As a family law/divorce attorney, I must be sensitive to my client’s backgrounds (cultural, economic, religious to name a few) . I must be sensitive to the fact that people from different cultures or religions may have a different view of marriage and divorce. I must listen to what you as the client are saying and also try to put things into the context of where you are from. Some divorces are not only about money and children but also about face and honor.
It’s up to me as the attorney to explain to clients what to expect based upon the legal system but also understand that the expectations of someone from one religious or cultural background may be different from that of another racial, ethnic, or religious background. I need to explain to clients that the legal system cannot solve one’s family problems.
I need to be sure to discuss whether to use the typical holidays or one of significance to someone who may be Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, or from some other religion with different holidays.
You as the client should know that settlements are not be one-size-fits-all but should be based upon your particular needs and background. If you are worried about your child being removed from the United States and taken to another country where it will be impossible for the return of your child, then it is imperative to take protective measures. These issues should be explored carefully. If there is a religious aspect of a divorce such as an Islamic decree or a Jewish divorce or Get, these issues should be negotiated and put into writing so that there are no problems later on. Issues such as the religious upbringing of children and their schooling should be dealt with as well. If there is an issue of travel abroad with a child or children where there is family in another country, these issues should be covered. If there are issues involving a Green Card or citizenship or visas, it is important to find out the implications and deal with them. Sometimes it is important to have an opinion or intervention from an immigration attorney as well.
Divorce is difficult, painful, and confusing, to say the least. If the client and I step back and work together, we can make the experience a little less painful.