Family law is notoriously complex, even when confined to a single state or municipality. When such cases involve highly complex assets or custody battles, international borders that shift the legal landscape, and conflicting cultural norms, “complex” somehow doesn’t entirely cover it. We at Urban Thier & Federer are proud that senior attorney Patricia Lee will appear as a panelist in an upcoming seminar centered on cultural competency issues in family law, to raise awareness of cultural diversity as it affects family law matters and ways to assure proper address of these issues.
The importance of cultural competency
Designed for family law professionals, such as attorneys, guardians ad litem and parent coordinators, the panel will look into the various challenges of handling cross-cultural family law concerns. A primary focus will be to offer cultural sensitivity and communication tools, as well as strategies for better attorney-client relationships when multi-cultural litigants are involved.
Every individual has a unique relationship with his or her cultural paradigm, and makes choices about what they care about, and what they don’t care about, based upon their paradigm and experiences. This cultural diversity can have a profound impact upon:
- Child custody
- Religious issues
- Medical care
- Child-rearing choices
- Domestic violence
- And more
Thus, cultural diversity or conformity can impact family law litigation in unpredictable ways and is not merely a difference in language that can be addressed with an interpreter.
Attorney Lee will share her experiences in international family law spanning over 29 years at the seminar, together with a panel of other lawyers, judges, and mental health professionals. In her practice, she routinely navigates multi-cultural litigants through complex litigation involving such issues as:
- The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductions
- Long Distance Parenting Plans
- Relocation and Modification of Custodial Orders
- Domestication and Enforcement of Foreign Orders
- Paternity and Establishment of Parental Rights
Additionally, her insight is built on her work in locations ranging from Florida and New York to Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Brazil, and other parts of Latin America. Her unique perspective as a member of a genuinely international family law practice is of great value.
Sensitivity as a tool for family law professionals
Beyond understanding a very complex body of international law affecting family law litigants and having foreign language skills, relating to clients in a culturally sensitive way promotes both confidence and cooperation, and helps to improve any professional’s practice.