Divorce Resolution Options in NJ and NY

Which Option is the Right One for You and Your Family?

There are a number of ways in which divorcing couples can reach their divorce settlement. The media or other influences cause us to typically think of just one – litigation, where a couple has their “day in court” and a judge decides the fate and future of a family. The judge decides who is right and who is wrong, who shall have the children, should the home be sold and other life-changing decisions. In reality, however, 99% of all divorce cases are resolved without a court making a single determination. The question every couple needs to decide is what the best process for them is. This is likely the first time you are going through a separation or divorce and it is understandable that you might have some doubts regarding an alternative other than the traditional adversarial process.

But consider this analogy: If you had a back problem or another physical ailment, would surgery be your first option? We hope not, especially if a different form of treatment is available claiming to offer all the same benefits of a full cure and recovery without any of the significant risks of surgery. At least, you would seek a second opinion.

There is a way of resolving disputes, getting divorced or working without risking the loss of an amicable relationship and/or the ability to have a positive co-parenting plan, not to mention losing an arm and a leg in professional fees. Mediation and Collaborative Law offer a better alternative of treatment. We have been practicing mediation and collaborative law for over 25. We truly specialize in these forms of conflict resolution and can help you preserve your family through this difficult time.

We offer you several advantages over traditional adversarial ways of divorcing, among them cost-effectiveness, durability, and a process that promotes respect instead of prolonging hostility.
We will help you reach informed, satisfying and cost-effective solutions. We create a trusting environment in which you create your own agreements based on your mutual needs and goals as well as those of your children.

group of people sitting at wooden table with one gesturing towards group with both hands

Mediation

Divorce Mediation is a family-centered process in which an impartial third party meets with a divorcing couple to help them reach a mutual and informed agreement for the terms of their separation, divorce or post-divorce dispute. Mediation acknowledges that divorce is an emotional and legal event and provides a safe setting for parties to communicate their needs and interests with each other while focusing on principled problem solving such as fairness, self-determination and the best interest of all family members.

team of professionals sitting at wooden table with laptops while older man in suit reviews document with younger woman

Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law is an approach in which separate attorneys represents each of the parties. The parties specifically choose these attorneys because of their commitment to represent their clients in reaching a settlement in problem solving framework, without resorting to any form of litigation or court adjudication.

The essence of “Collaborative Law” is the shared belief that it is in the best interests of parties to commit themselves to resolving their differences with minimal conflict and no litigation. They seek to adopt a conflict resolution process that does not rely on a Court imposed resolution. The process relies on an atmosphere of honesty, cooperation, integrity and professionalism geared toward the future wellbeing of the parties.

The attorneys may feel that bringing in experts could be beneficial for the couple and family. These experts may include certified financial planners, certified public accountants, licensed clinical social workers, psychologists, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, and psychiatrists.

man in suit shaking hands with person at table with documents

Attorney Settlement Negotiation

Cooperative settlement is a peaceful approach in which each party finds an attorney who will work directly with the other party’s attorney to reach an agreement and resolve the dispute. In this scenario, the parties never speak with each other or the other’s attorney. The attorneys are there as the sole advocates for their clients.

This approach is used by those parties who find it easier to speak up for their needs and interests using an attorney advocate to work with their spouse’s attorney advocate in the context of constructive settlement negotiations. Unlike traditional negotiation in which each side views the other as an “adversary” to conquer, constructive settlement negotiation consists of joint problem-solving and respects for each side’s needs, interests and priorities above “winning”.

pristine wooden gavel on white background

Litigation

In a litigated divorce, each spouse hires an attorney to fight his/her case in an adversarial way. A couple goes before a judge only when the attorneys cannot reach a settlement. 98% of divorce cases end in settlement without a judge but if a couple does go to court, each side has an attorney represent them and a battle ensues. This is a high-conflict way to divorce and can break up a family and harm the children. Court also takes away a couple’s freedom to make the choices they feel are right for their family and gives that privilege solely to the judge.

Every couple is unique and their divorce is going to be unique as well. The specifics of your case are going to determine which method is right for you. We believe that there is a peaceful process that can work for a couple 99% of the time, therefore we will not represent you in an adversarial divorce but we would be happy to represent you in a peaceful and constructive process.


Feel free to give us a call as well to better understand the various options and how we can help you determine which process is best for you.

Schedule an Appointment Today

For Further information or to schedule an appointment contact the Berner Law & Mediation Group.