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Litigation. Collaborative Law. Mediation.

Westchester Divorce Attorneys

Experienced Divorce Representation in Westchester

Divorce is a difficult and emotional process even under the best of circumstances. You deserve the support of a caring legal team to help you through a divorce, whether you are the petitioner or the respondent. The professionals at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP can guide you through each step with a focus on your goals and your family’s needs. We are considered one of Westchester County’s premier, boutique divorce firms.

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Contact our firm to schedule a consultation with our Westchester divorce lawyers.

What Sets Our Firm Apart

Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP is an award-winning divorce firm. Our attorneys have earned the respect of their peers and local family law courts. We know that every divorce does not have to be an overwhelming battle. We take pride in our ability to focus on our clients’ goals and resolve matters through negotiation and settlement whenever possible, rather than forcing things to go to trial. Our firm is one of few in the area that offers highly experienced professionals trained to litigate, negotiate, collaborate, and mediate divorce and all other related family law matters.

We are available to represent you throughout Westchester and surrounding counties. Our Westchester office is located in White Plains at 445 Hamilton Avenue, 15th Floor, convenient to all Westchester locations including White Plains, Bronxville, Eastchester, Harrison, Scarsdale, Larchmont, Hastings, Irvington, Rye, Mount Kisco, and Yorktown.

Westchester Divorce Lawyers Offering Custom Strategies

Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP provides its clients with three alternative ways to pursue divorce and other family law matters: litigation, collaborative law, and meditation. Using these methods, we can complete your divorce, one way or another, and protect your best interests all the while.

Call (914) 350-5329and ask us about:

  • Litigation: Our litigation-focused lawyers have years of experience practicing in Westchester County. In addition to knowledge of the law, we have developed a deep understanding of the particular process in each court and a familiarity with court staff and personnel. This connection helps reduce the stress that our divorce clients would normally feel. While most cases resolve through settlement, our team is trained and ready to bring your matter to trial if needed.
  • Collaboration: Our collaborative practice focuses on cooperation and representation in the divorce process without resorting to the courts.
  • Mediation: Our experienced and trained attorney-mediators provide the opportunity for clients to find fair and realistic solutions to the economic and practical issues facing their families as well as help heal the psychological rift between divorcing spouses.

We are one of the few Westchester divorce law firms offering all three options, allowing you to find the best path forward for yourself and your family. We understand that the decisions you make can have long-term ramifications, often in unexpected ways. Our divorce attorneys know how important it is to consider all possibilities and outcomes so you can move on with your life.

What’s the Difference Between Contested & Uncontested Divorce?

When spouses/parents agree they want to get divorced and can agree on how they want to divide their assets and property, how they want to make decisions and share time with and support their children, and how they may need to provide support from one to the other, they can proceed with an uncontested divorce. If they cannot agree on any one of those issues, even if they both want to be divorced, their divorce is contested. All issues concerning children, support, and property division must be resolved before the divorce can be made official.

Even when proceeding in an uncontested divorce, it is very important to know your rights and obligations under the law before entering into any binding legal agreement. The lawyers at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP are here to assist and counsel you through the entry of a judgment of divorce in your case.

Grounds for Divorce

The grounds for divorce are the reasons why you want to end your marriage. In many cases, divorcing spouses just say that they have “irreconcilable differences” or that the marriage is “irreparably damaged.” New York allows you to go through a divorce for this reason and without the need to cite anything more specific.

However, you can cite more specific reasons to divorce if you think it could be helpful for your case. In this situation, knowing the recognized grounds for divorce can be helpful.

Common grounds for divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Cruelty or abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Extensive incarceration

Typical Westchester Divorce Proceedings

During the preliminary phase of a contested divorce case, you, your spouse, and your attorneys will likely meet with a Court Attorney Referee (CAR). A CAR will handle most court conferences in your case. CARs do not conduct any hearings or trials, and they cannot issue orders. However, they can make recommendations to the judge, who will take them into consideration when issuing an order.

