Collaborative Law

Lawyers and other professionals work together with the parties to resolve issues through a collaborative team approach.

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New York City Collaborative Divorce Lawyers

Working Together Toward a Respectful Conclusion to Marriages

When most people hear the word divorce, they think of a lengthy, expensive, emotionally devastating legal process. This perception of divorce is often enough to keep people from considering it, even when it may be in their best interests. Divorce does not have to be this way.

If you and your spouse agree that divorce is something you should learn more about and agree that the best way to move forward is to cooperate and work together, contact the New York collaborative divorce lawyers at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP today. We are based in midtown Manhattan and serve clients across New York State, including in all five boroughs, and Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties.

How Do Collaborative Divorce Attorneys Handle a Case?

A collaborative divorce in New York is a matrimonial dispute resolution process whereby both parties and their lawyers commit themselves to resolving their differences fairly and equitably without resorting, or even threatening to resort, to the courts. This method of divorce is aimed at eliminating the need to have a judge, who does not know you or your family, intervene and make final decisions that affect the most intimate aspects of your lives.

Upon choosing collaborative divorce:

  • You and your spouse will both sign an agreement to participate in the collaborative process using good faith efforts to negotiate a mutual settlement of all divorce issues.
  • You will each be forthcoming about all relevant information needed to work toward acceptable mutual decisions on each matter at hand.
  • You can expand your team to include non-legal resources such as financial professionals who can provide an accurate picture of the debts and assets to be considered, or therapists trained to help parties or their children maneuver through the emotional turmoil they may experience.

Why Is NY Collaborative Law Successful?

The collaborative law process is more cost-efficient, effective, and amicable than traditional divorce methods.

The assumptions underlying the growth of this practice are as follows:

  • The adversarial judicial system is often ill-equipped to handle the emotionally charged process of dissolving a marriage.
  • Many divorcing couples want to avoid litigation.
  • Mediation, as a marital dispute resolution method, sometimes poses its own dangers in terms of power imbalance or the absence of knowledgeable and informed consent.

The attorneys representing the parties in this model agree to help resolve the issues using cooperative rather than adversarial methods. Collaborative lawyers in New York employed in this practice agree in advance to:

  • Remove litigation as an option. If settlement discussions fail, the parties must hire separate counsel if they choose to go to court. Statements made during the collaborative process cannot be used during litigation. Collaborative attorneys do not use the threat of litigation as a negotiating tool.
  • Agree to complete disclosure with full documentation but without formal proceedings.
  • Use joint experts with respect to valuation questions.
  • Settle custody differences without subjecting either the parties or the children to court-ordered forensic evaluations.
  • Focus efforts and skills on creative problem solving and on obtaining win/win results.

If this sounds like a more peaceful, meaningful process to ending your marriage, collaborative divorce may be the method that best suits your needs and goals. You can further compare divorce methods by speaking with one of our knowledgeable family law attorneys in our Westchester litigation office.

Several of the Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP attorneys are members of the New York Collaborative Law Group and have substantial experience working successfully with the New York collaborative divorce model. For a more comprehensive discussion of collaborative family law, see the New York Law Journal article co-authored by our partner, Barry Berkman.

Should We Be Looking at Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a relatively new process in family law practice. It was born out of the realization that not every couple seeking to end their marriage does so from a place of anger. Rather, some spouses just conclude that their relationship no longer works for a variety of reasons and have accepted that they will be happier apart.

Even for couples who do hold animosity toward one another, collaborative divorce can be the best option if they can remain practical and have the ability to cooperate.

What Are the Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce?

Choosing the collaborative divorce process over litigation has advantages for those couples best suited to this method of conflict resolution. Collaborative divorce:

  • Can allow for lower fees than extensive litigation.
  • Is a lower stress option for both parties.
  • Is easier on everyone involved.
  • Offers more flexibility to find solutions that work for your family.
  • Is a faster process because everyone deals in a forthright manner.
  • Can plant the seeds for a better relationship after divorce.
  • Is a more emotionally supportive environment.
  • Can lead to fewer post-divorce issues.

Because using collaborative methods often yields faster settlements in a healthier environment, it gives parties an edge in obtaining a speedier dissolution to their marriage. You are not at the mercy of the court’s docket, which can delay trials for months leaving more time for parties to engage in costly conflict.

Is Collaborative Divorce Better for Your Children?

A primary concern for any divorcing couple is the effect it will have on their children. Children feel torn between their parents when they witness conflict, particularly when that conflict revolves around them. Even when parents argue over who will have residential custody of their children, kids can feel like their needs are being ignored as parents rarely consult them about custody matters.

The collaborative process takes children into account, even allowing them to have a voice when appropriate. It offers parents the opportunity to create a long-term positive outcome for a successful co-parenting relationship that can eliminate feelings of stress and anxiety children often experience in a custody battle. Unlike litigation, collaborative divorce usually does not directly involve children in the legal process, for example by giving them an attorney or asking them to speak to a forensic psychologist.

You and your children deserve to enter the next stage of your lives with a healthier outlook on your parent-child relationship, and collaborative divorce can help achieve that.




    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.


    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.


    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.

Contact Our NY Collaborative Divorce Lawyers Today

Matrimonial law and divorce issues are serious matters. You need serious and dedicated matrimonial and divorce attorneys to protect your rights and assets. If you find yourself facing a matrimonial law issue in the state of New York, contact the New York matrimonial law firm of Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP. We represent our clients with caring, compassion, and thorough attention to detail. Whatever the issue, we listen to your needs. Contact our family law firm in Manhattan, Westchester, or Bergen County, NJ, or call (212) 466-6015 today.


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