Manhattan, New York Divorce Negotiation Lawyers
Successfully Guiding Clients Through Uncontested Divorce
Many couples can resolve their differences through the process of negotiation, without ever going before a judge. But divorce is highly technical, and very emotional. For these reasons, most spouses find that having an attorney negotiate on their behalf, and eventually draft a settlement agreement and obtain a legal divorce, is necessary. Negotiation can be an expeditious and cost-effective approach, and Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP’s experienced divorce attorneys are the tough, shrewd, savvy negotiating team that can help.
How Does NYC Divorce Negotiation Work?
Many divorces – likely most – start and end with negotiations. The idea of negotiating probably isn’t foreign to you. When you and your friends are debating what movie to see, or you and your boss are engaging in salary talks, you’re negotiating. In a way, divorce negotiation is not very different from these everyday experiences. But because it involves the law, it is much more technical in nature.
In a divorce negotiation, both spouses will hire their own lawyer or lawyers. The lawyer will work with their client to determine the client’s ultimate goals, and how best to achieve those goals. Then, the spouses will go through a process of voluntarily exchanging evidence and paperwork. Offers and counteroffers will be made. Eventually, in most cases, a final agreement is reached on all issues of the divorce: custody, distribution of property, spousal support, marital debt, child support, and more.
Some negotiations take place entirely through phone calls and letters. Others may require meetings between both spouses and their attorneys. The primary feature of the negotiation process is that the parties are free to determine what works for them – there is no court overseeing things. A successful divorce negotiation requires two engaged and responsive spouses who want to resolve their disagreements, but unlike mediation or collaborative divorce, the spouses need not be on civil terms, so long as they are willing to try and resolve their legal dispute.
What Are the Advantages of Negotiation in a Manhattan Uncontested Divorce?
Uncontested divorce is a much simpler process for ending a marriage for couples who agree that the time has come. For couples who can take advantage of this process, they can avoid costly litigation that often becomes rife with antagonism and conflict. Parties can engage in negotiation through a family law attorney trained to help spouses reach a full and final settlement as to all marital issues.
An uncontested divorce hinges on coming to a mutual agreement on:
- Child custody and support. For parents with kids, child custody and parenting time is likely the most important issue to be resolved. This can be extremely contentious, or it can be friendly and cooperative. A good divorce lawyer can come up with creative solutions that place the children first, and that satisfy both parents. Child support, too, must be determined, and this can be tricky, particularly for parents with high incomes.
- Division of marital property and debt. There is more than one option for determining how to split your accounts or other financial assets. For some couples it might make sense to simply sign over or waive ownership in certain accounts versus dividing each one down the middle and transferring funds. For other couples who may have more complicated investments and retirement accounts, the negotiation may require a little more effort to determine an equitable division. Debts, too, including credit card debt, must be split up between the parties. Do you have multiple marital residences, some of which may be more or less attractive when it comes to retaining ownership? Your negotiator will be able to show you that there is plenty of bargaining room on both sides if you are able to prioritize what you each truly need.
- Spousal support. Particularly when one spouse earns much more than the other, there is an expectation that spousal support – which New York State calls “maintenance” and which you may know as “alimony” – will be provided to the lower-earning spouse. How much, and for how long, must be determined during the divorce negotiation process.
- Counsel fees. Under New York law, there is a presumption that the higher earning spouse will pay a portion of the counsel fees of the lower earning spouse. The amount of these fees must be negotiated and agreed to, and it can sometimes be a substantial sum.
Other issues may emerge during divorce negotiations. Who gets to keep the art? Do both parties need to have life insurance policies? How will taxes be handled? But the above represent the issues that tend to dominate divorce negotiations.
A successful negotiation will result in a final divorce settlement agreement that is acceptable to both parties, and thoroughly addresses any issues that may arise between the parties post-divorce.
As an added benefit of uncontested divorce through negotiation, since your spouse has agreed to the divorce, there will be no court hearing, and neither party needs to appear before a judge.
Successful Negotiation Starts with Experienced Legal Representation
Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP’s commitment to each client is to protect, support and vigorously advocate on his or her behalf. Their clients know they can count on them to provide the strength, compassion, and legal expertise necessary to guide them through one of the most difficult times in their lives. Contact us or call 212.867.9123 to schedule a consultation. Proudly serving Manhattan, Westchester, and Bergen County, New Jersey.