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Collaborative Divorce in New York

A collaborative divorce is a way to reach a divorce settlement without litigation. The collaborative process involves a series meetings during which the divorcing couple resolves the issues involved in the divorce. For example, during the collaborative process the parties will reach an agreement on important issues such as custody and visitation if the couple has minor children. Similarly, during the collaborative process the couple agrees on the matter of child support, property distribution, and debt allocation. Typically there are a number of professionals involved in the collaborative process to ensure that the spouses are supported by any needed expertise. Together the team works to address the emotional, financial, custody and legal issues, while preserving the dignity of all family members. If you are facing the end of your marriage and are in need of a divorce lawyer, it is important that you contact an experienced New York collaborative divorce lawyer who will work to help ensure that your interests are protected throughout the divorce process.

What are the advantages of a collaborative divorce?

One of the most important advantages of collaborative divorce is the divorce ends up being uncontested and the divorce does not have to involve the court. Typically this results in a savings of both time and money. Other advantages of collaborative divorce include:

  • Less conflict. The collaborative process, supported by experienced professionals, is designed to help ensure that couples approach the negotiation process in a non-combative manner, with an eye toward resolution.
  • Less expensive. Because the process requires the spouses to be open with such things as their finances, there is not a need for an expensive discovery process. In addition, because court is avoided the spouses avoid the expensive associated with litigation.
  • Quicker. The collaborative divorce process is typically faster than the traditional divorce process. One reason that it is faster is that the spouses chose when and where to meet instead of having to comply with a court’s schedule. Also, because both parties agree to disclose financials, the time it takes to complete discovery is avoided.
  • Transparency. As part of the process the spouses, attorneys and other professionals involved in a collaborative divorce agree that any decision will be made with the knowledge of everybody else.
  • Privacy. When someone files for divorce, the filings including financial records become public record. On the other hand during a collaborative divorce while financial records and other documents are prepared, they remain public because they are not filed with the court.
  • Children are protected. While the interests of children are considered in any divorce proceeding, with collaborative divorces children are less likely to be used as bargaining chips.
How are children protected during a collaborative divorce?

Divorces are particularly hard on children. Parents have a need to resolve the issues involved in the divorce and at the same time shield their children from as much of the pain involved as possible. During the collaborative divorce process mental health coaches are brought in to help resolve issues regarding the children and to help develop effective co-parenting plans. On the other hand during traditional divorces attorneys are often the professionals who help parents resolve custody and parenting issues.

What happens once an agreement is reached?

Once the spouses reach an agreement on all relevant issues such as property distribution, debt allocation, child support, and child custody, the agreement is memorialized in a detailed settlement agreement. The agreement is signed by both parties. The document is then submitted to the court for approval. As long as the judge is satisfied that the settlement was fairly negotiated and does not blatantly favor one party over the other, the judge is likely to quickly sign off on the settlement. A divorce decree is then issued.

If the judge refuses to sign off on the settlement it is usually because the judge has an issue with one of the aspects of the agreement. For example, the judge may feel that the manner in which the debt was allocated between the spouses is unfair. The judge would likely require the couple to return to the negotiation table and work out a modified agreement.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Divorces are complex involving difficult and emotional issues related to finances, property and children. Whether you choose a collaborative divorce or another type of divorce process, in order to ensure that your rights are protected it is important that you are represented by an attorney with experience. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully representing clients who are seeking a divorce, legal separation, or annulment. We also represent clients on issues related to custody, child support and spousal support. Contact us at 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.

Client Reviews
My ex-husband hadn't paid child support or the mortgage on the house as he was supposed to. Stephen Bilkis and his team of lawyers were amazing. They stopped the foreclosure on the house, Got a judgment against him and most importantly kept me and my children in the house. Can't say enough good things about him in the firm their compassion hard work and dedication were exceptional. I.G.
From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
Stephen has handled numerous estate matters, criminal matters and family court matters effectively and with a goal-oriented approach. He gets great results and is a results-oriented attorney. Dustin