Collaborative Law and Mediation
Collaborative law 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.

Persons experiencing divorce, separation, and other family law issues must decide what divorce 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.

Steve, Ryan, Rosemary and Jon together bring nearly 100 years of experience to Bousquet Holstein in the handling of difficult and often complex issues involved in divorce and family court cases. Mediation and collaborative law are processes of divorce negotiated outside of the court room to foster a cooperative environment.

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. We have developed insights into all aspects of the divorce process and how three independent professions can work together for you.

Collaborative divorce is unique because the process works entirely outside of the court system. This is the main advantage of Collaborative Divorce in that the parties direct their own resolution. Also, everything conducted in the meetings is private and in a non-confrontational setting. Your team of professionals will only suggest options, solutions, and compromises to assist. The parties decide the terms of the divorce – not a judge.

Our Team

Steve Paquette has served as President of the Central New York Collaborative Law Group. Rosemary Lepiane currently serves on the board of the CNY Collaborative Law Group. Ryan Suser, a member of the litigation group, has been practicing law for ten years and brings an energetic and creative perspective to the process. Jon Orkin has practiced the process of Collaborative Law for over 15 years and is a member of Ithaca Area Collaborative Professionals.

When you meet with one of our experienced attorneys, they will go over what the collaborative law process is and what you can expect during the process. That attorney, along with his or her support staff, will be your point person at Bousquet Holstein.

Our team has honed skills for years in and out of the courtroom to be utilized in your Collaborative case. Because of this depth of experience, our clients are afforded a team not only thoroughly knowledge of the law, but also an equal amount of understanding and compassion for those going through this process of divorce.

In fact, one of the greatest benefits of hiring Bousquet Holstein for your collaborative or mediated divorce is that you gain access to the immense knowledge of a team of attorneys. Each attorney brings individualized attention committed to your successful collaborative resolution.

Collaborative Law and Mediation


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.

In mediation, the mediator, no matter what their level of knowledge or education may be with respect to divorce, provides 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. After that, the agreement is typically reviewed by attorneys serving as counselors to each person on the drafted legal document.

Skilled mediators will be an expert in the law and will be able to assist parties in creative problem solving. They will bring to the mediation unique problem-solving abilities, coupled with a sense of compassion and caring. Mediators understand both the legal complexities and emotional challenges often seen when couples divide.

It is important to understand that our trained attorneys do not represent either party in a mediation. In fact, they are a neutral to both you and your spouse. As such they will not provide direct legal advice to either party within a mediation.

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

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 divorcing process.

Each of our attorneys has successfully navigated and negotiated settlements. They prepare thoroughly 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.