Attorney and Mediator
Financial Divorce Planner
Emanuel Caiati and Patricia Barrett have decades of experience helping people agree to a fair distribution of assets, as well as the proper consideration of financial security, for each person in the post-divorce years.
Cooperative Law Works
Caiati and Barrett, respected mediation experts, understand how to manage the input of attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial planners to construct a non-adversarial divorce and child custody settlement that satisfies both parties.
Divorcing couples may confidently come to Caiati & Barrett Mediation's cooperative divorce practice to settle their case and resolve their differences in an atmosphere of collaboration.
The Cooperative Law Process
Following the couple's initial consultation with Emanuel and Patricia, and in preparation for the mediation, three experts each have a role.
• Patricia Barrett, the divorce financial planner, draws up an asset inventory and helps with budgeting and long-term planning. Post-divorce financial issues are often a source of great anxiety and should be addressed carefully. This is done pre-mediation and revised during mediation.
• Emanuel Caiati, a mediator/attorney, conducts the mediation and guides the parties to a settlement. He draws up the mediated settlement agreement to be signed as evidence of an agreement.
• After the mediation is complete, another attorney files the divorce, beginning the 60-day waiting period, and provides one spouse with a waiver to sign. He or she answers questions concerning legal issues and writes the divorce decree. The final step is to “prove up” in the uncontested court, accompanied by one of the parties. This is typically the only court involvement and takes only a few minutes in front of a judge.
Second Mediation Session
The spouses may need to attend a second mediation session if difficult issues require special attention, such as complicated child issues. For this, they meet with mediators to discuss their concerns and develop reasonable, mutually satisfying solutions. These co-mediators are financial planners and family law attorneys who use the tools of their trade to facilitate each session and produce written agreements covering the once-disputed issues.
Saving Money, Time, and Grief
In this manner, divorcing couples save time and money and avoid the bitter arguments and harsh feelings that usually deplete the marital estate and destroy any hope for reasonable post-divorce co-parenting. Rather, in their post-divorce life, each spouse enjoys a fair share of the divided assets, avoids becoming enemies with the ex-spouse, and the children benefit from an atmosphere of cooperation between their two parents.
The Cooperative Divorces Team in Action
The members of Caiati & Barrett Mediations Cooperative Divorces™ practice group include Patricia Barrett, C.F.P.; Manny Caiati, Esq.; and attorney Amy Fearnow. Below are three different scenarios describing how the Cooperative Divorces team can smooth the process, saving money, time, and grief.
Cooperative Mediation in Action — Scenario I
In the simplest case, when a couple has few assets and no children, financial planner Patricia Barrett works with the husband and wife to produce a binding settlement agreement dividing the marital estate. A lawyer from the Cooperative Divorces practice group is hired by one of the spouses to prepare a petition for divorce and file suit, either before or at any time during the settlement process. The lawyer will also prepare a waiver and a decree of divorce conforming to the settlement agreement. The lawyer and client present the final result to the court, using the uncontested docket to secure the final divorce.
It is understood that the other spouse will not hire a lawyer because of the high degree of confidence in the fair and equitable work of the financial planner and the soundness of the settlement.
Cooperative Mediation in Action — Scenario II
In another scenario, family mediator Emanuel Caiati may be hired by a divorcing couple to produce a binding settlement before the suit is filed. The couple would have already worked with financial planner Patricia Barrett to settle the marital estate or provide other financial analysis. There may be one or more mediation sessions. After that, a lawyer from the practice group, hired by either one of the spouses, prepares the documents necessary to secure a divorce from a court.
Cooperative Mediation in Action — Scenario III
In another scenario, a couple already in divorce litigation may decide to begin a more cooperative process and hire co-mediators from Caiati & Barrett to help facilitate a final agreement. They may request that their attorneys cease to work on the case temporarily.
The co-mediator team is comprised of an attorney mediator and financial planner Patricia Barrett. Each spouse may continue to retain different attorneys for advice and counsel.