Monday, July 19, 2010

New York Divorce and Family Law:

I recently was astonished after reading a blog post, on, about how there are divorce attorneys for both men & women, making it seem that an attorney cannot be one and the same. The blogger wrote about how choosing a divorce attorney for man is different than a divorce attorney for women. It became clear as I read the blog that the writer either just needed something to post about that week, or really has no idea about choosing divorce attorneys as the blogger him or herself made no indication of how a divorce attorney for a man is any different than any divorce attorney for women, except by starting the blog post by stating: “Divorce lawyers for men are specialized in arguing divorce cases from the male point of view. The choice of a divorce lawyer for men is crucial and needs to be made carefully.”

In fact the blogger writes about how to choose a divorce lawyer specifically for a man by stating:

“you must hire a capable lawyer specializing in divorce settlement. There are divorce lawyers for men out there who have extensive courtroom experience and know what needs to be said and done, to get a divorce settled your way.

There are many ways of looking for divorce lawyers for men. You could start with yellow pages and look out for practicing divorce attorneys in your area. Another way to go about it is through recommendations. Talk to your acquaintances who have gone through with a divorce and ask for recommendations. The better and more experienced a lawyer is, the higher will be his fee. Good counsel comes at a high price. Shortlist a few names and meet the lawyers personally, before you decide.”

How are any of the above criteria different than a divorce lawyer for a women??? I believe this blog is incredibly sexist and does a disservice to those who truly take it for face value, believing that they should shop around for an attorney only because he/she represents all men, or claims to focus on the legal issues of men.

First and Foremost, it is my belief that there is no such thing as a male or female point of view when it comes to divorce. Yes, there is a male party and female party, the judge applying the law is male and female and from time to time you must convince a judge why a male is a better parent than a female; however, I do not believe any of these factors means that divorce attorney must argue a male or female point of view. I believe the only point of view acceptable in divorce court is the “client” point of view. I took an oath to zealously represent each and every client I represent, so the only point of view I argue in the court room is my client’s point of view, not some generic male or female point of view.

I cannot tell you how many times an opposing attorney has made the argument to a judge that the court may not and should not take a child away from the mother, solely because the parent is the mother. I also cannot tell you how many times I have argued my client’s point of view as the father, and have listed all of the characteristics that make my client, the father, the better custodial parent in the best interest of the child, and had the court agree with me. I did not argue these characteristics from a generic male view, but from what my client explained to me and told me, I fought for my client from my client’s point of view. If my client is the mother, I would fight from her point of view and list the characteristics making her the preferred custodian, as that is what attorneys do for both men and women.

It is admitted that the New York Family Court and Supreme Court treat men and women differently in Family Law and Divorce cases, and that some attorneys do focus only on women or men, by choice and because of their belief systems. However, after having representing plenty of men and women in divorce cases, and having fought hard and won custody for many men and women, I am 100% sure that the professional relationship between the client and the attorney is all that matters when choosing an attorney. What I mean is that, if the client has faith in the attorney, and If the attorney believes in the client’s case enough to accept representation of the client, and the attorney has the requisite experience, in court and in dealing with other attorneys, coupled with the knowledge of the law due to their specialization in divorce and family law, then that is all that matters when choosing a divorce attorney for a man or a women.

Until Next Time,

Helen M. Dukhan, Esq., LL.M. @

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