Divorce law firms’ specialty: to serve man


Is this discrimination?


From this article: http://touch.sun-sentinel.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-78472583/

In a family court system that some say is tilted to favor women, attorney Kenny Leigh makes no apologies — he is in business to serve man.

Leigh, who has six offices with 13 lawyers from Boca Raton to Jacksonville, said he started gearing his practice to men about 10 years ago, when he realized that women often were given the benefit of the doubt, at men’s expense, when it came to divorce settlements, alimony and child custody arrangments.

“In family law, men are not treated fairly,” said Leigh, 43, who is based in Jacksonville (and is happily married with four children). He criticized the court system for reducing many fathers to being “a visitor and a paycheck.”

“Anyone who practices family law knows I’m right,” he asserted.

Leigh’s website and billboards are explicit about seeking an exclusively male clientele. And his firm is not alone.

While the specialty remains uncommon, a handful of firms throughout Florida have taken a similar approach. It’s a narrow market, lawyers say, but most major cities have at least one firm dedicated to men. There are also firms that focus on women, but their numbers are smaller, American Bar Association officials said.

Practitioners say they bring expertise to an arena they think favors women. Skeptics, however, worry that it fuels a gender war and undermines attempts to minimize conflict in cases loaded with emotional baggage.

Jeffrey Feulner’s legal practice, displayed on billboards throughout Central Florida, leaves little room for doubt: “Men’s Divorce Law Firm.” Feulner and his three colleagues — all women —occasionally will work for a woman, but the firm is built on the XY chromosome.

Feulner, 41, began focusing on men after going through a paternity dispute and, later, a divorce. He said he was treated fairly in court but discovered that other men thought the system was rigged.

Florida’s divorce and custody laws are gender-neutral, but Feulner, Leigh and others argue that women benefit from traditional beliefs that mothers should be primary caregivers, while fathers serve as breadwinners.

Neither the American Bar Association nor the Florida Bar has weighed in on the issue of male-oriented firms, but some lawyers are uncomfortable with the idea and reject the premise that men are routinely mistreated in family-law cases.

Nancy Dowd, a professor at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, worries that firms touting themselves as defenders of “men’s rights” may feed in clients the notion that they’re going into battle rather than seeking reasonable solutions. Ideally, she said, family-law attorneys and clients should try to defuse confrontation.

“I don’t think it’s particularly productive if a firm presents itself as ‘If you want to beat up on your ex, we’ll be there for you,'” said Dowd, director of the school’s Center on Children & Families.

Feulner and Leigh dispute the notion that men-focused firms make difficult situations even harder, saying the level of conflict is established by the time a client calls. But Leigh acknowledged that most men he works for are bracing for battle.

“They know it’s going to be bad,” he said, “and you don’t want to bring a knife to a gunfight.”

Some of the advice men’s-rights attorneys offer is common sense: Keep a diary to document your parental involvement, for example. But not all the counseling is that benign.

At DadsDivorce.com, a site affiliated with a leading fathers’-rights firm, a note warns men that their wives’ goal is “to bleed you dry and beat you into submission.

Read more HERE

1 comment for “Divorce law firms’ specialty: to serve man

  1. patriarcal landmine
    December 14, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    of course the entire article is slanted against this law firm and the very concept of men’s rights.

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