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Family Advocate, the quarterly news-and-feature membership magazine of the Section of Family Law, addresses current family law topics and provides useful how-to articles in every issue. For more than 20 years, mental health professionals, judges, family lawyers, and their clients have turned to Family Advocate for practical information and advice on handling increasingly complex cases.

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Featured Issue:
Volume 41, No. 1 (Summer 2018)
Hot Tips for Clients

Table of Contents


How Do You Know You Are Ready for Divorce?
By Karen M. Platt

This article raises some of the issues that you might want to consider in determining if the time is right for you to file for divorce—assuming that you have the ability to make that decision for yourself. Sometimes, your spouse files first (in which case, the items below will give you some things to consider to best prepare yourself for what is ahead), and other times, particularly where you or a child are enduring abuse, you don’t have the ability to wait it out until the “right” time.

Protecting Your Children Before, During, and After Your Divorce
By Joan H. McWilliams

When you are struggling with the financial, psychological, and legal issues associated with a divorce, it’s difficult to remember that your children need more attention than ever before. The good news is that your children can successfully survive your divorce if you follow some basic commonsense guidelines. The following will help you provide for their needs at all stages of the process even as you face your own challenges.

Five Classic Pop Songs that Contain Advice for Getting Separated
By Brian C. Vertz

When you are adjusting to a change in your life, your favorite music can provide comfort, inspiration, and maybe little nuggets of wisdom. These classic pop songs are not worthy substitutes for the advice of a good friend or your family lawyer. Still, they may contain some helpful thoughts to consider when you’re planning for marital separation.

Communicating with Your Lawyer: What to Expect and How to Avoid the Pitfalls
By Kristina L. Hohne

Whether you are a seasoned veteran of legal procedures or have never communicated with an attorney, each family law case is unique and presents concerns different from those of a typical civil matter. Here are a few tips on what to share with your lawyer, what to keep to yourself, and how to avoid pitfalls along the way.

On Being an Active Participant in Your Divorce: Tips from Thirty Years' Experience as a Divorce Attorney
By Stacy D. Phillips

Whether you are contemplating separation or in the midst of separating, in the early stages or in the thick of divorce proceedings, you are navigating a major life transition. After more than thirty years working with clients in the family law trenches, I can say with certainty that divorce is all about control. And a key component to getting and keeping control during this stressful time is being an active participant with your attorney.

How Not to Sabotage Your Case
By Brian M. Karpf & Maxwell J. Dauerman

There are so many ways a party can become exposed to liability or eventually create a litany of damning evidence in the legal process known as “discovery”—the process by which the opposing side can, by law, require you to turn over all sorts of documents, photos, social media output, and other information about yourself. This article, therefore, aims to help you understand how best to keep you, both before and after you are involved in a divorce, from sabotaging your case.

A Client's Guide to Courtroom Behavior
By Thad F. Woody

As societal norms have shifted over time, courtroom behavior and etiquette have also changed. Much of the counsel we as practicing attorneys provide to clients is rooted in the law, but we also advise clients on what may or may not be appropriate behavior in court, as your behavior may significantly influence the outcome of your case. As a general rule, each court is different, and some judges may be more relaxed than others and some are more formal. This article, however, is designed to be a resource for every client in every courtroom in the country on the norms of respect and decorum that should be observed.

After Your Divorce Is Final: Tying Up Loose Ends
By Madilyn Keating Ellsworth

While your divorce may be over, your obligations under the terms of your divorce may be just beginning. It is imperative that you have a clear and complete understanding of the judgment and agreement. Once your divorce is finalized, you should review it carefully, perhaps with your attorney, to make sure you understand any actions required of you, your spouse, or your attorney, as well as the deadlines for doing so. It is important to remember that even if your divorce was amicable and reached by agreement, your divorce judgment constitutes a court order, which is enforceable and consequential. This article aims to highlight important aspects of your judgment and provide helpful tips on tying up loose ends after your divorce is final.

How Will My ART Lawyer Help Me with My Surrogacy Journey?
By Lila Newberry Bradley & Dean Hutchison

Building and growing your family through gestational surrogacy can be overwhelming, but the professionals involved can help you at every step of the journey. Gestational surrogacy in the United States, while complex, can be surprisingly simple if done right. Your ART (assisted reproduction technology) lawyer is a key member of a team that includes your reproductive endocrinologist, surrogacy and egg donation agency professionals, psychologist, insurance agent, immigration lawyer, estate planning lawyer, and obstetrician. Your lawyer may be the one professional who is present with you at every step along the way, so it is important for you to choose the right lawyer and work closely with him or her. Your lawyer can help you choose the other members of your team.



From the Chair: Our Year of Kindness, Creativity, Hardwork, and Progress
By Roberta S. Batley


From the Editor in Chief By Kathleen A. Hogan


Section Highlights By Cindy Swan


Publication Date: June 2018.  Buy Issue.