Types of Representation in the Divorce or Post-Divorce Process
There are multiple options available to someone pursuing a divorce or engaging in a post-divorce process. The Law Offices of Eric R. Posmantier, LLC offers multiple types of engagement styles to suit your needs both legally and financially.
Using “Review Counsel” and “Divorce Coaches” in Mediation
Many, if not most, divorce-related disputes are resolvable in mediation, whereby the parties negotiate and resolve their dispute with the assistance of a neutral party (usually called a “mediator”). Caution is necessary, however, because mediators do not represent either of the disputing parties, and cannot provide legal advice to either party, even if a mediator is a licensed attorney. As a result, without legal guidance from a competent divorce attorney, there is no way for a party to really know whether any agreement being negotiated is equitable, or even complete, in the eyes of the law.
An absurd example illustrates the role of a mediator: If a mediation participant says “I’ll give you everything” and the other participant says “I’ll take everything”, then the mediator’s role is to effectuate that agreement without regard to its inequity.
That’s where the right type of attorney, engaged in the right manner, can be critically important.
There are two main approaches to hiring an attorney to assist with a mediation process: (1) Retaining an attorney at the start of, or during, the process to provide ongoing legal consulting while engaged in mediation. Or, (2) retaining an attorney at the end of the process to review documents before they are executed. The former approach is usually called “review counsel”, “divorce coaching”, or “divorce consulting”. However, making things even more confusing to someone new to the divorce process is the fact that the phrase “using review counsel” can also apply to that second more-limited approach.
Retaining an Attorney at the Start of, or During, the Divorce or Post-Divorce Mediation Process.
Individuals involved in divorce and post-divorce matters are often interested in minimizing the emotional impact of the court process, but are worried that doing so could jeopardize the chances of a successful outcome. Others are confused by the complexities of the highly technical court process, but do not want to spend exorbitant amounts of money on an attorney to handle all aspects of the matter. If one or both of these scenarios applies to you, then retaining an attorney, at the outset or during mediation, may be the solution. That attorney’s job should be to support the mediation process and not “stir the pot”, but at the same time, educate a party regarding the range of appropriate outcomes in the court system, and how to strategize best to obtain that result.
At the Law Offices of Eric R. Posmantier LLC, we provide strategic and procedural guidance to individuals engaged in a mediation process, or who are appearing on their own behalf before the court. We offer advice to clients regarding their legal rights, as well as the legal and practical effect of various litigation and settlement options.
Additionally, we provide assistance in completing all of the necessary forms and, ultimately, drafting the most important document: the final separation or modification agreements.
Retaining an Attorney at the End of the Mediation Process.
A more limited second option exists, as well. Due to the legal landmines that can be triggered in divorce, at a minimum, parties engaged in mediation should seek counsel to review their documents before signing anything. However, this approach has some serious potential pitfalls to consider. Without an attorney being more integrally involved while the mediation process progresses, it is very difficult for that attorney to know whether all necessary details are understood enough to evaluate the agreement reached. Also, well-intentioned advice from an attorney at the end of the negotiation process could have the impact of collapsing the fragile agreement built up until that moment. Therefore, in our view, only the simplest of divorce matters are good candidates for waiting to retain counsel until the end of the negotiation process.
While we always try to work collaboratively with our adversaries throughout a divorce process, there is a distinct difference between working “collaboratively” and the “Collaborative Law” approach. In Collaborative Law, there is a paradigm shift designed to help ease the transition of the family into their new way of being a family.
In the Collaborative Law model, each party has his or her own counsel who agree not to leverage or threaten court procedures. A financial planner and mental health professional are brought on as part of a “professional team”. The financial planner and mental health professional serve as neutrals whose jobs are to steer the ship through the rocky waters. Group meetings are held regularly, and transparency is key.
This process is especially focused on limiting court intervention and the adversarial litigation that can occur in divorce. In fact, if the process does not succeed, and no agreement is reached, the attorneys who participated in the collaborative process may not represent the party in court for a hearing or trial.
No one surrenders their rights to completing a due diligence discovery process in the Collaborative Law model. Rather, that due diligence is performed economically and sensibly, with a client focused approach, as opposed to acrimoniously with a lawyer-focused approach.
Attorney Posmantier has completed all of the necessary training to be considered a Collaborative Law attorney, including being trained by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
More information about collaborative law can be found here:
Judges love collaborative law – here’s why.
What is Collaborative Practice?
And, in this short video:
A judicial mediation is a mediation process whereby a retired judge is hired as the neutral. Both parties are represented by counsel in this approach, and it is normally a day-long event, that can, at times, extend to multiple days. We usually recommend saving this option until after the due diligence process has been completed.
Judicial mediation has an extremely high success rate, is done in a private setting, and is normally a fraction of the cost of a trial. The Law Offices of Eric R. Posmantier, LLC has participated in countless judicial mediations, with multiple area judges. We are experienced at effectively preparing for and participating in these types of mediations.
We believe that litigation should always be as a path of last resort. No one ever feels like a “winner” in a divorce litigation process, except the lawyers who are counting the fees earned along the way. Nevertheless, sometimes, despite every effort to resolve a dispute through an alternative dispute resolution process, the dispute must be litigated.
Attorney Posmantier has nearly twenty-five years of experience in the courtroom, with countless victories over that period of time, including numerous successes before the Connecticut Appellate Court.
The Divorce Process Doesn’t Have to Be Awful!
Divorce related issues require legal knowledge and expertise, as well as emotional intelligence. Our firm’s locations in Fairfield County, both in Greenwich, Connecticut and Ridgefield, Connecticut, demand an understanding of complex asset structures, tax implications and common legal obstacles that often arise for high net-worth individuals going through divorce. We are experienced in various types of asset divisions, including but not limited to: equity holdings; business ownerships; trust interests; restricted stocks, stock options, and other forms of deferred compensation; as well as all types of retirement assets.
Clients of the Law Offices of Eric R. Posmantier, LLC can expect to work with an attorney who is discreet, professional, and sensitive to their emotional and financial needs and concerns. We always take a cost/benefit approach to decision making.
By first working through and calming the emotional reactions to the behaviors of a soon-to-be ex-spouse, we insist that clients work toward reasoned, logical decisions each step of the way, so that they will not regret their decisions when the emotions settle down.
We choose to employ a discerning approach to divorce, attempting to maximize the results for clients while decreasing the need for public battles in the courtroom. At the Law Offices of Eric R. Posmantier LLC, we understand that most clients would prefer to resolve their disputes amicably and rely on litigation only as a last resort. Nonetheless, we have the courtroom experience and confidence necessary to advocate zealously on behalf of our clients if the need arises. Call today to learn more.