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Litigation. Collaborative Law. Mediation.

NYC Divorce Lawyers

Divorce Attorneys Serving Manhattan & All Surrounding Areas in New York City

Approximately 50% of all marriages, including 41% of all first marriages, will end in divorce. However, only a few spouses are prepared for the legal steps to start and finalize a divorce. This lack of information and preparation can make for headaches and problems as a divorce nears and then progresses.

Give yourself a chance to handle a divorce with as little stress and mess as possible by coming to Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein. Our New York City divorce lawyers are always standing by to help new and returning clients with complex, high-stakes, or frustrating divorce issues. With us leading the way, you can be confident that your best interests will be preserved, and your divorce will be able to avoid unnecessary delays.

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Find out more about our divorce representation in NYC. Call (212) 466-6015 or contact us online.

Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce

When going through a divorce, it can be contested or uncontested:

  • Contested: A divorce is contested when the petitioner (the spouse who started the divorce process) and the respondent (the spouse who receives the divorce papers from the petitioner) do not agree with everything in the petition. Even disagreeing over one important topic will make a divorce contested, and additional steps must be followed to reach an amicable solution.
  • Uncontested: A divorce is uncontested with the petitioner and the respondent agree with the terms of the divorce petition. This situation can make for a relatively quick divorce with lower legal costs. However, you should still hire a divorce lawyer to help you during an uncontested divorce because details can change suddenly.

Different Ways to Resolve Divorce

To conclude a divorce, there might be more than one legal avenue that you and your spouse can follow. Our NYC divorce attorneys can guide you through any of these processes after deciding which would be the best benefit for your particular case.

Divorce can be resolved through:

  • LitigationA contested divorce can head to the courtroom for a ruling from a judge. Litigating a divorce is complicated, so you should only attempt it with a professional divorce lawyer representing you.
  • MediationWhen a divorcing couple wants to keep things civil, divorce mediation can be used instead of litigation. Mediation uses a third-party neutral mediator to oversee the discussions and ensure the end result is fair and can be recognized by a family court.
  • CollaborationDivorce collaboration is similar to mediation but involves a promise to keep the case out of the courtroom. Neither spouse should even threaten to go to court during collaboration. It works best when the spouses are on good terms and can cooperate.
  • NegotiationIn divorce negotiation, both spouses are represented by their own attorneys who then exchange documents to start building a divorce petition that works for everyone. Negotiation can be followed by mediation, collaboration, or litigation, depending on how successful it is.

Basic Divorce Process in New York City

Every divorce process will be unique due to the many details that go into each divorce petition. However, there are basic steps in all divorces that will be followed as the case progresses. We will be there to guide you through all the usual steps and any complications that could occur.

A basic overview of the divorce process in New York includes:

  1. Meeting the residency requirements, which vary but often require both you and your spouse to live in New York for at least two years.
  2. Naming the grounds for divorce, which can be as vague as an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage that has lasted 6 months or more.
  3. Filing for divorce with the correct court and clerk’s office.
  4. Serving the respondent or defendant the divorce petition or divorce papers.
  5. Receiving the other spouse’s response to the divorce petition.
  6. Scheduling the next steps to advance the divorce, which can include mediation sessions and, eventually, a court date.

Receiving a judgment from the family law court that accepts the final terms of the divorce agreement, or sets those terms if litigation was necessary.

How Should You Proceed During a Divorce?

If you are approaching a divorce, chances are you feel overwhelmed, anxious, scared, or some combination of all three. Our firm’s collective experience in guiding clients through this new and intimidating process has led us to a few simple truths that anyone approaching a divorce should keep in mind. Let these simple tips reduce your anxiety, because you can be secure in the knowledge that they will put you on the right footing for the coming legal proceedings.

What to Do During a Divorce

  • Be honest with your attorney and be responsive to your attorney’s requests for information.
  • Make an inventory of all marital and separate real and personal property with approximate values.
  • Prepare a package of financial information including but not limited to: tax returns, bank statements, securities account information, credit card statements, loan documents, real estate transactions, etc.
  • List all the activities you participate in with your children.
  • Prepare a budget of your and your children’s monthly expenses.
  • Clarify for yourself, before you see an attorney, your own important needs, interests, and priorities.

What to Avoid During a Divorce

  • Do not involve your children in the divorce proceedings.
  • Try not to argue with your spouse.  If unavoidable, do not argue in front of your children.
  • Do not say negative things about your spouse to your children, or to someone else within hearing range of your children.
  • Try not to get overly emotional around your children about your divorce or your life after divorce. You may risk increasing their insecurity and fear about the future.
  • Do not deny your spouse access to the children, unless there is a good reason to do so (i.e., domestic violence, abuse, etc.), and then only on the advice of counsel.
  • Do not change the locks to the residence unless advised to do so by counsel.

NYC Divorce FAQ

Have questions? We are here to help. Still have questions or can't find the answer you need? Give us a call at 212-466-6015 today!

