Recent news was that Angelina Jolie has added two “powerhouse litigators” to her legal team in the case of her divorce from Brad Pitt. These two joined well-known “divorce attorney to the stars,” Laura Wasser, who was the first attorney to appear on behalf of Angelina Jolie. Ms Wasser, who has represented many of the rich and famous in and around Los Angeles, is well-known for working out divorce settlements quickly, privately, and sometimes even before the divorce papers are filed and the public is aware of a high-profile celebrity split. It is not yet clear what roles any of the attorneys may play, however, it would be reasonable to see yesterday’s news as Ms Jolie’s putting Brad Pitt on notice that she is gearing-up for a fight.
Without knowing whether or not the couple has a pre-nuptial agreement in place, it may be that the fight Ms Jolie is anticipating is over custody of the couple’s six children because, no matter what they may have otherwise agreed in advance, custody matters cannot be pre-determined or settled by pre-nuptial agreements. Additionally, in papers filed so far, Ms Jolie has asked for shared legal custody of the children, but also that she be awarded sole physical custody.
The “takeaway” for those of us who are not among the glitterati of Los Angeles is that settling the full range of issues that arise in family law cases may call for a team that can coordinate efforts to achieve the client’s goals. At some points in the action, there may be team members in different places playing out different scenes but, to paraphrase something Ms Wasser said about representing actors, as long as they (the clients) know that there is a script and a director that will get them through the production, they are generally pretty good at taking direction. That may be an effective message to all attorneys and clients in divorce and custody proceedings anywhere.
It is important that the attorney and the client together come to a shared understanding of the story behind the action and their respective roles and parts in the production, including what dramatic moments must be played out, as compared to what dramatic scenes can be avoided. Even the best actors will mis-play a scene, or their entire role, if they do not have good direction, reasonable expectations, and a clear understanding of where the production is going.
To schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law at (610) 892-3877