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Divorce Mediation Versus Collaborative Divorce

What’s the Difference between Divorce Mediation & Collaborative Divorce?
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A Long Island Divorce can be a very emotionally and financially draining time for you and your family. Divorces are infamous for costing families thousands of dollars and dragging on for what feels like eternity. By choosing a different method of divorce, such as Divorce Mediation or a Collaborative Divorce, you may be able to alleviate some of those stressors. Both alternative methods of divorce will save you and your family time, money and stress, as well as increasing the likelihood of a more cooperative relationship with your spouse moving forward.

Divorce Mediation

Divorce Mediation is an alternative to a Contested or Uncontested Divorce in which you and your spouse hire one neutral, third-party divorce mediator. Your divorce mediator will assist you and your spouse in reaching a Settlement Agreement and, ultimately, a Judgment of Divorce.

In a divorce mediation, you and your spouse will meet with your mediator and discuss your situation. The mediator will take notes and guide your discussion through the various points of contention of your divorce. You and your spouse can have any number of mediation sessions. The number depends purely upon how quickly you and your spouse reach an agreement. During the sessions, you will discuss all the common issues of your divorce, including property distribution, maintenance, child support and a custody and visitation agreement.

When you and your spouse have concluded your sessions with your mediator, he or she will draft a Stipulation of Settlement. This document will reflect the agreements that you and your spouse have reached as a result of your mediation. You will then both review and sign the agreement and the mediator will submit it to the court in your county. After the court receives your Stipulation, it will finalize your divorce.

If you and your spouse want to take advantage of the benefits of divorce mediation, you both must be willing to communicate with each other. You must have clear goals in mind, but also be willing to compromise. If you and your spouse cannot effectively communicate, divorce mediation will not work for you. It is critical that you both be able to hear each other, as your mediator cannot make decisions for you or give you legal advice. While this communication requirement may seem like a high burden, being able to effectively communicate with your spouse during your mediation has both short and long term benefits. In finalizing your divorce in an amicable way, it is very likely that you will have a better relationship with your spouse post-divorce. This relationship is especially important if you have children together. The ability to communicate as co-parents is a great benefit of divorce mediation.

Collaborative Divorce

A Collaborative Divorce is one in which both you and your spouse hire individual Collaborative Divorce Attorneys to represent each of you. Accordingly, your attorney will represent your interests and your spouse’s attorney will represent his or her interests. While this may look like a standard Contested Divorce with two attorneys fighting in court, in a Collaborative Divorce, the parties involved will all sign an agreement stating that no litigation will be commenced while a Settlement Agreement is being negotiated. This agreement states that you will all work cooperatively toward settlement, share all information that is necessary to reach a fair settlement, retain neutral experts as necessary to reach a fair settlement, and, finally, should a settlement not be reached, the attorneys will not be permitted to represent the parties in any subsequent court litigation. This is the mechanism by which you and your spouse are protected from attorneys attempting to force your matter into court to drive up legal fees. The agreement also encourages all parties involved to work toward common goals while reducing the likelihood of threats and/or ultimatums while negotiating.

The Collaborative Divorce process may sound similar to the stereotypical divorce, as both you and your spouse have retained attorneys. However, a Collaborative Divorce is a happy medium for couples who may not be able to effectively communicate on all issues pertaining to their divorce, but who still want to avoid time-consuming and expensive litigation. By utilizing two attorneys, you can ensure that your interests are being zealously represented without having to go to court as you would in a Contested or Uncontested Divorce.

As discussed above with Divorce Mediation, Collaborative Divorce fosters effective and amicable communication between you and your spouse. This ability to communicate is an invaluable skill when moving forward with your post-divorce life, especially if you have children together. The ability to co-parent and have productive communications with your spouse is incredibly important in providing stability to your children post-divorce.

Contact an Experienced Collaborative Divorce Attorney for Assistance

In order to effectuate either Divorce Mediation or a Collaborative Divorce, it is important that you have a Divorce Attorney with experience by your side to guide you through this intense period of change. If you think that you and your spouse would be good candidates for either process, please call us at 631-923-1910 to schedule your free consultation.

“During the past several years, Robert has assisted dozens of my clients in the areas of divorce, divorce mediation and family law. Although Robert has had great success in representing my clients in both contested and uncontested divorce matters, it is my opinion that he is truly invaluable to the areas of divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. Each and every client has reported to me that Robert is extremely professional and courteous. He truly takes his time working with each client so that they are both comfortable and well taken care of throughout a very difficult process. I have the utmost respect for Robert and will continue to refer my clients to him without hesitation.”

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At your meeting, your attorney will evaluate your case and describe the many options available to you so we can determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

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Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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