Divorced from Justice: The Abuse of Women and Children by Divorce Lawyers and Judges

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9780060987206: Divorced from Justice: The Abuse of Women and Children by Divorce Lawyers and Judges


Contact with the divorce court system may be extremely dangerous. You may lose your children, your home, your life savings and your health. Before you enter a divorce lawyer's office or courtroom, read this book to protect yourself and your children.

"Provides a vital road map through the treacherous landscape of divorce." Christopher Darden

A full-fledged assault against women and children is under way in divorce courts across the country. Women are losing their economic security, their homes, their child support and even their children because of corrupt divorce proceedings. In Divorced from Justice, Karen Winner explodes the myth that divorce laws were created to protect women and children financially and reveals how all women from poor and working-class women to professional women of affluent means are all too often at the mercy of divorce lawyers who deal in dirty tricks and judges who flagrantly violate the laws they are supposed to uphold.

Female clients are often financially defrauded by their own attorneys, who put profit before all other considerations. Winner describes the dirty secrets of divorce lawyers who pad fees, double-bill, refuse to show clients itemized bills and hold clients' files hostage if they can't pay. And many of these practices are legal. Abraham Lincoln wrote, "Some things that are right legally are not right morally." Sadly, ethics are not a concern in the divorce industry, as women are losing their homes, life savings and, most distressing, their children. Contrary to public belief, 70 percent of all litigated custody trials rule in favor of the father. Winner skillfully renders the culture of the courtroom, where biased and uninformed judges play God and make arbitrary custody decisions that are harmful to the mother and child. Every woman who goes through a painful, financially draining divorce thinks her experience is isolated. In Divorced from Justice, Karen Winner says to women everywhere: You are not alone. This book should be required reading for all women a lesson taught by women who have been hurt by the ugly war tactics of divorce courts and have become fighters to survive a system that is alarmingly cruel and broken. Divorced from Justice dismantles the divorce-court system brick by brick and overwhelmingly proves the painful truth of the maxim: Justice is for sale. Winner demonstrates how divorce is big business and generates several billion dollars a year.

An investigative reporter and former policy analyst, Winner exposes the corruption at the heart of the American legal system and demonstrates exactly why divorcing women more than half a million in the U.S. per year face terrible economic hardship after being processed through the legal system. This landmark expos,, based on years of painstaking research and documented with compelling, real-life stories, paints a vivid picture of a divorce industry fueled by greed, favoritism and self-interest, and a judicial system that claims to value the sanctity of family yet allows unethical judges and attorneys to exploit and manipulate the laws for their own benefit.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A useful if somewhat na‹ve assessment of the labyrinthine divorce system. In the early 1990s, Winner, now a private consultant on women's rights and the courts, investigated complaints filed with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs by women who felt that they had been abused by judges and lawyers in divorce court; many of her recommendations for reform were later adopted by the state. She found rampant overbilling, clear instances of conflict of interest, and repeated failures to disclose information on the part of lawyers, particularly those representing the nonprofessional women least likely to have the resources and sophistication to cope with such conduct. Winner also discovered what she considers to be persistent failure by family court judges to follow the law. The result of this pattern of malfeasance, she argues, is that well-off men find it easy to take advantage of the women they are divorcing. Most of her proposed reforms are debatable, but plausible: reducing judicial discretion, creating citizen review boards to monitor judges and lawyers, applying rules requiring clearer disclosure by lawyers of what they have done to earn their fees, and bringing lawyers under the authority of consumer protection agencies. An outsider to the legal profession, Winner has sharp perceptions of some strange lawyer customs, such as failing to itemize fees and having young associates perform the work for which a high-profile partner has contracted. She also, however, underestimates the degree to which bad judicial and legal practice are caused by sloth or incompetence, rather than avarice or cruelty. She seems shocked that lawyers share the general population's regard for profit, and she ignores the rapaciousness of many clients, including abandoned wives. That said, however, this book has much good advice on protecting oneself from unscrupulous or sloppy lawyers. ($50,000 ad/promo; author tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Women in divorce cases experience abuse, not justice, from the judicial establishment, states Winner, journalist and former investigator for the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. She guides readers through the inner dynamics of divorce court proceedings and uncovers the too-common scene of unethical lawyers using the fee-for-profit system for self-enrichment and insensitive judges misapplying community property, equitable distribution, and no-fault divorce laws. Wives fare worse than husbands because they lack adequate financial resources for competent legal defense; face gender discrimination from the mainly male legal profession; and, after the divorce, descend in economic status, if not into poverty. Winner provides examples of wives who fought for their rights and won, and she advocates citizen activism and government intervention to discipline the legal profession and insure justice. This readable and timely book is recommended for public libraries.?Charles L. Lumpkins, Bloomsburg Univ. Lib., Pa.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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