Collaborative Divorce and Mediation
Collaborative divorce and mediation are legal options that have proven to be some of the most satisfactory process for many people seeking fairness for each family member when dissolving a marriage.

People going through a divorce, separation, or other family law issues must decide what process they will use before they can begin the hard work of planning for their family’s future, which is especially important where children are involved.

A common misconception about mediation and collaborative divorce is that these methods are only right for couples where there is little conflict. That is not necessarily true. Our specially trained Collaborative attorneys and mediators understand that conflict will always be present during a divorce and therefore, have the experience and skill to assist couples navigate conflict as it arises – seeking solutions that move the process productively forward.

Our Team

With nearly 100 years of collective experience, our team of divorce and family professionals are uniquely qualified to assist you with any issue that may arise during your divorce process.

All of our Syracuse divorce attorneys are members and extensively involved in the Central New York Collaborative Family Law Professionals — where they all received specialized training in the collaborative process. Rosemary Lepiane currently serves as President of the CNY Collaborative Group Board of Directors, and Steve Paquette served as a past president of the Group. Ithaca divorce attorney Jon Orkin is a member of the Ithaca Area Collaborative Law Professionals and has over 15 years of experience facilitating this process.

One of the greatest benefits of hiring Bousquet Holstein for your collaborative or mediated divorce is that you gain access to the extensive experience of our team of attorneys, each committed to your successful collaborative resolution. When you meet with one of our attorneys, they will go over what the collaborative law process entails and what you can expect. Our goal is to help you make a smooth and hopeful transition into the next period of your life.

Collaborative Divorce

The process of Collaborative Divorce offers the coordinated services of legal, mental health, and financial professionals working together as a team to help couples going through a divorce. This is the only method of divorce that incorporates the services and benefits of three professionals who have undergone extensive training in collaborative methods and procedures to help guide you through the divorce process.

The goal is for the couple to come to a complete agreement resolving everything necessary for them to divorce, including a custody and parenting plan, the division of marital assets and debt, and provisions for the financial support of children and lesser earning spouse. When needed, mental health professionals, financial advisors, and other experts can join the process to provide neutral advice.

Collaborative divorce is unique because the process works entirely outside of the court system. Your team of professionals will support you through the process, suggesting options, solutions, and compromises to assist. No one understanding your family like you do, therefore you both decide the terms of the divorce – not a judge.

The collaborative divorce method provides a couple with many emotional and legal benefits, including fostering a less combative environment, giving you more control over divorce terms, and maintaining family stability for the well-being of your children.

Watch our Collaborative Divorce Process video to determine if the collaborative method is right for you >>>>

A couple sits with a divorce mediator during a comfortable mediation session.


In mediation, one negotiates the agreement without the direct assistance or advocacy of an attorney. This allows parties to forge their own agreement with minimum outside influence to achieve fair agreements for the family.

During mediation, one of our experienced and trained mediators will provide information and structure to assist the couple in resolving all issues in a way that is not just legally sufficient, but also best for the family. The mediator guides the couple through a draft agreement which is then typically reviewed by their separate attorneys before finalized.

Our skilled mediators bring unique problem-solving abilities and compassion to the mediation. As experienced divorce attorneys, we understand both the legal complexities and emotional challenges often seen when couples decide to part ways.

It is important to understand that our attorneys do not represent either party in a mediation. In fact, they are a neutral to both you and your spouse. As such, we will not give legal advice during mediation sessions but instead will offer general information and assist in creative problem solving.

Mediation may not be for everyone. However, we invite you to contact our team for a confidential consultation to learn more about this process.

Watch our Mediation Process for Divorce video for more information >>>>>

Additional Options

Alternatively, Negotiation and Litigation are more traditional methods of resolving divorce and separation than collaborative law and mediation.

Any method of divorce will require the parties to resolve all issues relating to child custody and parenting plan: child support, maintenance (alimony); and the equitable distribution of marital assets and debts. Such matters often include the need to resolve questions involving real estate, tax law, estate law, pension and retirement law. Occasionally issues involving bankruptcy, criminal law, and other matters also arise. Our team is uniquely qualified to assist you with any issue that may arise during your divorce process.

We understand this is an important decision and we are here to answer any questions you may have. You can read our article about the differences between collaborative divorce and mediation to further understand which option might be right for you.

Each of our attorneys have successfully navigated and negotiated settlements. They thoroughly prepare for matters that proceed to trial to achieve a fair result for our clients. Our team has handled hundreds of such matters in courts throughout Central New York.