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Opinion & Analysis

How to Tackle the Challenges of Family Law

Family law requires a unique set of skills from due diligence to demonstrating compassion. How do you get the balance right so that you are able to help your clients achieve their goals?

There is no one right approach to this, as each client requires a different level of attention and communication. Personally, I am very direct and honest with my clients. I think transparency is very important to set and manage clients’ expectations.

I try to ensure clients understand their options and the reasons behind them. I will also suggest various resources to clients if I think it can be helpful for them to have that additional support. Ultimately, I want my clients to remain hopeful through the process and know that I will try my best to help them achieve their goals.

In the particularly sensitive area of child custody, how do you work with your clients to ensure that the welfare and wellbeing of the child is always the guiding consideration?

My role is to protect my client’s best interests. When addressing custody concerns, it is  important to understand what my client’s concerns and goals are for his or her child. We then work as best as possible within the confines of the law to achieve those goals. Part of this includes regular communication with clients to understand any developments or shifts that occur throughout the representation process.

What are the unique challenges that you face as an attorney when dealing with child custody cases?

Maintaining boundaries with clients. As an attorney, I am not even allowed to speak with my client’s child. Often, that child has their own court-appointed attorney, known as an Attorney for the Child. For some clients this can create a disconnect in the work we are doing to achieve their goals from the daily issues that may arise throughout their case. It is important to explain these issues to the client, break down legal terms into everyday jargon they understand and keep them apprised of developments which often affect real-time matters.

What challenges do fathers face that are unique in terms of custody battles and how do you help overcome these challenges?

Sometimes there is a perception that fathers are the secondary parent, which in a custody dispute can impact matters. For a father looking for even equal shared parenting time, they will often have to affirmatively show from the outset their active and daily involvement in their child’s life. Proof of this comes in many forms, including witnesses, photos, calendars or diaries and the like. This is where consulting an attorney early on is beneficial.

My role is to protect my client’s best interests. When addressing custody concerns, it is  important to understand what my client’s concerns and goals are for his or her child.

In divorce matters, which strategies do you employ to track down undisclosed assets?

Preliminarily, reviewing parties’ bank and credit card records can reveal a tremendous amount of undisclosed information. Further, if you believe a person banks at a certain institution, serving a subpoena on that institution will produce records that a party may have failed to produce.

Often, it is important to question a party in a deposition about charges that most people incur which may be missing from their bank or credit card charges. If you know an expense exists but cannot see any paper trail of how it is being paid, then you can infer you are missing information and documents.

How does the law treat debts that were accumulated during a marriage by only one of the partners? How difficult is it to prove this?

A debt accumulated during marriage is presumed marital, regardless of whose name the debt is in. If one spouse asserts that the debt was not incurred or used for marital purposes and therefore takes the position that they should not be responsible for that debt, they have the burden to prove that position. The ability to prove this often depends on the level of proof available, credibility of the parties, and other financial factors.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Being a matrimonial and family law attorney is extremely rewarding. Helping a client through what is likely one of the most difficult times in their life has a unique set of challenges. My goal is to try to help each client achieve the best possible outcome to allow them to move forward in life.

 

Andrea B Friedman

Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law

120 Bloomingdale Road, Suite 307, White Plains, NY 10605, USA

Tel: +1 914-686-8258

Fax: +1 914-873-0957

E: [email protected]

 

Andrea B Friedman is a named partner at Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law. With more than a decade of experience, Andrea has distinguished herself as a leader in the area of matrimonial and family law. She focuses her practice on preparation, insight into the law and advocacy for her clients, handling all areas of matrimonial and family law from inception to trial, plus appellate work. Her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in representing individuals in matrimonial and family law have earned her multiple achievements and recognitions for her professional accomplishments and dedication to her clients.


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