Tell us about your background and your family, and how long you have lived in Ridgefield?
I’m originally from NY, attended college and law school in NY and began practicing family law in NY. I have been practicing exclusively family law for over 25 years. After law school I worked with the matrimonial department in a big law firm on Long Island. When I got married and we moved to Westchester, I continued practicing family law in lower Fairfield county,
My career took a hiatus as my family moved around the country with our three young children, living in NY, NJ, MA, CA, until finally settling in Ridgefield in 2011. Once settled, I was looking forward to helping families transition through the divorce process in a healthy manner, without resorting to Court action. I opened my firm, chose not to litigate, and focused my practice solely on divorce mediation and collaborative divorce, two non-adversarial divorce processes which are child-centered and inclusive of not only legal support, but also emotional and financial support that is imperative for a smooth divorce process.
My proudest accomplishment, however, is being a mom to my three amazing, beautiful children; Will is 21 and is a junior at Cornell University, James is 18 and a freshman at Stevens Institute of Technology and Grace is a senior at Ridgefield High school and will be attending the University of Florida in the Fall.
Tell us about your work and the services that you offer to your clients?
Non adversarial divorce refers to a divorce process where both spouses work together to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. This approach emphasizes cooperation, open communication, and compromise to resolve conflicts and make decisions about co-parenting, division of assets and responsibility for liabilities, as well as other related issues. The two nonadversarial divorce processes are divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. Mediation involves a neutral third-party mediator who helps the couple negotiate and reach a settlement. Collaborative divorce involves a team of professionals, including collaboratively trained lawyers, financial neutrals, and mental health professionals, who work together to help the couple reach a settlement. These processes are less stressful, less expensive, and less time-consuming than traditional litigation. They also help preserve relationships, especially when children are involved, as it allows the couple to work together to create a coparenting plan that works for the entire family, and most importantly, the children.
How is divorce mediation and collaborative divorce different than traditional litigated divorce? What separates your mediation approach from the traditional divorce professionals?
Many people still assume that if you are divorcing you need to lawyer up. Not true! Divorce is a legal process, but there are alternatives to traditional litigation that are better suited for families. Litigation is an adversarial process. Mediation and collaborative divorce are an integrative and holistic approach to helping families restructure. While conflict is inevitable, combat is optional. Divorce is not easy, but choosing the divorce professionals who can support you in the three components of divorce is crucial. Divorcing families need emotional support, financial education and legal advice. Divorce mediation and collaborative divorce processes ensure support in these three areas.
What piece(s) of advice would you give to parents seeking an amicable divorce with young children?
Coming to terms with your marriage ending is difficult. First and foremost, be easy on yourself. If you and your spouse are not on the same page with proceeding with a divorce or if you aren’t aligned on moving forward in a respectful and compassionate process, explore discernment counseling or a healing separation. The emotional preparation is so important, often overlooked and unfortunately results in a difficult and costly divorce. If you and your spouse are both ready to proceed with clarity, commit to a child-centered approach. Think about how you want your children to look back at this time. Understand the non-adversarial legal processes and find a team of professionals that are suited specifically for the issues related to your family. Will you benefit from the guidance of a co-parenting counselor? Do you need the assistance of a certified divorce financial analyst to provide the financial expertise needed in your situation? Do your research and make sure your team is well trained, focuses on families and his or her practice is aligned with your goals.
Is non-adversarial divorce for everyone?
While the Court system is not a perfect system, there are times when litigation is necessary. Not all couples can proceed in good faith with full and fair disclosure and in those situations, individuals need to understand what the Court system can provide and also, what is cannot. I believe that every divorce professional has an obligation to provide people with all options when contemplating divorce. While non-adversarial divorce is in most ways a better alternative, it is not always possible. People need to make good decisions for themselves and their unique family situation.
Please provide our audience with information about your services including your workshops, Q&A’s, social platforms, etc.
My firm is the Divorce Mediation Center of Fairfield County, with offices in Danbury, Wilton, Westport and Greenwich. Many clients still seem to prefer online mediation. More information can be found on my website www.divorcemediationct.com. I also provide free workshops for those contemplating divorce with my colleague, Hollis Hardiman, CDFA. We offer direction, education, and support on the divorce process, co-parenting best practices, communication, and finances in divorce so that individuals can make the best decisions for their families. That website is www.divorceresourcect.com. Lastly, I am on the advisory board for Strong Savvy Women, a support group for single and divorcing women (based in Ridgefield) and I encourage those seeking a supportive network to check it out.
My socials are:
LinkedIn: Rosemarie Ferrante