Why a 'men-only' divorce firm has decided to open in the UK

Men-only divorce law firms look set to be the latest import from America, and Britain’s first practice targeting fathers who feel hard done by in the family courts has set up in London.

Family law companies with all-male client lists have been growing in popularity in the US since the Nineties as fathers and husbands worry that women are more likely to get a better deal. One of these is Cordell & Cordell, which told divorcing husbands in America: “We’re going to help you keep the dollars you earned.” The firm opened a London branch this week.

Men are still unfairly represented in family courts in the UK. We recognised the need for this service back in 1990… Our goal is to bridge the gender gap that has been part of family law for too long now.

  • Joseph E Cordell, chief executive

David Pisarra, the founder of Men’s Family Law, another US law firm targeting husbands, has said firms such as his are “about empowering men, not bashing women”. But there is already concern from British family law experts that all-male firms will promote a false idea of an unfair legal system.

Susan Jacklin QC (pictured), chair of the Family Law Bar Association, is worried about men’s divorce firms pandering to concerns that the man will always get short-changed in court.

She said: “It’s a gimmick. It’s just a way of bringing in a certain sort of client.”

Ms Jacklin said it was “not true” that the family courts were biased against men. “The court’s focus is on the welfare of the child. There have been quite a few cases where fathers have not achieved contact for very sound reasons of child protection but they haven’t seen it that way.”

She believes that firms marketing themselves on the idea that fathers get a raw deal could be dangerous.

The premise is engendering distrust in the system and I think that’s unfortunate. It’s engendering a view that has no factual basis.

  • Susan Jacklin QC
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