Ungendered clothing often looks like the comfy stuff you put on after taking off the business-day uncomfy stuff. Sweatpants, roomy tee shirts; nothing fancy, and good for a guy or a gal. Are attorneys really cut from the same cloth? Does the gender of your attorney matter in your Virginia divorce? Does focusing on gender matter? For any firm that caters to one gender over another, this could be a loaded question, but we are ready for your skepticism. What should you expect when your wife goes straight to a lawyer focusing on divorce for women?
Specialization Isn’t New to Business
Like it or not, the law is an industry like all others. It has a supply (lawyers) and demand (aggrieved parties in need of civil and criminal legal help). As recently as November, 2016 Law360 was reporting a surfeit of lawyers and not enough work to keep them all busy. What do workers do when their skills are becoming less valuable? They “specialize”. Law firms, some two decades back or so, began catering to women in divorce.
Justifying this niche market, law firms claimed that the law itself was biased against women. To be completely, honestly accurate, the claim was that the law was biased against middle-income and high-income divorcing women, who needed (and could afford) the services of really aggressive lawyers.
Focusing on lucrative clientele has done wonders for Beverly Hills hair salons, Paris fashion houses, and Italian footwear makers. So if it works for the wealthy as they shop, surely it works for them as they divorce, too, right?
Yes and no. If evidence exists that women have been routinely underserved, misrepresented, or badly represented in divorces simply because of their gender, we have not seen it. Your wife, seeking an attorney who only represents women may be throwing her money away (or yours, if you get stuck with her legal bill).
Okay … So Maybe a Bit of Brainwashing, Too
While wasting money on someone focusing on women’s divorce could be one outcome for your wife, she could also be led down a very odd avenue of righteous (wrongteous?) indignation, with a divorce lawyer making all sorts of bizarre accusations against you to see if something sticks.
Lawyers concentrating on women’s divorce will promise several distinctions setting them apart from other attorneys:
- They listen
- They understand emotions
- They are naturally protective of children
- They know how despicable men can be
They may also say some other odd things about their approachability, and ability to argue ticks off a bloodhound.
For your emotionally distraught wife, a lawyer focusing on women’s divorce must seem like an answered prayer. Finally, she thinks, someone understands me! I will do everything my attorney says, and agree with everything my attorney argues.
But are Divorcing Women Being Hoodwinked?
Part of the attorney-client relationship is trust. Your wife must trust her lawyer, just as you must trust yours. But your wife can be misled by false promises that, somehow, the expert on her side can turn her adultery into her victimhood.
Lawyers cannot mislead their clients, but then again they do not have to puncture their delusions, either. If your wife thinks she has hired Santanico Pandemonium to rip your heart out in court, her attorney may let her think that if it does no real legal harm. When meek Muriel Heslop shows up and has neither fangs nor feminine ferocity, that is to your advantage.
Your wife may hire a divorce lawyer catering to women, but the law really does not cater to anyone. Code of Virginia is the same for a man named Ashley; a woman named Cameron; a transgender person named Drew; or Hunter, inscrutable purchaser of unisex clothes. The laws are written to apply to both parties in civil cases.
Lawyers, too, take an oath of fidelity to the Commonwealth of Virginia under Code of Virginia § 54.1-3903 to work to the best of their abilities for all clients, not just their male clients or just their female clients.
Despite neutral laws, Virginia law has often been dispensed to tilt toward traditional roles: women get child custody; men get to pay for everything.
What a Lawyer for Women Will Do
If your divorce has even a hint of the merest shadow of a rumor of domestic violence perpetrated by you, expect that to take front and center in any strategy by your wife’s women-only divorce lawyer. This is the ultimate victim stance, and is the best strategy for her to use to get child custody, spousal support, child support and a big chunk of a property settlement agreement.
Your wife’s attorney will also be more aggressive than you may expect regarding things that may embarrass, shame or impugn you. Your drinking habits, types of social interactions, clashes with your kids — it is all fodder intended to heighten her client’s position as a victim in the marriage, at your expense.
What a Lawyer for Men Will Do
Your men’s divorce lawyer will seek to find weaknesses in your wife’s arguments. For every bit of evidence your wife’s lawyer provides that you spent money on a whole case of beer in the summer (!), your lawyer will present your charitable donations to scouting programs in the best possible light. For any witness attempting to suggest you got a wee bit upset when your wife drove the Hummer into your restored 1982 Suzuki RGB500 MK7, your lawyer will find a witness willing to cry on the stand at the loss of a $30,000 motorcycle.
Call us at The Firm for Men, 757-383-9184, to let us help you develop a winning strategy to counter your wife’s infatuation with a divorce lawyer for women. We know Virginia family law, and we know what works for all Virginians.