Cordell & Cordell, a national family law firm focused on representing men in divorce, opened its first NH office in December. The firm markets itself as an advocate “for men to ensure their rights are recognized in court.” Its work includes child custody and paternity cases, and modification of agreements.
Jessica L. Ugarte, the sole attorney in the Bedford office, says the firm has more than 285 attorneys in 100 offices nationwide as well as London. Ugarte adds she has practiced law for more than 11 years, including family law and civil litigation.
Scott C. Trout, executive managing partner and CEO of Cordell & Cordell, says while 95% of the firm’s clients are men, the company is not “anti-woman.” He says misperceptions and stereotypes leave men at a disadvantage in court. “We are trying to level the playing field,” he says. “We are making sure both parents have equal access and time. Studies are clear, if both parents remain involved post-divorce, kids have a better chance at success in life.”
Trout says the firm focuses on educating its clients. “We talk about the highs and lows. We talk about good timing. When you are at the height of your career, it may not be the best timing,” for a divorce, Trout says.
He says aside from cases involving domestic abuse that require immediate action, Cordell & Cordell advises clients to carefully examine their family and financial situation before moving forward with a divorce and to avoid rash decisions.
“We do a webinar on the stupidest mistakes men make,” he says, noting Cordell & Cordell also asks clients to consider advantages to saving the marriage. “We really believe men, first and foremost, should save their marriage.”
If divorce is the final decision, the firm advises clients to stay involved with their children and support them. Trout says this often prevents spouses from alienating the man from his children.
Trout says in one-third of divorces, wives are making more than their husbands, making the man the candidate for spousal support, or “manomony.” However, the percentage of men who receive such support is in the single digits, he says. “Guys are afraid to ask for it, or courts just don’t do it,” Trout says, though things may be changing.
The firm, founded by husband and wife team Joseph and Yvonne Cordell in 1990, has been opening seven to eight new offices annually, Trout says. In fact, it also just opened its first office in Maine. Trout says he anticipates growing the NH office to five to 10 lawyers in the next 18 to 24 months based on the amount of activity it is already experiencing, and he foresees opening other NH offices.
For more information, visit cordellcordell.com.