By Lisa Chamoff
Chinitz, who has lived in Greenwich for nearly two decades, is a New York City divorce lawyer who is part of the team representing the “Top Gun” star in his very public split from actress Katie Holmes.
The attorneys announced Monday that the couple had reached a settlement, less than two weeks after Holmes had filed for divorce in Manhattan, where she and daughter Suri are living.
“I think that’s a credit to the parties, and it’s a credit to the attorneys who represent both parties, that it was their desire to resolve things expeditiously because that was in the best interest of their daughter, and that was in the best interest of moving on with their lives,” Chinitz, 56, said in an interview this week with Greenwich Time.
Don’t expect Chinitz to dish about the breakup of “TomKat” — she’s been asked to reveal details in the confidential case by many persistent reporters.
“It’s very easy because I decline to comment,” Chinitz said. “That’s the best way for me to address inquiries and aggressive reporting.”
Cruise also had a few other legal eagles on his side, including Bert Fields, a veteran entertainment lawyer from Los Angeles, and Dennis Wasser, who represented the actor when he divorced his first two wives, Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman.
“Marilyn was a great asset to the team,” Fields said in an email. “She’s an outstanding lawyer.”
Chinitz said all the counselors worked together, and that it was a “team effort” to negotiate the quick settlement.
“This got done in a week, and divorce cases can take sometimes a year or two years,” Chinitz said. “There was a real commitment among the attorneys and the clients to not engage in litigation and really work together to get it resolved.”
While her cases haven’t all been glitz and glamour, Chinitz has worked with other famous clients. In 2010, Chinitz represented actor Michael Douglas when his ex-wife, Diandra Douglas, filed a lawsuit claiming she was entitled to royalties from his film “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” The original “Wall Street” came out in 1987, before the couple divorced in 2000. The case was eventually dismissed.
Chinitz said she has landed celebrity clients who have been referred to her by their California counsel, but aside from the relentless media coverage, they are no different from the regular folks she represents.
“The uniqueness is only because of the attention that it gets,” Chinitz said. “The substance of the case is like every other matrimonial case. There are issues involving children, there are issues regarding the dissolution of marital property. The issues that present to movie stars present to ordinary people.”
One would think that helping hundreds of couples separate would lead Chinitz to be a little jaded about marriage.
Quite the contrary. Chinitz and her husband, Piero Pozzi, celebrated her 26th wedding anniversary on Friday.
The couple, who met at a dinner party in the glitzy Hamptons, have two children, a daughter who is going into her last year at George Washington University and a son going into 11th grade at King school in Stamford.
“I think what you realize is life is short, your family is the most important — at least in my family that’s the case — and we do what’s necessary to keep everybody strong and happy and healthy,” Chinitz said.
Pozzi, who works as a consultant to private equity firms, said his wife can’t share the details of her high-profile cases — and he doesn’t want to know about them, anyway.
“It’s her job, and I basically leave that between her and her client,” Pozzi said.
To her credit, Chinitz said she has had a hand in saving some marriages.
“I will know that somebody doesn’t really want a divorce and I send them to an excellent therapist,” she said. “I think it is very important to have people identify what they really feel and steer them in right direction.”
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