Let’s Talk… About 14 Years of Family Law

September 6, 2018
BY: Francesca O'Cathain, Esq.

Happy 14th Anniversary at Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC, to me! 14 years as a family law attorney has taught me a lot about life, love, children, families and the practice of law.

A 14 Year Journey

A lot has happened in the last 14 years. Professionally, I become a partner, became a Certified Matrimonial Attorney, and became a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, to name some highlights. Personally, I have gotten married, had a birth daughter, and adopted a son and then a daughter from China.

I have witnessed a lot of changes in family law, including the creation of Irreconcilable Differences as a grounds for divorce, same sex-marriage, and restrictions on grandparent visitation and palimony, to name a few.

I have seen the practice change through technology, with the ability to have constant contact with clients, and to have divorced parents be able to Skype with their kids, as well as social media being used as evidence against parents.

One thing hasn’t changed at all, and that’s the impact divorce has on families and the fact that parents have a choice as to whether to ‘divorce the right way’ or to ‘divorce the wrong way.’ 14 years later I am still touched when I see clients motivated solely by doing the right thing for their child or children. Over the last 14 years I have learned that ‘the right choice’ is different in every single family. What may be the right choice for one parent may not be for the other parent.  I am often humbled when I see a parent make a tough decision because they know it will better their children’s lives. I am touched when I see parents work together to make sure that their child isn’t negatively affected by the divorce and learn how to better co-parent together.

I have kept in touch with many clients post-divorce and they often say that they wished they could have focused on the bigger pictures and not on the petty details that often bog divorces down. Many clients tell me years later that they appreciate my role in focusing them on the end-goal and not allowing them to get too bogged down by the smaller details.

The Road Ahead

What lies ahead? Gender neutrality, redefinition of family, recognition of rights for sperm and egg donors. Or will we take a backwards step? Whatever it is, I am thankful for everybody who helped me during these past 14 years, and hopeful that in the next 14 years I will continue to help families reconnect differently, make great work friends, and be inspired by many of my clients.