Nancy Chemtob, a marriage attorney, has helped Mary-Kate Olsen, Tory Burch, Bobby Flay and other celebrities get divorced. After practicing for decades as a founding partner of Chemtob Moss Forman & Beyda, one of New York’s largest matrimonial societies, Ms. Chemtob divorced herself in 2012.
Her divorce was horrible and unexpected, she said. But she pulled through and remarried six years later.
These days Ms Chemtob, 57, lives in Chelsea with her husband, Michael Kubin, 71, a targeted advertising executive. 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 to date 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 7am. We meditate via phone call with Bob Roth, the CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, which is dedicated to the practice of Transcendental Meditation. Sometimes there are 2,000 people on roll call. You’re not supposed to drink coffee first, but I am.
SELF-MANAGED CARE We will have breakfast, usually oatmeal, which Michael can cook. The only thing I can cook without burning down the house is an egg in a hat. After that, I go to Tracy Anderson’s 9:30 a.m. exercise class in TriBeCa. It’s absolute torture, but it keeps me physically and mentally sane. When I get home, I listen to self-help books. Last Sunday I was listening to “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”. Before that, it was “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. These are work-oriented things, not “how to get better skin” type things. I’m always looking for things that teach me to be more organized, to get things done.
TO DO LIST When I get home, I look at my calendar for the week and try to plan what I personally need to do around my work appointments and social projects. It’s like going to the chiropractor, returning things, or buying gifts for weddings. I am at the age where all my friends’ children are getting married. As the week progresses, I know I’m going to have to start canceling some because with the type of work I do there can be a crisis. I may have to appear urgently in court on a Wednesday, for example.
JUMP OFF TABLE We usually go out for lunch with my kids or Michael’s kids or friends. Eating is an integral part of our lives. At Chelsea. I like the Pastis and the Cookshop. I live right next to Chelsea Market so it can be fun to walk in and decide what you eat. We always do something in the afternoon as a reward for a long week.
CRISIS CONTROL I might check in with a client who is in dire distress to see how he is doing. When people are going through a divorce, most issues don’t arise Monday through Friday from 9am to 7pm. Think about weekend visits: it could be: “My child didn’t show up” or “My spouse is late”. I usually get a call every Sunday from someone who is in crisis. It could be someone in a store and their credit card was declined, or a domestic dispute where the police are involved, or all of a sudden someone introduced the kids to a new girlfriend or boyfriend without notice. I always tell my clients, “If you need to talk to me, call me anytime.” With high conflict cases, I think it’s fair to check. People are going through the worst time of their lives, and you want to ease their minds.
ZOOM WITH THE COUSINS During the third week of Covid, my cousin Aya called me from Philadelphia. It evolved into a family Zoom call every Sunday at 4 a.m. with three other cousins in London and one in North Carolina and one in Israel, plus my sister. At first we discussed how we ended up in all these different places and family history. On our last call we talked about the Queen’s Jubilee and Netflix. It’s always such an interesting call. We have become so close. And that would never have happened without Covid.
FANCY FRIES On Sundays we will go out to dinner, or my son Jack, who is an excellent cook, will cook dinner at home. In a perfect world, we would go to my favorite place, me Sodi. I could eat there every day. I would be obese, however. They have the best fries you have ever eaten in your life.
BUILDING CONFIDENCE All of my kids went to Riverdale Country School, and I’ve been at book club with all of those school women since then. Before going to bed, I read any fiction or non-fiction book that we read. I really appreciate this connection with them. Before going to bed, around 10 p.m., I’m going to do the Monday crossword puzzle. The puzzles start to get harder on Tuesday, so that gives me some confidence for the week.