Monday, August 20, 2012
Lawyers Carve Out 'Divorce for Men' Niche: They Target Husbands Who Fear Being Underdog in Battles Over Child Custody, Property, Money
Amicable or at least negotiated settlements in divorce are obviously the best option but the system is so biased against men (as seen, for instance, in the Violence Against Women Act) that one can understand the emergence of the kind of service that is described below
Divorce lawyers seeking an edge in a crowded legal marketplace have found a niche they say pays off in good times and bad: appealing to men who fear getting a bad deal.
With sports magazines in the waiting room and radio and TV spots that promise to put men first, "divorce for men" law firms position themselves as the best defense a soon-to-be-ex-husband could have in the struggle to keep his kids, his house and his money.
They say their expertise lends firepower in situations where other lawyers might cave, and they coach men on how to avoid certain snares. For instance, if you want to stay in your house, steer clear of confrontations—especially in front of witnesses—that could provide fodder for a restraining order.
"We have experience swimming upstream," said Bill Goldberg, co-founder of Goldberg Jones, a Seattle-based men's divorce firm with offices in Portland and San Diego. "We don't pretend that we are going to pull miracles for men. But we are very, very familiar with the biases and challenges."
Such firms charge about the same hourly rates as other family-law practices—generally in the range of $200 to $350 an hour, plus a retainer.
'From the first time I heard their ad—that they cater to men and put them first—that's how I felt through the whole process,' says Taylor Myers of his divorce lawyers.
Getting divorced isn't cheap. An amicable separation that doesn't end up in court could run in the low thousands of dollars, while custody disputes or battles over property can cost many more thousands, or even millions, by the time a divorce is final.
The "divorce for men" pitch has proved a durable one. Some lawyers have been working this angle for decades, since men's rights groups began pushing back in the 1970s and 1980s against divorce and custody laws that they said favored women at the expense of their former spouses.
Now it's easier than ever before to find such lawyers as firms expand their online profiles with Web sites and blogs laden with keywords designed to boost them to the top of Internet search results.
When Mark Faulkner of Round Rock, Texas, was looking for a divorce lawyer last year, his sister emailed him a link to the website of Cordell & Cordell, which says it is ne of the country's largest family-law firms specializing in male clients.
The firm maintains three separate sites: one promoting the law firm, one for divorced dads, and a third focused on men's rights that features headlines such as "Child Support When Paternity Is in Doubt" and "Are There Laws to Protect a Man From an Ex-Wife's False Report?"
They struck a chord, said Mr. Faulkner, who runs a repair shop that fixes parts for high-end private airplanes. "Even the marriage counselor said, 'Make sure you get a good attorney because the system is prejudiced'" against men.
Not everyone is convinced of the need for such specialists. Some family-law practitioners say the outcome of a divorce depends largely on state law, what judge you get, and whether you have competent representation.
"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 Missouri law," said Ann Bauer, a St. Louis family-law practitioner and past chair of the Missouri Bar's family-law section. "Pretty much we're going to divide the property down the middle."
To be sure, some men do get the short end of the stick in divorce proceedings. But attitudes—and divorce statutes—have shifted in recent decades.
"In this day and age, fathers have lots of rights," said Ken Altshuler, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. "We have shared custody, and the law in most states is really gender neutral."
Some states are moving to cap spousal support so that recipients, who are often but not always women, no longer get lifetime alimony. Mothers are increasingly paying child support, according to a recent survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. And as women's earnings equal or, in some cases, outpace those of their partners, some ex-wives even end up paying alimony.
"I always see judges wincing when they order women to pay alimony," said Mr. Altshuler. "But it's a trend.... Now we have so many families where both parents are working, the whole 'man takes care of the woman' syndrome has diminished."
Despite those changes, some lawyers who specialize in representing men say their clients still encounter discrimination from judges who are reluctant to view men as equally capable parents or deserving of spousal support. Joseph Cordell, the co-founder of Cordell & Cordell, said women may also resort to a tactic few men employ: accusations of domestic violence. "It could be as little as a shove or a raised voice," said Mr. Cordell. "The cascade of events triggered by that affect property distribution, custody, attorney fees."
Other firms focus on educating clients on the rights they already have but may not be exercising.
"Men don't know what they need to know," said Santa Monica divorce lawyer David Pisarra, who said his firm, Men's Family Law, "is about empowering men, not bashing women." He and his partner focus on making sure their male clients don't unwittingly sabotage their own goals—for instance, by moving 35 miles from their children's school, then seeking joint custody.
Mr. Goldberg started his firm in the mid-1990s after his father, who worked in advertising, devised a campaign for a Detroit men's divorce firm known as ADAM, or American Divorce Association for Men. "He had always thought that as a business-opportunity concept, this is something that would work well on the West Coast, in Seattle," Mr. Goldberg said.
The angle has also been fruitful for Mr. Pisarra's firm. "In the giant ocean of data on the Internet, you've got to become as niche-focused as possible," he said.
Marketing seems to be key. When Cordell & Cordell decided to focus on a male clientele in 1996, the firm invested heavily in its websites—a bet that Mr. Cordell said paid off a few years later and helped fuel the firm's expansion to more than 60 offices across 24 states. The firm also runs radio spots and tasteful, high-end TV ads.
The pitch certainly resonated with Taylor Myers, an electrical technician who lives in Memphis, Tenn. When Mr. Myers's wife served him with divorce papers last year, he opted for a Cordell & Cordell attorney after hearing one of the firm's radio spots.
