Family Law

Family Law News 2016, Issue 2, Volume 38, No. 2

The Death of Litigation May Provide for the Life of the Lawyer

Gary Direnfeld

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America and was the first social worker to sit on the Ontario Board for Collaborative Family Law.

To say that the practice of family law is stressful is a gross understatement. While civil litigators must deal with issues of finance and property, the relationship to one’s former partner and to one’s children is clearly of a higher order. While most people can live on with financial loss, the loss of family and times with one’s children is a formidable and lifelong burden. It is the family law lawyer who shoulders that burden on behalf of the client. The client comes to the family law lawyer to preserve relationships to kin, to one’s children.

In view of litigation, parents are pitted against each other, each seeking to prove the other the greater scoundrel while elevating themselves as the child’s savior and perhaps paragon of virtue. In the volley of attacks and counter attacks, it is the lawyer who becomes the repository of the client’s distress. "You’ve got to help me. We can’t lose."

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