Collaborative Law

Kristen Mackay Pennessi, New York Matrimonial Law

The McCarthy Fingar Team

McCarthy Fingar has some of the best collaborative lawyers for divorce and family law matters in White Plains, Westchester and the entire New York metro region. How does Collaborative Law work? When a couple agrees to the collaborative resolution format, each party has his or her own attorney, and makes a formal, written commitment not to go to court, right at the outset. Instead of costly litigation, the parties themselves, with the assistance of their attorneys, meet, set goals, gather information, create solutions and ultimately reach an agreement to resolve their divorce or family law dispute.

McCarthy Fingar’s Leadership in the Community

Part of the reason for the success of the collaborative format is that, once the participation agreement has been signed by the parties and their attorneys, the attorneys cannot represent their clients if the process fails to reach an agreement and/or someone wants to go to court. For instance, if one of the lawyers in our Collaborative Law group represents a client in a collaborative law engagement and a settlement is not reached, our Matrimonial & Family Law group cannot be engaged to represent the client on the continuing dispute.

Because lawyers retained to assist in the collaborative law process cannot represent those clients in a contested matter in court, the attorneys, like the clients, are motivated to “stay the course” and devote as much time as is necessary to the desired out-of-court settlement. As a result, a large proportion of McCarthy Fingar’s collaborative efforts to resolve divorce and family law issues are successful.

One of our other Collaborative Lawyers is the Firm’s Chief Counsel, Hon. Sondra M. Miller, who also heads up the firm’s Mediation & Arbitration group.

 

Contact Us

McCarthy Fingar’s Collaborative Law lawyers are dedicated to our clients’ success. If you think you may require our assistance or have any questions, please contact one of our Collaborative Law attorneys in our White Plains office: Kristen Mackay Pennessi by email (kpennessi@mccarthyfingar.com) or by phone (914-385-1033); or Hon. Sondra M. Miller by email (smiller@mccarthyfingar.com) or by phone (914-385-1015).

02/27/2020

Gebhardt & Miller Speak on Parent Education in Custody Cases

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Dolores Gebhardt and Hon. Sonda M. Miller, both members of our Matrimonial & Family Law, Appellate Practice and Collaborative Law groups, presented “Mandatory Parent Education in Custody Cases: The Pilot Program” at the Westchester County Courthouse. This CLE program, sponsored by the Family Law Section of the Westchester County Bar Association, described the requirements of the new initiative in which judges must refer divorcing parents to OCA-approved classes that assist the parents in putting their children first.

10/01/2019

McCarthy Fingar’s “Super Lawyers”

Frank W. Streng Gail M. Boggio Douglas S. Trokie James K. Landau

Six of our lawyers have been selected Super Lawyers in the New York Metropolitan area. Gail M. Boggio has again been selected in the fields of Estate & Trust Litigation/Estate Planning & Probate/Elder Law. Kathleen Donelli has again been selected in the field of Family Law. Dolores Gebhardt has again been selected in the field of Family Law. James K. Landau has again been selected in the fields of Commercial Litigation and Appellate, and has again been selected for the Top 25 in Westchester County for Super LawyersFrank W. Streng has again been selected in the fields of Estate & Trust Litigation and Estate Planning & Probate. Douglas S. Trokie has again been selected in the fields of Business/Corporate, Closely Held Business, Real Estate, Business and Civil Litigation. Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have been recognized by their colleagues as having the highest degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

10/01/2014

Boggio, Bramson, Brophy, Donelli, Gebhardt, Miller & Streng Selected as Super Lawyers

Frank W. Streng Gail M. Boggio Howell Bramson Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Seven of our lawyers have been selected Super Lawyers in the New York Metropolitan area. Gail M. Boggio has again been selected in the fields of Estate & Trust Litigation/Estate Planning & Probate/Elder Law. Howell Bramson has again been selected in the fields of Estate Planning/Tax and Corporate Business. Joseph Brophy has again been selected in the fields of Personal Injury/Medical Malpractice, General, Estate & Trust Litigation. Kathleen Donelli has again been selected in the fields of Family Law/Collaborative Law/Appellate. Dolores Gebhardt has again been selected in the fields of Family Law/Collaborative Law/Appellate. Judge Sondra Miller has again been selected in the fields of Appellate/Family Law. Frank W. Streng has been selected in the fields of Estate & Trust Litigation and Estate Planning & Probate. Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have been recognized by their colleagues as having the highest degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

06/04/2014

Miller Authors Article on Prenuptial Agreements for New York Law Journal

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Hon. Sondra M. Miller, who has a national reputation on family law issues and leads our Mediation & Arbitration Practice Group and Appellate Practice group, authored an article for the New York Law Journal on Prenuptial Agreements entitled, “Come Live With Me and Be my Love…But Sign This Prenup!

