The War Between Women and Men
Published to: access to justice, battle of the sexes, collaborative divorce, contempt, Custody, Divorce, Family Court, Harrison County, Mediation, men, modification, Perspectives of a Small Town Lawyer, women
on October 11, 2018 9:00 pm
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I am looking at two “how to” books written by nationally known divorce lawyers, “Hit Him Where It Hurt$” by Sherri Donovan of New York City, and “The 10 Stupidest Mistakes Men Make When Facing Divorce” by Joseph Cordell, Esq, St. Louis, Mo.
Ms. Donovan uses the boxing metaphor to define the divorce process. Chapter by chapter she leads her, presumably angry, women clients towards a “knockout”. She describes herself as affiliated with the “Service Fund of the National Organization for Women, NYC”.
Mr. Cordell starts with gracious “ACKNOWLEDGMENTS” and works his way, in 222 pages, through 10 informative and instructional chapters.
So what is the problem?
1. Mr. Cordell describes himself as “Founder of America’s Foremost Divorce Firm for Men”.
2. That means to me that Mr. Cordell has likely spent years looking at the divorce process, and related matters such as contempt, modification, enforcement, and custody, solely from the man’s perspective.
3. Sherry, in advocating to her clients that they inflict (metaphorically I hope) painful blows on the father of their child and or the man they planned to “love and honor” for a lifetime, stirs up rather than damps down hostility.
4. I have been solemnly told by clients of each gender that they have heard that I am “always for the woman” or “always for the man”. That is true as I am “always for my own client” unless the client is forgetting what is best for her or his child; no client has ever disagreed with me that my ultimate loyalty should be to their child, although sometimes we disagree on what that is.
I believe that any attorney who declares for one side or the other in advance diminishes his credibility with the court, and her ability to understand fully the other side’s worries, concerns, and goals, and that she/he signals to an opponent a plan to “fight” and defeat instead of “resolve”.
Fortunately, 42 years in WV “fighting the good fight” means that most of my lawyer opponents know that taking me on in a “fight” is usually not a good idea. What I want them also to know is I am a “good adversary”. I have written about that: https://hunterlawfirm.net/how-an-attorney-can-be-a-good-adversary/
As for the “top ten mistakes”, I remind husbands and wives that being the best spouse you can may help avoid a divorce. Eight years ago, I wrote my views on that subject: https://hunterlawfirm.net/being-a-good-husband/
Most recently, I have written on “The Conundrum” of finding the right tools to provide access to justice for low and middle income litigants and various alternatives to the traditional “contested trial” in achieving a satisfactory resolution of a family law matter: https://hunterlawfirm.net/a-conundrum-for-family-courts-what-tool-for-what-problems-1/ and https://hunterlawfirm.net/a-conundrum-for-family-courts-what-tool-for-what-problems-2/
I am next going to write a “top ten” of what I want my clients to do and to avoid in their family law case. The message of this short post is there are better to achieve a fair result for most litigants. They involve “win – win” instead of “win – lose” and equality and respect for women and men in that process, with children’s best interest as our highest priority! Let me know what you think.
This post was written by Burton Hunter