December 28, 2010 7:57 pm at 7:57 pm #593809
I posted the following in the now closed Abusive Marriage thread. No one responded to the issues raised herein, which is understandable given the tenor of that conversation. But I believe the points I raised merit attention. Here is the original post:
I won’t get into the clinical specifics of abusive marriages; it’s not my field. But as a matter of legal services, the community pays woefully inadequate attention to the matter. There are many good honest people caught up in horrific family situations. Those issues might include domestic violence, drug use, a spouse or fomer spouse who is no longer religious, dead beat parents who don’t pay child support and myriad combinations of those issues and others. One common denominator among all those people is that they desperately need legal representation, and unless they are very well heeled or have parents who are of significant means, it isn’t available. (Remember the old joke where a prominent attorney says he wouldn’t be able to afford his own services? That’s what I mean. The cost of the legal services to really help these people is that high.) People are suffering much more in these situations than they need to because they cannot avail themselves of the legal services that might alleviate some or most of the difficulty. Attorneys, who are willing to do their part, cannot however afford to represent too many people for free; as they are called upon to do. They have families as well as staffs who have families etc. But, as a matter of trying to do their part would be willing to discount their fees to help some of these people. We in the frum legal community, especially those of us who specialize in family law, have long noted this problem and are dumbfounded by the complete lack of community response to it.
EDITEDDecember 28, 2010 8:06 pm at 8:06 pm #723162
Attorney fees are astronomical. No organization currently in existence can afford to pay for them on a wholesale basis.
The second issue is that by us Jews, issues need to be resolved in Beis Din. Non-Jewish court is, generally speaking, assur gamur.December 28, 2010 8:18 pm at 8:18 pm #723163mikehall12382Member
let not forget about child molestation, sometimes the law of the land is a better avenue. As far as I know no Beis Din can send you to prisonDecember 28, 2010 8:24 pm at 8:24 pm #723165bezalelParticipant
The second issue is that by us Jews, issues need to be resolved in Beis Din. Non-Jewish court is, generally speaking, assur gamur.
But Beis Din does not have jurisdiction over many of these matters and even for the matters that they do, it requires that both parties to agree to arbitration.December 28, 2010 8:30 pm at 8:30 pm #723166apushatayidParticipant
I think the edited portion is where the main point was made. That portion was not edited in the original message from the now closed forum. Perhaps a general fund under the auspicies of whoever, is not such a bad idea.
Frum yidden everywhere responded to help the legal needs of one yid, perhaps even when the matter is not out in the open, but the need is there just the same, yidden will generously give, to help another yid.December 28, 2010 9:24 pm at 9:24 pm #723168Aishes ChayilParticipant
sometimes though, Beis Din gives permission to go to secular court to solve certain issues.December 28, 2010 9:28 pm at 9:28 pm #723169tzippiMember
TMB, in a more perfect world (divorce wouldn’t happen) all men would give a get in a timely fashion and pay their share of support, ditto. For starters.December 28, 2010 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm #723171
Can’t the two parents go to court as a formality and say “Mr. Judge, we the two parents have agreed to the follow ing custody arrangement: Parent A will have physical custody, while Parent B can visit whenever.” — And specify to the court whatever custody arrangements were agreed to and set by Beis Din in accordance with the halacha of who has custody.
They don’t even have to explain why they agreed to that custody arrangement, i.e. from a beis din decision or simply an agreement between the parents, but rather ask the court to formally formalize such custody arrangement.
This way the issue can legally be resolved halachicly. Obviously both parents would have to cooperate with this for it to work through the court. And if one went around it, they would effectively be going against Beis Din and need to suffer the requisite (i.e. seruv etc) consequences.December 28, 2010 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm #723172
“I think the edited portion is where the main point was made. That portion was not edited in the original message from the now closed forum. Perhaps a general fund under the auspicies of whoever, is not such a bad idea.”
Indeed the main point was edited out. A general fund to defray some of the legal fees associated with end of marriage issues, is precisely what I refer to. I would take it further. Young lawyers in need of experience could be enlisted to do the work at a discounted rates, while more experienced practitioners would provide those younger colleagues with guidance and advice, gratis, and perhaps step in as needed; also at a reduced fee. It could turn into a tremendous service all round.December 28, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm #723173
Cedarhurst, the scenario you describe often happens. From a secular POV it’s fine so long as everyone concerned is on board. But if a Beth Din requires a party to sign the p’sak, rendering it an agreement, or face communal sanctions that raises the whole issue of duress etc. Another issue is how a Beth Din might go about making its determination. Do they use forensic psychologists in dtermining custody? Do they take necessary steps to determine income for support purposes. Do they provide for sufficient discovery in order to divide assets? The answer to those questions is a mixed bag. Various batei din do better jobs than others.December 28, 2010 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm #723174oomisParticipant
Both parents WOULD have to cooperate, as cedarhurst says. The problem is when one parent is recalcitrant, and the Beis Din has no legal power to enforce said cooperation, as is often the case in an acrimonious divorce.December 28, 2010 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm #723175
cantoresq, in my scenerio Beis Din would exclusively use halacha to make all its determinations, including asset dispersal and custody decisions.December 29, 2010 1:38 am at 1:38 am #723177metrodriverMember
Cedarhurst; You are describing a wishful, ideal situation. But unfortunately, human nature is to be contentious and to spite the other party. Especially, in such a time. When things have reached such a stage. i.e.; Divorce. If (Two) people would act reasonably and were able to compromise, they might have been able to solve their problems without getting divorced.December 29, 2010 3:27 am at 3:27 am #723179