"From the first time I heard their ad—that they cater to men and put them first—that's how I felt through the whole process," said Mr. Myers, 36 years old. "I don't think it's a ploy. He's hit on something right."
Racist symphony orchestra director judges choristers by the color of their skin
He is a Leftist Jew so one does rather wonder what it takes to get Jews to abhor race-consciousness
Two high school choruses will not be performing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) this year because they’re not “racially-diverse enough,” Fox News reports.
Apparently, it’s more important that you look like you just came from the set of Glee than it is to, you know, have actual talent.
“This year, the schools were informed by symphony officials that their choruses are not diverse enough, and that the symphony would be inviting a third, more diverse chorus [emphasis added],” said Cobb County Schools spokesman Jay Dillon.
Unsurprisingly, some Marietta, Ga., residents believe the symphony’s decision to turn away both Walton and Lassiter High School is discriminatory.
“I think it’s sad,” one resident, Shar Nicholson, told WSBTV.com. “I think if they have the talent and the desire they should be given the opportunity.”
Atlantic Symphony Orchestra President Stanley Romanstein argues that it’s one of the goals of the organization to “reflect the diversity of Atlanta,” adding that he is surprised by the reaction to the decision. “It’s an interesting misunderstanding,” he said.
According to Romanstein, he informed chorus directors at both Walton and Lassiter of the symphony’s decision two years ago, adding that, at the the time, they were very “understanding.”
Still, the fact that the symphony based its decision on physical appearance rather than merit has rubbed more than a few people the wrong way.
“It’s not necessarily fair to the students at all,” Cobb County resident Vashon Ramsey told WSBTV.com. “They should be allowed to perform regardless.”
But Romanstein stands by the ASO’s decision. “There are at least 12 very talented high school choirs in Atlanta,” Romanstein said. “We gave Lassiter and Walton choirs an opportunity to perform for four consecutive years, and they were marvelous. We think it’s time to give other Atlanta high school choirs, who are very skilled and deserving, their chance to perform with the ASO as well.”
Both high schools were offered a chance to bring a select group of their choruses to perform with the symphony but both turned down the offer.
“Because the full choruses would not be able to perform with the symphony, both Lassiter and Walton have declined to participate this year,” said Dillon.
British Tories facing loss of support from millions of churchgoers over gay marriage
The Conservative party risk the support of millions of churchgoers by supporting same-sex marriages, a poll suggests.
David Cameron’s plans to legalise gay marriages does not sit well with six out of ten regular churchgoers who said they are less likely to vote Conservative in the next election as a result of the Prime Minister’s stance on the matter.
As religious groups estimate that 7.6 million people attend church once a month this could mean a loss of millions of votes.
A poll by ComRes found that 58 per cent of regular service attendees were less likely to vote Conservative after plans of the new policy were made public.
A mere two per cent of those who went to church once a month or more said the introduction of same-sex marriage made it more likely that they would vote Tory with ten per cent saying they would stand by the party regardless.
The Conservatives were not the only political party at loss. Nearly half of those polled said they were deterred from voting Lib Dem and 27 per cent would not vote Labour due to their policies on same-sex marriage.
Last week the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg spoke out in support of religious organisations and churches being allowed to conduct same-sex marriage if they wish to do so.
Research by The Independent showed that a majority of Britons want the government to go ahead with their plans to legalise gay marriage even if research concludes that the general consensus is negative.
A survey asked if gay marriage should be legalised in England and Wales following the Scottish announcement to do so even if most people responding to the UK government’s consultation are opposed to it and 54 per cent agreed.
Only 37 per cent were opposed to the proposition whilst nine per cent said they did not know.
Although a majority of Liberal Democrat and Labour voters support a legalisation of same-sex marriage only 49 per cent of Conservative voters do so.
A legalisation is fiercely opposed by the Church of England and more than 50 Conservative MPs have pledged to vote against the proposal. The Home Office has received more than 100,000 responses, a majority of which oppose the idea.
This is a revelation which comes just over a month after the Scottish Government said they will go ahead with plans of a legalisation even though a public consultation had negative results.
The antisemitism of the British elite shows its face once again
Great Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, has resigned as a supporter of an interfaith charity after it circulated an anti-Israel campaign.
Sacks said he was unable to continue working with the Wyndham Place Charlemagne Trust after it sent supporters details of an initiative organized by the Quaker Council for European Affairs that attacks European Union trade links with Israel, according to the London Jewish Chronicle.
The WPCT’s newsletter encouraged the signing of a petition set up by the European Coordination of Associations and Committees for Palestine, a non-profit group that works with Palestinian NGOs.
In last Thursday’s message to supporters, WPCT included the suggested wording of a letter for campaigners to send to MEPs.
The thrust of the “action alert” concerns the EU’s proposed adoption of an agreement with Israel on pharmaceutical products.
The Palestinian pharmaceutical industry, the alert reportedly said, is “a prisoner of the Israeli system” and Palestinian West Bank companies suffer from Israeli occupation.
The Jewish Chronicle quoted an unnamed spokesman for Sacks as saying, “When the Chief Rabbi became patron of the Trust, its objectives were a commitment to world peace, and its aim to bring together people of diverse backgrounds in order to find common ground. Sadly in this instance, the Trust has failed to fulfill these objectives, and it is with regret that the Chief Rabbi can no longer remain a patron.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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