10/01/2013

Boggio, Bramson, Brophy, Donelli, Gebhardt & Miller Selected as Super Lawyers

Gail M. Boggio Howell Bramson Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Six of our lawyers have been selected Super Lawyers in the New York Metropolitan area. Gail M. Boggio has been selected in the fields of Estate & Trust Litigation/Estate Planning & Probate/Elder Law. Howell Bramson has again been selected in the fields of Estate Planning/Tax and Corporate Business. Joseph Brophy has again been selected in the fields of Personal Injury/Medical Malpractice, General, Estate & Trust Litigation. Kathleen Donelli has again been selected in the fields of Family Law/Collaborative Law/Appellate. Dolores Gebhardt has again been selected in the fields of Family Law/Collaborative Law/Appellate. Judge Sondra Miller has again been selected in the fields of Appellate/Family Law. Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have been recognized by their colleagues as having the highest degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

10/01/2012

Bramson, Brophy, Donelli, Gebhardt & Miller Selected as Super Lawyers

Howell Bramson Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Five of our lawyers have been selected Super Lawyers in the New York Metropolitan area. Howell Bramson has been selected in the fields of Estate Planning/Tax and Corporate Business. Joseph Brophy has again been selected in the fields of Personal Injury/Medical Malpractice, General, Estate & Trust Litigation. Kathleen Donelli has again been selected in the fields of Family Law/Collaborative Law/Appellate. Dolores Gebhardt has been selected in the fields of Family Law/Collaborative Law/Appellate. Judge Sondra Miller has been selected in the fields of Appellate/Family Law. Joe Brophy has also been selected as one of Westchester’s top 25 lawyers. Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have been recognized by their colleagues as having the highest degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

03/12/2012

Judge Miller Interviewed by Wall Street Journal on Impact of New Divorce Law

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Hon. Sondra M. Miller, who leads our Mediation & Arbitration Practice Group and Appellate Practice groups, was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on the impact of the new divorce law. Judge Miller, who has been a long-time proponent of reforms in divorce law, discussed how the new divorce law, passed in 2010, has had unintended consequences on temporary alimony for some affluent New Yorkers. See video below for that interview. Footage provided by Wall Street Journal.

10/25/2011

Judge Miller & Donelli Speak to Law Revision Commission

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Hon. Sondra M. Miller and Kathleen Donelli, members of our Matrimonial & Family Law and Collaborative Law groups, were invited and met with the New York State Law Revision Commission (“LRC”) at a Roundtable Meeting on Maintenance Awards in Divorce Proceedings on October 25, 2011 at Albany Law School in Albany, New York. Both Judge Miller and Kathleen had the opportunity to discuss the legislation that the New York State Legislature has directed the LRC to propose by December 31, 2011 on maintenance awards.

06/15/2011

Boggio, Donelli & Gebhardt Elected Directors of Women’s Bar Association of State of New York

Gail M. Boggio

Gail M. Boggio, Kathleen Donelli and Dolores Gebhardt were elected and then sworn in as directors of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York.

04/28/2011

Judge Miller Receives the “Above the Bar” Award & Selected as “Pace Setter”

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Hon. Sondra M. Miller was selected as the “Pace Setter” and received the “Above the Bar” award on April 28, 2011 in White Plains, New York.

02/04/2011

Judge Miller Interviewed by New York Law Journal on Court Ruling on New No-Fault Divorce Legislation

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Hon. Sondra M. Miller, who has been a long-time proponent of “no fault” divorce and helped bring upon its passage in law last year, was interviewed by the New York Law Journal (2/4/2011) to comment on a recent ruling on the new law by Essex County Justice Robert J. Muller. Justice Muller is  the second judge to rule that a trial is required if a party disputes whether, under the new law, a marriage has “broken down irretrievably.” The article went on to say:

 

“Sondra Miller, the former Second Department justice who headed a commission appointed by former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to examine the state’s matrimonial laws, disagreed with Justice Muller’s conclusion stating that the ‘irretrievably broken’ language must be read in the context within which it was written. . . . ‘It is quite clear,’ Ms. Miller said, that the ‘purpose’ of the language referring to an oath provided by ‘one party’ was to ‘avoid litigation.’  ‘It was not the intent of the Legislature and the bill’s sponsors to avoid litigation on fault grounds only to substitute litigation upon the ground of irretrievable breakdown,’ added Ms. Miller who is now chief counsel at McCarthy Fingar in White Plains. ‘The statute was designed to avoid the expense and delay of full trials.'”

