Can I Be Effectively Represented By A Woman Attorney?

By Dorothy Ripka

Attorney, Cordell & Cordell

How can a woman represent me as a father in family court?

It’s a common question: Is it better to have a man or a woman represent me in family court? 

The short answer is it is better to have a competent divorce lawyer who cares about your case and will provide you with the kind of representation that you are paying for. 

With that said, family law is an area of the law very heavily populated by female attorneys.  Many men prefer to be represented by women in family court. However, the likelihood of your attorney’s gender impacting the ultimate outcome of your case is pretty slim.    

So what does that mean? It means that the gender of the attorney you hire should not be the deciding factor in whom you should hire to represent your interests in family court. 

You want to hire an attorney who will provide your case with attention, advise you on the risks and benefits of each potential strategy in your case, and someone with whom you can candidly share the intimate details of your life. 

The last requirement is the clincher. Your attorney has to be a person to whom you can tell everything without fear of judgment. 

Remember that as divorce attorneys we have seen everything. No matter what the details are of your story, chances are we have seen worse.

Do not ever allow fear to cripple your disclosures to your attorney. 

Remember this is a privileged conversation. No one else will hear this story from your attorney, outside of his or her office. 

Also, remember that the best offense is a good defense. If we do not fully appreciate the weaknesses of your case, then it is impossible that we provide the best strategy to gain a favorable result in your case.   

Why do some people choose a female attorney? One common theory is that having a woman represent a man in a divorce action can soften the harshness of his argument. 

For instance, if a male attorney with a male client gets your wife on the stand and highly criticizes her life choices, like being a housewife, it can appear cruel or attacking. 

However, with a female attorney and argument couched in respect for her choices at the time she made them, but criticizing that they may not make sense anymore, you may be able to present a potentially less offensive argument to the court. 

Family courts vest their judges with a very large amount of discretion. Each judge will view your unique facts differently so there is no certainty with the impact of your choice of an attorney. 

Thus, the best advice is to find an attorney with a good reputation whom you can trust to tell your story regardless of his or her gender.  

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located in 18 states.


Dorothy Walsh Ripka is the Team Leader of the Cordell & Cordell, offices in Austin, Dallas, and Ft. Worth, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, offices. Ms. Ripka is a seasoned attorney who has devoted her practice exclusively to domestic relations. She is licensed to practice law in Texas, Missouri and Illinois.

Read more about Dorothy Ripka

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