Why do you represent women only?

Posted on May 6, 2019 by Katie Carter

So, if you’ve found your way here, you probably already know that we’re different from every single other family law firm in the Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s right – there’s no other law firm in the Commonwealth that represents women only in divorce and custody cases. There are, however, two other firms dedicated to representing men only in Virginia.

Why are there other firms that represent men only, and only one that represents women only?

The answer is probably economic. After all, historically, women were the lesser earners. That’s not always true today, but still sometime is. Even today, despite women attaining degrees in higher education at a higher rate than men, more and more women stay home or reduce their working hours in an effort to support their marriages and their families. Being solely responsible for bringing children into the world is tough, too, and often a woman’s career takes a beating.

Economically, it’s probably often easier to get paid if you represent the higher earning spouse – so, there are more firms dedicated to representing men only than women only, at least in Virginia.

But we’re here, and, if I may say so myself, we’re pretty awesome.

What sets you apart from other family law firms – besides the fact that you represent women only?

Well, you already know we represent women only. It’s a business decision, and one that we’re really proud of. Every so often, someone asks us, “Well, why?” It’s a reasonable question. In the 90s, when Charlie Hofheimer, who founded the firm, was looking around, he realized that women were seriously underrepresented in family law cases. At the time, the economic divide between men and women was even more pronounced than it is today, and he felt that women who were so disadvantaged often had trouble securing appropriate representation.

If you think about, for example, a case where spousal support is the main issue, you already know the husband is the higher wage earner – otherwise support wouldn’t be awarded. If he’s particularly pigheaded, he may force his wife to go through the litigated divorce process – which costs money – in order to have a judge award support, rather than just agreeing to pay it. Without money, and good legal representation, the wife is seriously, profoundly disadvantaged, and because it has so much to do with how the divorce resolves itself, it can be a disadvantage that impacts her for the rest of her life.

And don’t even get me started on custody cases.

But what REALLY sets us apart is not our focus on representing women – though that’s important to our core ethos. What’s really cool about us is our focus on empowerment for women. We want to be there to offer a helping hand to ANY woman facing a divorce or custody case. Obviously, all of our information is Virginia-centric (because none of us are licensed to practice in any other states), but we have spent hundreds (thousands?) of woman hours (yes, it’s true, we’re all women, too!) putting together comprehensive resources for women facing divorce and custody cases.

Be our client, or hire someone else. It’s all good to us. But let us be part of your journey. Let us help educate you about divorce and custody law in Virginia so that you can make the best decisions possible for you and your family. There’s a lot to know, and it’s constantly changing, so you’ll want to be sure you’re learning from an up to date, Virginia specific, trusted legal resource. Hello, here we are!

We’ve got free books and reports – all easily downloadable to your computer. For our books, if you live in our immediate area, we’ll also offer you a free hard copy that you can highlight and write in the margins on to your heart’s content.

We teach super low cost divorce and custody seminars too, so that you can learn in a small group setting, taught by one of our licensed and experienced women only divorce and custody attorneys. You can ask questions, too!

Not ready for a book, a free report, or a seminar? You can always join us at our Girl’s Night Out events, too. No divorce or custody case required. In fact, these are social events, designed to help connect you with other similarly situated women. They’re free, too! They’re normally happy-hour style, though we’ve also done comedy clubs, hayrides, shuffleboard, karaoke, private movie screenings, and more. Our attorneys come, but it’s not really a chance to ask your legal questions. Like I said, these are social events, designed to help you get out, think about something else, and really enjoy yourself.

And did you hear? We also have a scholarship for divorced or divorcing Virginia women. You don’t have to be a client to qualify, either. And no traditional students need apply; we’re not looking for 18 year old girls straight out of college. (Though we certainly hope that they can get all the funding they need, too; its tough out there.) We’re looking for divorced or divorcing Virginia women who are trying to return to school to make life better for themselves and their families. Whether it’s a two or four year degree, a graduate program, a technical certificate, or any other type of education-based program that will increase your ability to provide for yourself and your family, it qualifies. For more information and to apply before our May 15, 2019 deadline, visit our website.

You mean, you don’t represent any men, ever?

No, we don’t represent any men, ever. It can be kind of a tricky situation, especially when a man (usually a dad) is paying the bills. Our clients are only ever women. No men.

If you’ve read our Google reviews, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve caught some heat from men, just for doing business our way. It’s not fair, but, hey, it is what it is. And, I won’t get political with you, but… well, you know the patriarchy. They resist, loudly.

We won’t review papers for a man. We won’t give a recommendation to a man. (Why should we? Every other family law firm in Virginia will represent him.) We don’t take male clients in non family law cases, either, because we don’t do any other type of case than family law cases.

We’ve found that it’s important that we practice in just one area; after all, knowing the ins and outs of just ONE area of law is pretty difficult! The legislature updates the Virginia Code with new provisions every year on July 1, so to say that there’s a constant state of change is a serious understatement. This year, with changes to the tax code and spousal support laws as well, well, let’s just say we’re all on our toes already!

Lots of other lawyers choose to practice in a number of different areas, but we’ve found we offer a better service this way. Family law is our thing, and that’s all we do. To be even more specific, family law for WOMEN is what we do. It doesn’t have to be your thing, but it’s ours.

Don’t you know you’re eliminating half the market? You’d get more business if you just represented men, too.

Hey, whose side are you on, anyway?

Yes, obviously, we know that we’ve eliminated half the market. Believe it or not, in the last thirty years (yes, that’s how long we’ve been around!), we’ve recognized that fact.

Business is good, though. I won’t bore you with details except to say that the response we’ve received – and continue to receive — from Virginia women is enough to suggest to us that we’re on the right track. There’s a need for us in the marketplace. There are so many women out there who feel like they need specific representation to combat the tactics that their soon-to-be ex husbands are attempting, and who better than someone like us who has experience dealing with these people?

Besides, representing both sides can be inconsistent. How do you argue FOR spousal support in one case, and AGAINST it in another, when the only thing that has changed is who is paying your fee?

The long and the short of it is that what we’re doing resonates with people. We know it does, because we hear it, every day. And, obviously, since we’ve been around for thirty years at this point, it’s probably safe to say that not representing men is working pretty well for us. So, please, don’t worry about us – we don’t need to represent men.

If you’re not into it, that’s fine. There are tons of other law firms out there. But we’re really proud of what we do, and we think its really important.

For more information, to set up an appointment, for help finding the right resources for you in your case, give our office a call at 757-425-5200.