White Plains Divorce Lawyers
Experienced Representation and Mediation in Westchester County, NY
Even under the best possible circumstances, divorce is a complex process. You deserve a team of qualified professionals who can guide you through every step, helping to ensure that your goals are met, and your stress is minimized. That is why Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, one of New York City’s premier boutique matrimonial and family law firms, is now firmly situated to represent you in Westchester and surrounding counties.
Our firm is proud of the work it does on behalf of clients throughout the state. Contact our firm to reserve a consultation time at our office in White Plains.
What Sets Our Firm Apart
Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, LLP is an award-winning matrimonial law firm. Our attorneys have earned the respect of our peers and the judiciary for our willingness to do the work required to assist our clients. Not every divorce needs to be an arduous, uphill battle, and many times, clients can avoid the stress of a trial altogether, through collaboration or mediation. Our firm is one of the few in New York to offer experienced professionals trained in all three ways to divorce: via litigation and negotiation; collaborative law; and mediation.
We are available to represent you throughout Westchester County. Our Westchester office, located at 445 Hamilton Avenue, 15th Floor, is within convenient distance of Westchester towns including White Plains, Bronxville, Eastchester, Harrison, Scarsdale, Larchmont, and Rye.
Westchester Divorce Lawyers Offering Custom-Tailored Strategies
Since its inception, Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, has offered its clients three different ways of pursuing matrimonial dissolution and separation: through litigation, collaborative law, and meditation.
- Our litigation-focused lawyers have spent years practicing in the courts of Westchester County, and have developed a deep understanding of the judges, clerks, and courts who determine family law matters throughout the county, as well as the guiding case law and legal procedures that apply specifically to Westchester.
- Our collaborative practice focuses on cooperation and reducing acrimony in the divorce process without resorting to the courts.
- Our trained attorney-mediators provide the opportunity for clients to find fair and realistic solutions to the economic and practical issues facing their families, and help heal the psychological rift between divorcing spouses.
We are one of the few New York matrimonial law firms offering all of these options, allowing you to find the best possible path forward. We also understand that the decisions you make regarding one part of your life could have long-term ramifications on other parts of your life, often in unexpected ways. Our family law attorneys know how important it is to consider all possibilities and outcomes.
Additional Areas of Focus for Our Westchester Family Law Attorneys
Our team of attorneys aims to minimize risk at every step, while promoting your best interests. Whether you have concerns about the welfare of your children, the future of your business, or the assets and properties you spent a lifetime building, we offer effective and efficient representation at every stage of the legal process, and expert mediation services for spouses and parents. Please contact us if you have questions concerning:
- Divorce Negotiation
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Postnuptial Agreements
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Spousal Maintenance/Alimony
- Property Division
- Modification and Enforcement of Orders
- Parenting Plans
- Post-Judgement Disputes
What’s the Difference between Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce in Westchester?
When two spouses agree they want to get divorced and agree on how that divorce should proceed, they can file for an uncontested divorce. If two spouses are not in agreement, however, even if only on one issue, the divorce is contested.
Understand that even if both parties wish to dissolve a marriage, a divorce can still be contested. In order to move forward with an uncontested divorce, both parties must agree to all terms – including spousal maintenance, child custody and property division. If you do mutually agree, it is still wise to seek legal counsel to ensure that your documentation is correctly filled out and filed, and to reduce the risk of any problems along the way.
I Filed for Divorce in Westchester. What Happens Next?
Once the paperwork beginning the divorce process is filed with the County Clerk’s Office, it will be sent to the Supreme Court. Despite the name, Family Court does not handle divorce cases – only custody, support, and order of protection matters that do not involve a divorce. Divorce papers must be served to your spouse within 120 days of filing the initial papers. Then, the other spouse has 20 days to respond (30 days if they were served papers outside of New York State). From there, your divorce may be negotiated to a conclusion without ever appearing in court, or you may have to engage in the court process, and bring your disputes before a judge.
Note that Westchester County has its own particular rules and procedures surrounding divorce, called Matrimonial Part Operational rules. It is important to retain an attorney who understands the intricacies of these. In fact, practicing divorce law here in Westchester County is practically its own specialty, and our legal team has the acumen to handle your case properly.
Typical Westchester divorce proceedings
During the preliminary phase of a divorce case, you, your spouse, and your attorneys will likely meet with a Court Attorney Referee (CAR). A CAR handles most of the court conferences around divorce. CARs do not conduct any hearings or trials, and cannot make any orders. However, they can make recommendations to the judge, who can take those 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 also determines whether your divorce will involve contested child custody and, if so, make a request to the judge to assign the child or children their own attorney. The CAR can also choose whether or not experts should be assigned to the case – for purposes of valuating marital property during asset division, or mental health experts for a custody issue.
While the case is pending, your Referee will check in via Compliance Conferences to determine both parties are complying with disclosure and help resolve any issues that may arise as the case moves toward trial. Once the CAR determines your case is ready, your divorce case then goes to a judge for a pre-trial conference, and then a trial. Note that in some circumstances, a matrimonial judge can review the recommendations and decisions of a Referee. This may require the filing of a motion with the Court, which is a formal request for the Court to grant certain relief pending a divorce’s conclusion.
A note regarding trial: One important difference between divorce law in Westchester County and elsewhere is that attorneys cannot file for motions unless they have first been given explicit permission to do so by a court attorney or a judge. In other counties, filing for motions to resolve certain issues is common practice, but in Westchester the court handles it differently.
Westchester Mediation Services
Divorce mediation is a voluntary process where divorcing couples work together with a trained mediator to negotiate and resolve their differences in a non-adversarial forum. In mediation, no one decides who is right and who is wrong, or who wins and who loses. The mediator facilitates communication, helps you to evaluate your options, and helps you to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, features several award-winning divorce mediators.
Experienced Westchester Professionals
The divorce lawyers at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein understand the proper local rules and procedures and how to work with Court Attorney Referees, as well as handle filing rules 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 member of the Westchester Women's Bar Association, and the Family Law Section of the Westchester County Bar.
Contact an experienced Westchester County divorce lawyer today
As a dedicated New York family law practice, we establish close working relationships with our clients, resulting in strong and effective representation and characterized by humanity, caring, and understanding. Learn more about Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, by reading our attorney biographies or perusing our blog. Schedule a consultation today by calling us at (914) 308-3435 or contacting us online. We have offices in White Plains for your convenience.
Westchester County Office
445 Hamilton Ave,