Needle | Cuda’s attorneys actively serve as “Review Counsel” for clients who have mediated without counsel and need their agreement reviewed before it is formally and approved by the Connecticut Superior Court.
Review Counsel, in the context of Divorce Mediation, generally refers to an attorney who is hired by an individual to review a fully-mediated divorce agreement and to advise that individual on risks, issues and concerns in that agreement related to their independent, separate legal interests before that agreement is finalized in Connecticut Superior Court and entered as a court order called a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage (also known as a Divorce Decree).
Retention of Review Counsel is generally considered to be a prudent decision. A final consultation with Review Counsel is also recommended by most Mediators — as a common-sense measure and also as a means of mitigating liability—since Mediators do not offer any legal advice and are by definition neutral in the Mediation process.
Connecticut Divorce Laws are complex and have many nuances depending on your unique circumstances. The components of a dissolution of marriage: Alimony, Child Support Custody (Physical and Legal), and Division of Property once finalized cannot be un-done, although there are ways to pursue modifications, subject to meeting certain thresholds.
In simple terms, it is the role of your Review Counsel to highlight the risks and issues inherent in Mediated Divorce Agreement based to make sure that you clearly understand any risks and all the important considerations of your situation with respect to Connecticut Law.
That said, because asking Review Counsel to review a divorce settlement agreement after it has been fully mediated is similar to asking a baker to unbake a cake, Needle | Cuda strongly recommends “Represented Mediation” as a Best Practice. Our many years of experience informs that when each party has the benefit of some material level of legal input throughout the process of a mediated divorce agreement, the outcomes tend to be more comprehensive; agreement obligations are more clearly defined and therefore are more easily enforced; and carry a higher probability of “sticking” as compared to mediations without experienced legal input throughout.
Divorce is inherently complicated, so professional input and opinion is recommended and prudent to ensure that someone is looking out for your interests;
A mediator is never on your “side.” The parties in a mediation have separate and distinct legal interests and neither party is represented by the mediator. There are a lot of different ways to get to “yes” and to a settlement. And, the mediator is always looking to get to “yes,” but maybe not the best “yes” for you. With the rest of your life on the line, you should have your divorce settlement agreement reviewed by a legal professional before it becomes a Court order governing your actions and requiring strict compliance; and where non-compliance carries significant potential penalties. You should always be advised independently on matters of legal importance.
It is important to make sure your divorce agreement means what you think it means by having it validated by a legal professional who can advise you about your separate and independent interests.
A Connecticut divorce primarily requires an agreement on the division of three things:
When taking a long-term view, it is essential that your agreement is both clearly articulated and easily enforceable, so in the event that there are disagreements over time (particularly when there are custody and parenting issues involved) those disagreements can be resolved quickly and without ambiguity with respect to Connecticut Family Law. If you ever have to bring a dispute before the CT Family Court, the enforceability of your agreement and strength of your position would be interpreted under laws, statutes, and rules of the State of Connecticut.
There is no better way to make sure that your divorce agreement will stand up and serve you well over time relative to all the unpredictable factors involving family, parenting, and the long-term financial elements related to divorce than to involve an experienced divorce and family law attorney as Review Counsel for your mediated divorce agreement.