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Collaborative Divorce in New York

Helpful Guidance from a Lawyer at Eiges & Orgel, PLLC

In a collaborative divorce, both parties officially agree not to go to court and to seek a negotiated agreement regarding the terms of their divorce instead. Each side is represented by a divorce lawyer who can provide legal advice and assist in negotiations and pursuing a just outcome.

A spirit of cooperation is stressed, which not only helps both parties save time and expenses but also make the process less emotionally stressful. If there are children involved, collaborative divorce can also be immensely beneficial in that it protects them from a lengthy and acrimonious conflict which can destroy their sense of family security.

The collaborative process requires both parties to:

  • Agree to disclose all relevant financial information and documents
  • Refrain from taking advantage of any mistakes by the other side
  • Respect each other’s priorities.

In addition, the process can involve four-way conferences and negotiation and, if needed, the input of professionals such as accountants and financial planners. When a mutually agreeable resolution is achieved, both parties are more likely to uphold the terms of the agreement and thus avoid the need for spousal or child support enforcement or similar actions.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

While the benefits of a collaborative process might seem clear, here is a brief summary of the main benefits a collaborative divorce offers:

  • Shorter & less expensive - Because there is no need for court interference, the collaborative divorce process is usually drastically shorter than a divorce through litigation, and therefore less expensive.
  • Private - It is a more private process, which can be especially beneficial for public figures or individuals who own their own business.
  • Control - Collaborative divorce allows the divorcing couple to retain control. If either spouse does not like a proposed resolution, they don’t need to accept it. Instead, they can continue negotiating until they reach a compromise that everyone agrees to.
  • Emotional benefit - Collaborative divorce has a minimal emotional impact. Litigation can be extremely stressful and often pits spouses against one another, ruining any sort of friendship or civility they might have shared. This can then affect the way they parent, trickling down to harm their children. However, because the collaborative divorce process encourages spouses to work together and remain civil, they have a better chance of coming out of their divorce on good terms. When parents work together, this, in turn, makes the divorce process much less painful for their children and can make it easier for the kids to accept this new change.

Divorce Mediation in New York

Mediation is one of the most effective and common approaches to a collaborative approach. In fact, the Collaborative Family Law Center of the New York State Unified Court System offers free divorce mediation services for those who meet certain eligibility requirements. With this free service, spouses may receive up to 4 to 6 sessions with program mediators. Such sessions are held at the Collaborative Family Law Center in Manhattan and will last 90 minutes each.

With divorce mediation, both spouses must agree to take this approach. Together, they will meet with a neutral party, a mediator, who will work to facilitate communication between the spouses so they can reach their own agreement regarding any issues they must resolve in relation to their divorce.

This may include:

The mediator does not have the authority to make these decisions for the spouses but rather tries to help them work together. Once all decisions are agreed upon, a written agreement can be drawn up and then incorporated into an Order or Judgment of Divorce. Only a court order or judgment makes the divorce final.

Is A Collaborative Approach Right for Me?

Collaborative divorce does not involve a public record of the details of your divorce and allows you much more input into the outcome of issues regarding your children and finances. In spite of various advantages, mediation or another collaborative approach is not always the best solution for everyone.

A lawyer who is experienced with collaborative and contested divorce can offer insight on how your unique situation may be impacted by each approach. Considering all of your options is essential when you are considering a life-changing matter like a divorce.

Considering mediation or a collaborative divorce? Contact a New York collaborative divorce lawyer for help addressing your divorce in a respectful and efficient manner.

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