Perhaps we can now return to the topic at hand?December 29, 2010 4:34 am at 4:34 am #723180apushatayidParticipant
You will need a catchy name to solicit funds.December 29, 2010 3:23 pm at 3:23 pm #723181ItcheSrulikMember
You will also need to invent a dozen new segulos a year.December 29, 2010 3:26 pm at 3:26 pm #723182
APY, how about “Saving Neshomahs?”December 29, 2010 3:43 pm at 3:43 pm #723183
In your estimation, how much will this new fund need to raise to pay the sharks? Once you have your figure, how to propose that size fund is realistically attainable — on an ongoing basis?December 29, 2010 4:49 pm at 4:49 pm #723184
If by sharks, you mean attorneys, in New York they generally bill anywhere from $200.00-$500.00 per hour int he family law world. Assuming the program is done correctly, I would envision anywhere from a 25%-50% discount on those rates plus reimbursement for expenses. Mind you, I do not envision a program to help every poor person going through a divorce. Rather it would be for people who fit certain criteria as their cases are of interest or importance to the Jewish community. At the top of the list for me would be those cases involving an erstwhile Orthodox parent, who has abandoned Orthodoxy and the issues concerning the children that result of that lifestyle choice. A second category would be cases involving a party who is a mesareiv l’din. Concievably other socially important issues could be included as well (i.e. drug abuse, domestic violence etc.). People who have such cases and fall within defined economic criteria would recieve assistance from the program. Depending on how the program is defined would determine the amount of money needed. Ideally, it would be funded out of private philanthropy as well as institutional philanthropy like Federation and/or be made a line item on organizational budgets.December 29, 2010 5:12 pm at 5:12 pm #723185
My question was what is the total sum per year, in your estimation, required to achieve your stated goals. And how you realistically expect to raise that figure fundraising – on an ongoing basis.December 29, 2010 5:30 pm at 5:30 pm #723186
TMB I don’t have a precise answer.December 29, 2010 5:47 pm at 5:47 pm #723187
Once you do, you may find the idea financially impractical.December 29, 2010 9:36 pm at 9:36 pm #723189
TMB, I don’t think it would be. Moreover, the inability to do everything, is not an excuse to do nothing.December 29, 2010 9:42 pm at 9:42 pm #723190
cantoresq: Why don’t you establish this fund/organization?December 29, 2010 9:53 pm at 9:53 pm #723191
In the secular world, there is a legal aid system. There is no reason why WE can’t establish a legal aid system in our society. After all, we have managed to establish Bikur Cholim, Hatzolah, Community Councils, etc. One brave person decided it needs to be done and did it. Maybe it has to be done within the Jewish Lawyers Association. If Jewish Lawyers as a group each agree to give of themselves, pro bono hours, then the community as a whole might be willing to step up to the plate and contribute to a fund that pays discounted fees to help those who cannot afford to pay for legal assistance. As long as there is a board who overseas the funds, the payments and the commitment of the attorneys involved. Law students should be able to get credits for assisting lawyers working these pro-bono and discounted cases as well.
Maybe there are some retired lawyers and judges who would serve as board members or even volunteer hours to get such an organization under way.December 29, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm #723192
Cedarhurst, you ask a good question. I don’t have a good reason why not, but I do have a bunch of typical shvach ones.December 29, 2010 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm #723193
aries: Free legal aid for the poor is for criminal cases, not civil cases.December 29, 2010 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm #723194
TMB, WHAT exactly is YOUR problem. WHO cares what the free legal aid is for. WE can start an organization for whatever purposes WE want to. That is number one, NUMBER TWO is you are wrong as usual. If you have a problem with your landlord or any other issue you can find free legal aid for any issue you need. Start googling, you can get free legal aid for divorce and family court issues as well as criminal and immigration or any other type of legal issues you may have. Some are offered via local groups, regional groups, state or federal groups. You can find whatever you are looking for.December 31, 2010 2:14 pm at 2:14 pm #723200eclipseMember
I would be happy to help in any way to spare people the bizyonos one has to endure to raise money to defend your right to have your children(!)because SOMEONE ELSE WAS ADVISED TO DRAG YOU THRU THE MUD IN COURT.People don’t realize that even if you were NOT THE PERSON THAT PUT THE MATTER IN COURT if the stakes are your children you must defend yourself and that costs thousands of dollars!If you are arrested on false charges on top of that,you must then hire ADDITIONALLY a criminal lawyer.It’s downright traumatic…and people keep saying “why aren’t you in beis din??”December 31, 2010 6:23 pm at 6:23 pm #723201
What these geniuses (sorry) don’t understand is this. When children grow up, they will have the right to choose for themselves (after many years of watching, listening and learning) who they think and have learned is a good or better parent. AND (and this is a big AND) who they think was right and wrong in the entire fiasco. AND that has nothing to do with what the judge said, it has to do with the conduct of the parents before and after the divorce. So it matters little who “won” in court. I what really matters is the truth and what happened before and after the court hearings. The parent who berates the other parent and makes it difficult for the children to see them will be the one who loses out in the end. Because when the children are grown and are of adult age and get to choose who they want to spend time with and get to enforce their legal rights, they will decide for themselves where their true loyalties lie, either with one or the other or both.
Once a child is of age, one parent or the other cannot make those decisions for them. They can try and bribe them or control them with money, but they can’t force them to do what they want them to do. They can pretend to listen but they can borrow a friend’s phone if they choose and make as many calls to the other parent as they choose or make arrangements to meet them at a neutral location. The parent that makes the other parent out to be the villain will eventually lose the trust and love they tried so desperately to gain in the first place.
So a parent can only “win” for the shortest amount of time in the child’s life. Once the child becomes of legal age it will be his or her choice where to go from there.January 2, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am #723202
aaris, it’s not that simple. O that it were so.
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