Family Law

Family Law News 2014, Issue 4, Volume 36, No. 4

Message from the Chair:

Raymond Goldstein

Their eyes met across a crowded restaurant; they immediately knew it was love at first sight: courtship, followed by the excitement of planning a life together; the joyous wedding celebration shared with friends, family, and loved ones; the miraculous sounds of a new life introduced; laughter, birthdays, graduations, holidays; the joys of life—so many wonderful experiences, so much excitement, and anticipation for visions that lie ahead. Rarely, though, do those visions ever include us, family law attorneys. As Dr. Joyce Brothers once said of her own marriage, "My husband and I have never considered divorce… murder sometimes, but never divorce." Nonetheless, with divorce rates in California said to be approaching as much as 60-75%, not to mention paternity, domestic violence, and other related family law issues, our profession, at least at the present time, is undoubtedly a necessary reality.

With our busy day-to-day practice, or in the throes of a contentious case often pitted with understandably emotionally charged clients with unreasonable expectations, and as we work through an underfunded judicial branch, in some instances with the frustration compounded by an inexperienced or undertrained family law judicial officer, it is easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. But the fact is, that forest, in all that it offers, is quite beautiful indeed.

It occurs to me that this forest begins with the true privilege it is to practice law. And in family law, it’s so much more. We are invited (ok, sometimes thrust) into the most personal aspects of individuals’ and families’ lives. We are intimately involved with emotions, child rearing, finances, family dynamics, marital indiscretions—we receive confidences sometimes withheld from therapists, clergy or even the IRS. We are trusted. We are relied upon. We are sometimes perceived as the last hope. Through this attorney-client relationship and our knowledge of the law, we are presented the tremendous opportunity of navigating individuals through an often overwhelming family law process. Hopefully, we navigate a course that will leave our clients prepared to move forward with their rights intact within a legal framework conducive to planning their future. Sometimes, there may even be forgiveness, closure, and emotional healing.

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