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Why I Practice Family Law

Elizabeth S. Pagel, PLLC July 4, 2016

There are many practicing attorneys—good, competent, ethical attorneys—who want nothing to do with family law. They say they don’t want to deal with the drama, the emotions. And I can’t argue with them—family law does involve some very emotional issues. There is a saying that, when it comes to family law, we are dealing with good people when they are behaving their worst.

I love the practice of family law. When I made the decision to go to law school, it was for the express purpose of practicing family law.

I went to law school as a non-traditional student. Prior to applying for law school I spent 20 years as a full-time mom, raising my three sons. My youngest son graduated from high school the same month I graduated from law school, and we had our pictures taken together in our caps and gowns. My years with my kids were the most important of my life, and nothing I may accomplish can hold a candle to it.

I am passionate about families. Families are the most important unit in our society today. So you may well ask, “If families are so important, why are you in the business of splitting them up?”

The sad truth is, some marriages fail. Some non-marital relationships fail. There are hundreds of reasons for these failures, and the fault is almost never completely on one side or the other. But just because the relationship fails, it does not necessarily follow that the family should fail.

When a relationship ends, the family remains. A couple may have decided not to be “together” any longer, but they remain Mom and Dad. I believe that when an adult relationship ends, it is my job to guide my clients through the restructuring—not dissolving—of the family.

The ending of a relationship is painful, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the people involved should become enemies. . There are reasons why they chose to be together, and the relationship was probably a defining part of both lives. My goal is to help my clients to remember the good times, the things about that person that led them to form a relationship, and then help them to move on in as peaceful a way as possible.