Keeping It Civil: The Case of the Pre-nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyer

Keeping It Civil: The Case of the Pre-nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyer

by Margaret Klaw


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Provocative true cases that explore the intersection of our most intimate relationships and the law—and offer a window into how we define a family today.

A woman seeking a divorce has no idea of the family finances—her husband doled out money only after she gave him requisition slips for her intended purchases. A lesbian couple wants to include their sperm donor in their child’s life—the sperm donor is the brother of one partner, so he will be the biological father as well as the child’s uncle. These are the clients who come knocking on family lawyer Margaret Klaw’s door, hoping for resolution. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616202392
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 09/24/2013
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Margaret Klaw is a founding partner of Berner Klaw & Watson, a family law firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Named by Martindale-Hubbell as a “Preeminent Woman Lawyer,” she has been recognized as a Pennsylvania “Super Lawyer” for the past five years. An adjunct professor of family law at Temple University’s Law School, she speaks frequently on family law and blogs for the Huffington Post and

Read an Excerpt

There's a courthouse saying that criminal lawyers see bad people at their best and family lawyers see good people at their worst. We deal with people who are raw, who are hurting. They tell us about what happens behind closed doors, and we come to know them, fast. But there's also a flip side. There are plenty of people who, in the midst of crisis, inspire awe with their strength and sound judgment. —from the Introduction

Table of Contents

Opening Statement 1

The Wall 4

The Prenup and the Porsche 19

Stefan 32

Anatomy of a Trial, Part I: The Case 41

Money Culture 55

Legal Fiction 68

Anatomy of a Trial, Part II: Beth/Hearsay 74

Anatomy of a Trial, Part III: Maria/Neutral Witness 88

Divorce Equality 94

Opposing Counsel 103

Anatomy of a Trial, Part IV: Jessica/Credibility 114

Anatomy of a Trial, Part V: Brian/Cross Examination 129

Stuff 147

Courtroom 7, 1 p.m. 156

On Being a Divorce Lawyer 168

Anatomy of a Trial, Part VI: Jimmy and Kaitlyn/Interview in Chambers 184

Sperm Donor v. Father 198

Good Parent, Bad Parent 215

Anatomy of a Trial, Part VII: The Ruling 225

Working Women 236

Closing Argument 249

Acknowledgments 255

What People are Saying About This

civil rights lawyer and senior fellow at the Unive David Rudovsky

“Margaret Klaw has captured the drama, conflict, intensity, and the rapidly changing practice of family law.”

New York Times bestselling author of the legal thr Lisa Scottoline

“Margaret Klaw’s keen observations about the law and human nature are eye-opening and jaw-dropping. This book shows how today’s cultural conflicts are played out in the lives of ordinary families in true-life cases that involve love, money, sex, betrayal, and power. A must read!”

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