Keeping It Civil: The Case of the Pre-nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyer
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Provocative true cases that explore the intersection of our most intimate relationships and the law—and offer a window into how we define a family today.
A woman seeking a divorce has no idea of the family finances—her husband doled out money only after she gave him requisition slips for her intended purchases. A lesbian couple wants to include their sperm donor in their child’s life—the sperm donor is the brother of one partner, so he will be the biological father as well as the child’s uncle. These are the clients who come knocking on family lawyer Margaret Klaw’s door, hoping for resolution.
information is not for sharing. I doubt that most of us could say how much our closest friends earn, how much they have saved, or what balances, if any, they carry on their credit cards. And we wouldn’t presume to ask. In my job, though, I ask, and people tell me. In fact, they can hardly wait to tell me. Within ten minutes of meeting with a new client I usually know how much she and her husband earn, and by the end of the consultation I know what they spend and save, whether they pool their
pediatrician who specializes in evaluating children who’ve been abused, right?” “I took him to the doctor the CPS lady, Ms. Williams, told me to, yes. But Jimmy didn’t tell him anything.” “And that doctor thoroughly examined Jimmy, didn’t he?” “Yes, but Jimmy didn’t tell him anything.” “And the doctor could not say that this injury was caused intentionally, could he? “No.” “In fact, his records show there were no handprints or fingerprints, don’t they?” “I don’t know.” “So as far as he
witness. Court is in recess.” Divorce Equality The other day, a woman who wants a divorce called me. Which initially sounded fine, since that’s what I do. But upon further discussion, it turned out not to be fine. It turned out that I can’t get her divorced, and neither can anyone else. She’s stuck in a marriage that she and her spouse both want to end, with no feasible way out. Sound like the eighteenth century? Or Saudi Arabia, perhaps? To the contrary, this woman suffers from a
would feel about moving to Atlanta with their mother. The elephant in the courtroom was really the issue of the pregnancy and the new relationship. How could the judge ask Susan, who moved to Philadelphia solely to support the career of the man she was divorcing, to forgo the new life she wanted to make for herself with remarriage and children? On other hand, how could the judge ask Susan’s husband to forgo being part of his children’s school year—no coaching the baseball team; no school
even foolish, given the amount she anticipates earning. The commute into the city would make her workday very long. And, fundamentally, Cathy feels insecure about her legal skills. She is uncertain that anyone would hire her, given her lack of experience and long absence from the workplace. She and Rick discuss, he agrees, and they decide to postpone the decision until all three kids are in school full-time. You can see where this is going. Cathy’s decisions were all reasonable in the context of