Bronx Collaborative Divorce

For most people, divorce is an earth-shattering event that becomes the focus of our lives, which is why if you are thinking of divorce, you should consult with a Bronx collaborative divorce lawyer. Let us explain. In a famous stress scale (Holmes and Rahe scale) that assesses 43 events that can cause stress in life, death of a spouse ranks as the most stressful, but divorce ranks after it. When divorces are contested, it is much like any other litigation, that is, an adversarial process. Each side seeks to prove they are right and the other is wrong. Each side performs discovery of documents, hires experts, calls witnesses and presents a case to show they are right and the other side is wrong concerning issues such as property division, spousal maintenance, child custody, child visitation and child support. Even if the parties settle on the court house steps as many do, by that time, the damage has been done both to each parties’ bank accounts and their relationship. At the end of it, if the couple had any good feelings left when they filed for divorce, it’s often gone. This can have a disastrous effect when the couple have children, and so must interact for many more years.

There is nothing the court system can do to remove all the inherent stress of divorce, but in the last few years, New York courts including the Bronx courts have taken steps to alleviate some of the stress by providing the option of a collaborative divorce process. Unlike the adversarial contested divorce process, in collaborative divorce, Bronx attorneys and the parties can work together to come to agreement on all the key issues that must be settled by the end of a divorce. The focus is on transparency and collaboration rather than hiding and exploiting weaknesses.

The Collaborative Divorce Process

Even most contested divorces settle, but it’s usually right before trial and on the basis of how the attorneys think the judge will rule. Far better to try to work through differences amiably and keep control of your lives than settle under pressure at the last minute or let a judge decide some of the most important parts of your life for you.

If you are pursuing a collaborative divorce in the Bronx, each party is represented by a trained Bronx collaborative divorce lawyer. A number of meetings, approximately four on average, are held between the parties and their attorneys on their schedule and at their convenience. The topics of the meetings move beyond the legal, and parties can involve anyone else who can help them to come to an agreement such as, perhaps, child psychologists and financial analysts. Since the court is not involved in the discussions, the process moves faster than a contested divorce, because there is no need to do these meetings according to a court schedule. Another advantage that is often overlooked is that in a contested divorce, financial documents and other private information become public. This can be detrimental, particularly to business owners. A collaborative divorce keeps all such information private.

Once the parties have worked out an agreement on all issues, they can proceed to an uncontested divorce. Their attorneys simply draft an agreement and the spouses sign. Though the settlement agreement must be approved by a judge, particularly those terms involving children, normally what the couple decides is approved. From there, the judge issues the divorce decree.

Should the couple be unable to agree, they can still fall back on the contested divorce process. However, the Bronx lawyers representing the parties in the collaborative divorce process must then withdraw. You must hire different attorneys for a contested divorce, so the collaborative divorce lawyers have no motivation to thwart the collaborative divorce process and move the case to litigation.

Bronx Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is always difficult, but collaborative divorce can help keep your relationship amicable or at least civil. It is also less expensive and faster than going through a contested divorce. If you are considering it, you will want to consult with an experienced Bronx attorney specializing in collaborative divorce. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients who are seeking divorce, legal separation or annulment. We also represent clients on issues related to custody, child support and spousal support. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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