As reported this week in the Wall Street Journal, some family lawyers are finding it both personally gratifying and professionally profitable to target a group of clients who are afraid of getting a raw divorce deal: men.
Equipping their practices with sports magazines and other “man cave” staples, these men-focused family law firms believe that, whereas men have historically enjoyed an unfair advantage in the business world (among other places), they’re battling the odds when it comes to the world of divorce.
“We have experience swimming upstream,” commented Bill Goldberg, co-founder of Seattle-based men’s divorce firm Goldberg Jones. “We don’t pretend that we are going to pull miracles for men. But we are very, very familiar with the biases and challenges.”
Of course, men’s focused divorce firms aren’t new, and many have been around for decades. However, with the cost of divorce typically reaching well into the thousands (with 5-figure legal bills hardly being out-of-the-ordinary for some more complex or contentious battles), and the belief held by some that that men are, by default, at a disadvantage on everything from alimony to child custody decisions due to their anatomy rather than the details of their case, more of these kinds of firms are popping up every year.
At the same time, many legal experts point out that laws governing aspects such as property division have nothing to do with gender, and so a lawyer who focuses on men’s issues isn’t necessarily an advantage.
“Look at the marketing for men saying, ‘We’re going to help you keep the dollars you’ve earned.’ Wait a minute—you can’t change
Still, proponents and practitioners of men-focused family law firms argue that educating men, so that they can understand the process and be prepared for what the law will, won’t, or might do, is critically important – and furthermore, it has nothing to do with putting women down.
“Men don’t know what they need to know,” commented
Ultimately, the true questions for family law firms that cater to men is whether they help make divorce more civilized, respectful, affordable – and less traumatic for everyone involved; not just men, but for women, children and extended family.
According to experts that both the Wall Street Journal has talked to, and Divorce Magazine’s own advertisers, the answers so far are a clear, resounding: yes.