At your preliminary conference, the CAR typically works to:

  • Resolve the grounds of your divorce.
  • Determine the details and complexity of your case.
  • Establish what issues must be resolved.
  • Set expected schedule and deadlines for the case.

A CAR can request that the judge assign an attorney for the child or children and/or assign a forensic mental health expert if child custody issues remain unresolved. The CAR can also address whether experts should be assigned to value marital property including real estate or business interests.

While your case is pending, you will generally appear monthly with your attorney before the CAR who will monitor compliance with disclosure and efforts being made to settle your case and avoid trial. You can request a conference with the CAR or with a judge at any time should an unresolved issue require immediate attention such as a need for support or counsel fees while the case is pending or being prepared for trial. If the issue remains unresolved after the conference, you can request permission to file a formal motion. Westchester County has specific rules for filing motions.

Once the CAR determines that your case is ready for trial a pre-trial conference before a judge will be scheduled. At the pre-trial conference, the court will generally try to facilitate a settlement or at least narrow the issues to be tried. At the conclusion of the conference, a trial date will be set. Note that your case can be settled at any time up to the end of the trial.

Benefits of Hiring Our Divorce Lawyers

The divorce attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein know and understand rules and procedures specific to Westchester County. Partner and attorney Abby Rosmarin is a long-time Westchester family law practitioner and a therapist who specializes in conflict resolution. She is also a member of both the Westchester County Bar Association (ADR Committee) and the Westchester Women’s Bar Association (co-chair of the Mediation Committee). Partner and attorney Ellen Werfel Martineau is a seasoned litigator and appellate attorney with a solid reputation for integrity, intellect, and responsiveness, and a member of the Westchester Women's Bar Association, and the Family Law Section of the Westchester County Bar. She is also formally trained in mediation and collaborative law.


Westchester Divorce FAQ

I filed for divorce in Westchester – what happens next?

Divorce cases in Westchester County are commenced in the Supreme Court of the State of New York upon the filing of a Summons or Summons and Verified Complaint with the Westchester County Clerk. Despite the name, Family Court does not handle divorce cases – only custody, support, and order of protection matters that do not involve divorce or that are filed after a Judgment of Divorce has been granted. Once filed, divorce papers must be personally served on your spouse within 120 days of the filing date. The served spouse has 20 days to respond (30 days if they were served papers outside of New York State). From there, you begin the process of resolving issues concerning children, support, and property division. If these issues are negotiated to a conclusion, you will likely never have to appear in court. If issues remain unresolved, court intervention can be sought, and your disputes resolved by a judge. Note that Westchester County has particular rules and procedures surrounding divorce, called Matrimonial Part Operational Rules. The attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP are well versed in these rules and the practical effect they have on Westchester cases.

Is divorce the same as legal separation?

Divorce and legal separation are similar but not identical. A divorce officially dissolves your marriage and sets the rules and expectations for you and your ex-spouse to follow, such as those regarding child custody and spousal support. A legal separation sets most of those same rules, but it doesn’t dissolve your marriage. You can view a legal separation as a “test run” for your divorce. If it goes well, then you can decide to divorce and have an easier time with it. If you don’t feel comfortable while separated, then you can try to patch things up with your spouse.

Does it matter if I file for divorce first?

No, it doesn’t matter who files for divorce first. The court must respect the petitioner – the one who files – and the respondent – the one who is served the divorce papers – equally. You will both get a chance to accept or contest all aspects of the divorce petition. Don’t feel rushed to file for divorce just because you think your spouse might file soon.

Will my divorce take a while to complete?

All divorces take a different amount of time to complete because every divorce is unique. Some cases might wrap up in about six months. Others could take longer than a year. Our Westchester divorce lawyers always work diligently to remove any obstacles and avoidable delays.

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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Contact an Experienced Westchester County Divorce Lawyer Today

As a divorce law practice in Westchester, we establish close working relationships with our clients, resulting in strong and effective representation characterized by humanity, caring, and understanding. Learn more about Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP by reading our attorney biographies or browsing our blogs. You can also schedule a consultation today by calling us at (914) 350-5329 or contacting us online.