Collaborative Divorce:

A divorce is one of the most confrontational and traumatic experiences most people ever go through. Our goal is to help you through the process relatively unscathed. To meet that goal, we provide our clients with the option of Collaborative Divorce.

If you and your spouse respect one another, can effectively communicate, want to avoid the emotional and financial costs of going to court, but still disagree on a number of issues related to the divorce, Collaborative Divorce may be a perfect fit for you. In contrast to traditional litigation, Collaborative Divorce focuses on reaching the best possible outcome for both parties through cooperative negotiation. The benefits of this process include more control of the outcome, less stress and anxiety, open exchange of information, and privacy. It is particularly attractive to divorcing couples who have young children together, as the process provides a foundation for communication and cooperation, which are both essential to effective co-parenting.

First, the spouses each choose an attorney who specializes in Collaborative Divorce. The spouses then sign a Participation Agreement. The Agreement includes a pledge not to go to court, to treat one another respectfully, and to openly exchange information. In addition to the attorneys, your Collaborative Divorce Team may include mental health professionals, financial planners, and child therapists, depending on you and your spouse’s individual needs. The Team works together to reach an agreement that is mutually acceptable to both parties, and, if you want to divorce, you can submit the agreement with the requisite divorce documents to Supreme Court for approval.

If you are unable to reach an agreement and wish to pursue a traditional divorce through the courts, both parties must retain new attorneys. Your Collaborative Divorce Team can only help you through the Collaborative Process.

Suzanne L. Latimer is a founding and current member of the Collaborative Divorce Association of the Capital District. We provide services in Supreme Courts in the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington. Contact us today if you think Collaborative Divorce may be right for you and want to learn more about the process.

Traditional Divorce:

Traditional divorces are heard in Supreme Court and begin with one spouse filing a Summons and Complaint. The road to divorce through the courts is often long and involves a lot of paperwork and court appearances. Not every traditional divorce, however, is resolved through a trial. Many traditional divorces are uncontested. Even if you and your spouse agree that you both desire to be divorced, it can still be a complicated, adversarial process. Contact us today, and let us represent your needs and interests to the court.

We provide services in Supreme Courts in the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington.

Contested Divorce:

There are two types of contested divorces.

In the first type of contested divorce, the spouse against whom the divorce is sought opposes the divorce completely by denying the grounds for the divorce. The grounds for divorce in New York are: Cruel and Inhuman Treatment, Abandonment, Imprisonment, Adultery, Living Separate and Apart Pursuant to a Separation Judgment or Decree, Living Separate and Apart Pursuant to a Separation Agreement, and Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage.

In the second type of contested divorce, the spouse against whom the divorce is sought may or may not deny the grounds, but the spouses do not agree on all divorce-related issues (i.e. child custody, child support, spousal support, equitable distribution of marital property, and/or counsel/expert fees).

In both types of contested divorce, the Judge ultimately resolves the issues in dispute unless the spouses reach a mutually agreeable resolution through extensive negotiation.

Uncontested Divorce:

In a truly Uncontested Divorce, the spouse against whom the divorce is sought does not deny the grounds for the divorce. Additionally, the spouses agree on all divorce-related issues (i.e. child custody, child support, spousal support, equitable distribution, and/or counsel/expert fees). In these situations, the spouses typically execute a written Agreement and submit it to Supreme Court for approval.

Legal Separation:

Supreme Court also hears actions for legal separation. A legal separation allows the marriage to remain intact while also allowing the spouses to resolve many marriage-related issues through a separation agreement or separation decree. The only marriage-related issue that a separation agreement or separation decree cannot resolve is equitable distribution of marital property. A spouse may want to pursue a legal separation rather than a divorce for a number of reasons. A spouse’s religious faith, for example, may not condone divorce. Most often, one or both spouses are not completely sure that they want to divorce. In this case, a legal separation is particularly attractive because either spouse has the option of converting the separation agreement or decree into a divorce after one year of compliance with its terms. The grounds for legal separation in New York are: Cruel and Inhuman Treatment, Abandonment, Non-Support, Adultery, and Imprisonment.

If you want to move on but are not quite sure you want to divorce your spouse, contact us today to discuss whether a legal separation is right for you. We provide services in Supreme Courts in the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington.

Pre/Post Nuptial Agreements:

A Prenuptial Agreement is a contract between spouses entered into prior to marriage, whereas a Postnuptial Agreement is a contract between spouses entered into after marriage.

The content of each agreement varies widely depending on the spouses’ circumstances. Typically, however, such agreements stipulate how the spouses will resolve financial issues (i.e. child support, spousal support, equitable distribution of marital property, and/or counsel/expert fees) if the spouses separate or divorce. These agreements can also settle what rights, if any, each spouse will have to the other’s estate if one of the spouses dies before the other.

If you are considering marriage, or if you are already married and want to better protect your finances, contact us today so we can create a Pre or Postnuptial Agreement tailored to your individual needs. You can never be too safe with your hard earned money.

A divorce is one of the most confrontational and traumatic experiences most people ever go through. Our goal is to help you through the process relatively unscathed.