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Skilled Representation in Westchester County, NY
Ending a marriage, in addition to being stressful, requires planning and negotiating. Each spouse often has their own goals regarding matters of spousal maintenance (alimony), child support, child custody, and property division. It is crucial to speak with an experienced family law attorney for guidance even if you and your spouse are trying to negotiate on your own.
At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, we always consider resolution of divorce through mediation, Collaborative law, or negotiation in an effort to avoid litigation. For some couples, however, these methods simply will not work and going to court becomes the reality.
Divorce litigation can be a difficult, delicate process, requiring an attorney who understands the need to be aggressive without unnecessarily prolonging the process. Our Westchester litigation attorneys have hundreds of hours of court and trial experience, and will zealously advocate for clients while being mindful of the possibility of settlement.
Our experienced divorce attorneys can guide you through the litigation process efficiently and strategically. Our goal is to guide you and your family to the best possible outcome. Reach out to us today.
How Does the Litigation Process in Westchester County Work?
Sometime a fair divorce settlement or agreement cannot be secured without litigation. In that case you will be “going to court.” Our highly experienced legal team handles all types of family law and matrimonial litigation, from the most complicated business and financial issues and divisive complex child custody disputes to relatively straightforward matters that simply will not resolve until a court intervenes.
The best way to begin a successful case is to ensure you working with an experienced attorney who can help you understand the process and formulate attainable goals. The Westchester divorce attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the divorce process from beginning to end.
Many procedures in Westchester County matrimonial courts differ significantly from those found in New York City and Long Island courts. Following are some phrases and stages that you will become familiar with when proceeding with divorce litigation in Westchester County:
Discovery is the first and often the longest stage of the litigated divorce case. Discovery involves the exchange of financial documents and information between the parties. It can also involve obtaining documents from third parties, such as employers or creditors. Discovery can involve depositions which are also called examinations before trial or EBT’s. At depositions, attorneys ask questions of the parties and/or third-party witnesses concerning financial matters in the case. Those being deposed are placed under oath and the questions and answers are recorded.
Discovery is a crucial part of the divorce litigation process, especially in cases involving complex compensation schemes, complex business transactions or hidden income or assets. The goal of the discovery is to ensure each party’s financial circumstances are fully and accurately disclosed. Attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, LLP are highly experienced in all aspects of discovery and can often facilitate settlement during the discovery phase.
Court Attorney Referees (CAR)
Here in Westchester County, you and your spouse and each party’s attorney will regularly attend conferences with a Court Attorney Referee (CAR) who will monitor the discovery process and attempt to resolve any discovery disputes. The CAR system is unique to Westchester.
CARs do not conduct 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.
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.
The CAR who will monitor compliance with disclosure and efforts being made to settle your case. The CAR will also address unresolved issues requiring immediate attention such as a need for support or counsel fees. If the issue remains unresolved after the conference, you can request that the CAR support your filing a motion seeking a decision from the Court. Westchester County has specific rules for filing motions.
Attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, LLP are fully familiar with the CAR process and all the specific rules in effect in Westchester County. They are with you every step of the way.
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
Attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP will be prepared to appear with you at Preliminary Conference and work toward accomplishing your goals.
When your marital assets include things like real estate, businesses, or professional practices, it may be wise to retain professional evaluators to appraise their value. This helps ensure that the division of your marital property is done fairly. Additionally, in cases of contested child custody, forensic and psychological experts can evaluate your family situation and work for the best interests of your children. Our family law attorneys are familiar with many such experts, including those who practice primarily in Westchester County.
Support and Child Custody
In addition to dividing property, other contested issues in divorce may involve spousal maintenance, child support, custody and visitation. You, your spouse, and your attorneys must address details and responsibilities regarding making major decisions for your children, life insurance, health insurance, education expenses, childcare, medical expenses, and day-to-day matters. You must also address the sharing of parenting time. Our family law attorneys will advocate to promote the best interest of your children and protect your financial future.
A motion is a formal written request to a Court to grant a party certain relief. A motion includes legal and factual arguments supported by documents. In most jurisdictions, parties in a divorce case can file a motion at any point during a case. In Westchester, however, neither your attorney nor your spouse’s attorney can file a non-emergency motion without the matter first being addressed with opposing counsel and the CAR.
Before your case is scheduled for trial, the Court will hold a pre-trial conference. The purpose of this conference is to facilitate settlement of your divorce case or at minimum, attempt to narrow the issues for trial.
If you and your spouse remain unable to settle your case, a trial date will be set. Depending on the circumstances and complexity of your case, your trial may last days or months. Your Westchester County divorce attorney will prepare you for each stage of the trial and zealously advocate your positions. We will present your case to the court in the most persuasive way to promote the most favorable outcome possible.
Many people think that divorce litigation always means going to trial, but this is not the case. Settlement is possible at every stage in the litigation process and, in fact, most divorce cases settle well before trial.
If you believe your divorce will be contested, or if you have complex issues to sort out, you may benefit from consulting with the skilled divorce litigation attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP.
CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO DIFFICULT & COMPLEX PROBLEMS
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.
PROMPT RESPONSES TO INDIVIDUAL NEEDS AND INQUIRES
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.
CHOICES AND OPTIONS TAILORED TO EACH CASE
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.
INDUSTRY THOUGHT LEADERS DEDICATED TO YOUR SUCCESS
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.
Divorce litigation requires a high level of skill, experience, and dedication. At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, our attorneys understand the law and local court procedures. We provide personalized and effective representation and are prepared to aggressively advocate for you at trial. Schedule a consultation today by calling us at (212) 466-6015 or contacting us online. Our office is conveniently located in downtown White Plains.