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.
On This Page
- Common Reasons for Divorce
- Grounds for Divorce
- Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce
- Different Ways to Resolve Divorce
- Basic Divorce Process
- Do's and Don'ts of Divorce
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Does it matter if I file for divorce first?
- Does my divorce have to be a bare-knuckle brawl?
- How long will my divorce take?
- How much will a divorce cost me?
- Is legal separation the same thing as divorce?
- Is marriage counseling required before a divorce?
- Is marriage dissolution the same thing as divorce?
- What can I do to prepare for my divorce before it begins?
- Get Ready for Divorce the Easy Way
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.
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:
- Litigation: A 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.
- Mediation: When 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.
- Collaboration: Divorce 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.
- Negotiation: In 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.
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:
- Meeting the residency requirements, which vary but often require both you and your spouse to live in New York for at least two years.
- Naming the grounds for divorce, which can be as vague as an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage that has lasted 6 months or more.
- Filing for divorce with the correct court and clerk’s office.
- Serving the respondent or defendant the divorce petition or divorce papers.
- Receiving the other spouse’s response to the divorce petition.
- 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.
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.
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.