  • Does cheating matter in terms of the divorce process?
    Infidelity in divorce can affect the emotional aspects of the process. In that way, cheating can indirectly influence child custody or financial settlements. However, it does not usually impact legal decisions in a no-fault divorce state like New York.
  • Can I prevent my kids from seeing my in-laws after divorce?
    Generally, courts prioritize the best interests of the child. If the court feels a child will benefit from visiting with grandparents, they will often allow it, unless there is a compelling reason to restrict it. Concerns should be addressed through open communication with your ex-spouse or court intervention if necessary.
  • Why do I have to pay child support if we agree to 50/50 custody?
    Child support payments are designed to ensure children have access to needed resources in both homes. Child support is based on the parents' incomes and the children's needs, not just the time spent with each parent. Therefore, child support is commonly paid even in 50/50 custody arrangements.
  • Can I prevent his new girlfriend from seeing the kids?
    To restrict contact with a new partner, you would need to modify your custody arrangement, either through agreement with your ex-spouse or by court intervention, prioritizing the children's well-being.
  • How do I get my spouse out of the house?
    Without specific safety concerns, both spouses usually have the right to stay in the marital home. The only way to have your spouse vacate is to negotiate a different living arrangement or seek a court order.
  • Does it matter if I file for divorce first?

    Whether you are the divorce petitioner or respondent doesn’t make a difference as the divorce progresses because both parties get a say in how to handle the divorce. The biggest difference is that you can take more time to write down your expectations for the divorce if you are the one who files for it first.

  • Does my divorce have to be a bare-knuckle brawl?

    Absolutely not. Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, is one of the few New York City divorce and family law firms that offers all three options for pursuing a divorce: litigationmediation, and collaborative law. For families that prioritize minimizing conflict, mediation or collaborative law may be the more appropriate choice. Even litigation does not necessarily mean a fight – as our attorneys always strive to minimize conflict when possible – but we are prepared to battle if necessary. In other words, client and lawyer can decide together the best way to approach a case.

  • How long will my divorce take?
    The amount of time it takes to finish a marital dissolution and actually get the parties divorced can vary considerably. If the parties are on relatively good terms and intend on working together to reach an agreement, this can go a long way toward shortening the process. On the other hand, a contentious divorce in which many issues must be litigated before a court can extend the process. If timing is a concern, bring it up with your attorney when you first meet. When time is of the essence, you and your attorney can work together to try to reach a conclusion as soon as possible, while still achieving an equitable resolution.
  • How much will a divorce cost me?
    Like the time it takes to get divorced, the answer to this question will vary considerably from divorce to divorce. At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, we have excellent attorneys that run the gamut both in terms of cost and experience. For example, we have younger associates with a few years of practice under their belts who are nonetheless excellent litigators, mediators, and collaborative attorneys, but are lower in cost. Our firm also features true giants of the matrimonial law world who have been practicing in this area for upwards of 40 years – these attorneys will be more expensive. Our attorneys and support staff work with clients individually to determine what is needed for their particular matter, and we always take cost into consideration.
  • Is legal separation the same thing as divorce?
    A legal separation is different from a divorce in that it doesn’t end your marriage officially. It can include many of the same provisions as a divorce like child custody arrangements and property division agreements, but it won’t end the marriage. Some people see legal separation as a “trial divorce” to see if they really want to get divorced later or not.
  • Is marriage counseling required before a divorce?
    New York does not require you to enter marriage counseling before filing for a divorce. In some cases, though, the court might require you to enter divorce meditation before heading right to litigation.
  • Is marriage dissolution the same thing as divorce?
    A divorce occurs when the court decides how to end a marriage. During marriage dissolution, both spouses decide how to end a marriage without the direct input of a judge. Both are often referred to as a divorce in many contexts, though.
  • What can I do to prepare for my divorce before it begins?
    This is an excellent question and our attorneys always appreciate a savvy client who understands that the divorce process can begin even before an action is filed. Just remember that how you start a divorce can often dictate how you end the divorce. In terms of both finances and child custody, a concerned spouse can do much to minimize any future difficulties. In part, this involves adjusting behavior to present your case in the best light to the court.

Industry Thought Leaders Dedicated to Your Success

Dedicated Matrimonial & Divorce Attorneys Protecting Our Clients’ Rights, Assets, & Family

    We are one of the only Manhattan divorce law firms offering all three options for divorce: litigation/negotiation, collaborative law, and mediation - providing custom strategies and solutions for our clients.


    All families and marriages are unique - our attorneys take the time to listen to our clients to fully understand the circumstances of their case. Only then do we advise the best legal option for their goals.


    Divorce is a time of transition. We understand the emotional and financial stress that clients experience during the divorce process – from day one our team ensures that we provide our clients with prompt feedback so that they are updated on their case every step of the way.


    Our attorneys provide frequent expert legal commentary for national media outlets and have been quoted in numerous publications including Fox's Business, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News and many more.


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Get Ready for Divorce the Easy Way

You can file for divorce or respond to a divorce petition without making things more frustrating or complicated. All you have to do is dial (212) 466-6015 to connect with the New York City divorce attorneys of Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein. We can handle all parts of your divorce, so you know that your best interests will be respected and upheld.