01/19/2011

Judge Miller Speaks at Induction Ceremony of Justice Linda J. Christopher

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Hon. Sondra M. Miller spoke at the Rockland County Courthouse in New City at the induction ceremony of newly elected Justice Linda J. Christopher.

06/17/2008

Judge Miller Interviewed by New York Law Journal on “No Fault” Divorce

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Hon. Sondra M. Miller was interviewed by the New York Law Journal as a spokesperson for various state and local bar groups who lobbied Albany legislators for an amendment of divorce law to permit “no fault” divorce. Judge Miller, who is also the Director of the Office of Family Services for the Office of Court Administration, organized the event in Albany, to remind legislators of the need to change the divorce laws and to highlight the near-unanimous support that the no-fault option has among bar groups. In her interview, Judge Miller also spoke of the difficulties the no-fault option faced in the current legislative session, since no-fault divorce is just one of a myriad of items vying for attention. In the interview, Judge Miller said: “They are not focused on this issue. And we, as a group, are at a disadvantage because we are not lobbyists.”

11/08/2007

Judge Miller is Keynote Speaker for The Family & Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Hon. Sondra M. Miller was a keynote speaker on November 8, 2007 for The Family & Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York (FDMCGNY) at its 25th anniversary gala celbration in New York, New York. FDMCGNY is a not-for-profit group dedicated to the constructive resolution of traditional and non-traditional family disputes.

11/01/2007

Gebhardt and Judge Miller Author Article on Divorce Law and Abandonment

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Dolores Gebhardt and Hon. Sonda M. Miller authored an article in the Pace Law Review, Justice Abandoned: Forty Years of Stalemate in Actions for Divorce on the Ground of Abandonment, 27 Pace Law Review 605 (2007). Click on Article to see this publication.

10/11/2007

Gebhardt & Judge Miller Lecture in Manhattan on No-Fault Divorce

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Dolores Gebhardt and Hon. Sondra M. Miller spoke at a forum in New York City at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York on October 11, 2007, entitled “The Need for No-Fault Divorce.”

04/01/2007

Miller Interviewed on Recommendations of Matrimonial Commission

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Hon. Sondra M. Miller  In the aftermath of the recent bribery conviction of former state Supreme Court Justice Gerald P. Garson, there has been substantial media coverage of the manner in which matrimonial and family law cases are litigated in the court system. Judge Miller, who headed the Matrimonial Commission formed by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, was interviewed by The Institute for Judicial Studies for both her observations on the case and efforts to implement the recommendations of the Matrimonial Commission. For excerpts of that interview, click at Interview. Click at Report to see the recommendations of the Matrimonial Commission.

10/24/2006

Judge Miller Lectures on Ethical Considerations and Attorney Fees

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Hon. Sondra M. Miller lectured on Ethical Considerations and Attorney Fees as part of an all-day program in Tarrytown, New York on October 24, 2006 entitled “Probate and Administration of Estates” for the Trusts & Estates Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

05/09/2006

Bramson and Donelli Lecture on Tax Issues Related to Divorce

Howell Bramson

Howell Bramson and Kathleen Donelli lectured on “Tax Issues Related to Divorce” on May 9, 2006 at The Bank of New York in White Plains. For lecture materials, click on Seminar Outline.

01/01/2006

Judge Sondra Miller Joins Firm and Leads the Firm’s Appellate and Mediation and Arbitration Practice Groups

Hon. Sondra M. Miller

We are pleased to announce that Judge Sondra M. Miller, retired from the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, as of January 1, 2006, has joined our Firm as Chief Counsel. Judge Miller is a member of the Firm’s Commercial Litigation and Matrimonial & Family Law groups and will lead the Firm’s appellate practice.

Presenter Description Organization Date
Hon. Sondra M. Miller
Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Mandatory Parent Education in Custody Cases: The Pilot Program

Family Law Section of the Westchester County Bar Association

02/27/2020
Hon. Sondra M. Miller
Hon. Sondra M. Miller

“Who Owns Your DNA: Property, Privacy and the Cancer Battle”

Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Manhattan

11/10/2010
Hon. Sondra M. Miller
Hon. Sondra M. Miller

New Divorce Legislation: No Fault Divorce, Maintenance Guidelines, Counsel & Expert Fees, Modification of Child Support & Orders of Protection

Westchester Women’s Bar Association, White Plains, New York

10/14/2010
Hon. Sondra M. Miller
Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Keynote Speaker

New York, New York, The Family & Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York

11/08/2007
Hon. Sondra M. Miller
Hon. Sondra M. Miller

“The Need for No-Fault Divorce”

Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Manhattan

10/11/2007
Howell Bramson
Howell Bramson

“Tax Issues Related to Divorce”

The Bank of New York, White Plains, New York

05/09/2006