On September 1, 2009, the court-sponsored Collaborative Family Law Center-- the first of its kind in the nation ---opened as part of a larger initiative to reduce the pain, trauma, and expense of divorce on families. The Collaborative Family Law Center connects eligible couples to specially-trained lawyers and other professionals to help them get divorced without going to court. In qualifying cases, the professionals have agreed to provide services free of charge.
The Collaborative Family Law Center is located at 80 Centre Street, Room 133, New York, NY, and serves divorcing couples throughout New York City.
NOTE: Referrals will not be made to collaborative law or divorce mediation where one spouse cannot locate the other or in cases involving domestic violence or child abuse.
What is Collaborative Family Law?
Collaborative Family Law is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that gives divorcing couples a respectful way to end their marriage with the help of lawyers, but without the stress, delay, and expense of litigation. It is also known as Collaborative Law or Collaborative Practice.
How Does It Work?
In Collaborative Law, each party is represented by a specially-trained lawyer. Parties sit together with their lawyers in face-to-face meetings to identify and address the issues they need to resolve to get divorced. The process may also involve other conflict resolution professionals such as mediators, financial planners, divorce coaches, or child specialists. The process often ends with a written agreement that can be incorporated into a Judgment of Divorce.
If either spouse decides to go to court to litigate, both parties must hire new lawyers and other retained professionals. This motivates everyone involved to continue working toward a mutually agreeable resolution.
How Can I Get a Referral to a Collaborative Lawyer?
If you live in New York City and are income-eligible, Collaborative Family Law Center staff may be able to refer you to professionals who have agreed to represent clients in a collaborative divorce for free. To schedule an appointment, send an email to email@example.com with your phone number or call 212-428-5592. Both spouses must be willing to participate.
If you are not eligible for a free attorney, the Collaborative Family Law Center also offers couples in New York City access to free divorce mediation services. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your phone number or call 212-428-5592 for more information.
If you live outside New York City OR if you are not eligible for free services, visit Find a Collaborative Lawyer.
To learn more about the differences between collaborative law and mediation, review our FAQs.
NOTE: Referrals will not be made to either collaborative law or divorce mediation where one spouse cannot locate the other, or in cases involving domestic violence.
What If I Already Have a Lawyer?
If you already have a lawyer that has not been trained in Collaborative Law, and you want a respectful way to end your marriage without the stress and cost of litigation, ask your lawyer about mediation. To learn more, visit divorce mediation.
What about Mediation?
If you live in New York City (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island), you may be eligible for a limited number of free divorce mediation sessions. Send an email to email@example.com with your phone number or call 212-428-5592 for more information. Both spouses must be willing to participate.
NOTE: Referrals will not be made to divorce mediation where one spouse cannot locate the other, or in cases involving domestic violence or child abuse.
How Can I Learn More?
Visit our Frequently Asked Questions.