘how to have better skin’ type things. I’m always looking for things that teach me how to be more organized, how to get things done.
TO-DO LIST When I get home I’ll look at my calendar for the week and try to schedule what I need to get done personally around my work appointments and social plans. It’s stuff like going to the chiropractor, returning things or buying gifts for weddings. I’m at the age where all my friends’ kids are getting married. As the week progresses, I know I’ll have to start canceling some of them, because with the type of work I do there can be a crisis. I may have to make an emergency court appearance on a Wednesday, for example.
TABLE HOPPING We usually go out for lunch with my kids or Michael’s kids or friends. Eating is a huge part of our lives. In Chelsea. I like Pastis and Cookshop. I live right near Chelsea Market, so it can be fun to walk in there and decide what you’re eating. We always do something in the afternoon as a reward for a long week.
CRISIS CONTROL I might check in with a client who’s in a lot of distress to see how they’re doing. When people are going through a divorce, most problems don’t happen Monday through Friday from 9 to 7. Think about weekend visitation: It could be, “My child didn’t show up” or “my spouse is late.” I usually get a call every Sunday from someone who’s in crisis. It could be someone who’s in a store and their credit cards got denied, or a domestic dispute where the police are involved, or all of a sudden somebody introduced the kids to a new girlfriend or boyfriend with no notice. I always tell my clients, “If you need to speak with me, call me anytime.” With really high-conflict cases, I think it’s fair to check in. People are going through the worst time of their lives, and you want to ease their minds.
ZOOM WITH THE COUSINS In the third week of Covid, my cousin Aya called me from Philadelphia. That evolved into a family Zoom call every Sunday at 4 with three other cousins in London and one in North Carolina and one in Israel, plus my sister. In the beginning we discussed how we ended up in all these different places and family history. Our last call, we talked about the Queen’s Jubilee and Netflix. It’s always such an interesting call. We’ve become so close. And it never would have happened without Covid.
FANTASY FRIES Sundays we’ll go out for dinner, or my son Jack, who’s an amazing cook, will make dinner at home. In a perfect world, we’d go to my favorite place, I Sodi. I could eat there every day. I would be obese, though. They have the best French fries you’ve ever had in your life.
CONFIDENCE BOOST All my kids went through Riverdale Country School, and I’ve been in a book club with all these women from school since then. Before bed, I’ll read whatever fiction or nonfiction book we’re reading. I really enjoy that connection with them. Before I go to sleep, at about 10, I’ll do the Monday crossword puzzle. The puzzles start getting harder on Tuesday, so it gives me some self-confidence for the week.
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