Benjamin S. Lee
“So why are they divorcing?”
It was a great question my assistant asked me. After California took out the fault aspects of a divorce (effective January 1, 1970), divorce in California has become more analytical and the “why” has sometimes been regulated to an unimportant existence. Lawyers sometimes tend to lose the desire to want to know “why” because other than certain situations, the “why” has become irrelevant to the judicial system. But my experience tells me that the “why” can still be important in understanding our clients’ story, and ultimately in negotiations and mediating a result that can be beneficial for both parties.
Every marriage (well, most) start because two people really wanted to be together, forever. After understanding why these two people who wanted to be together end up wanting to divorce, we can often start to see a path as to how best can they unwind the relationship. For example, how can we help this couple figure out the best way to split their assets? How can we help them adopt a feasible parenting schedule? Our clients’ stories matter. Keeping that in mind, we always listen to the client’s story and ask what circumstances led to the client’s decision to divorce.
Getting into family law was kind of a happy accident for me. I was fresh out of law school, working in a larger firm doing antitrust and consumer protection litigation. To gain court experience, I volunteered with a local family clinic sponsored by the D.C. Bar. After moving to Los Angeles, the volunteering transferred to the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law, and I decided to start my own practice focusing solely on family law. The nature of the work and the impact my work had on clients’ lives proved to be immensely satisfying to me. I still commit time to volunteering to help low-income families with their divorce, and I routinely take on cases referred by the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law.
Family law has become more complex as the world becomes more global and the financial holdings we have are more intricate. Before settling down here in Southern California, I had an opportunity to live in different parts of the U.S., and also abroad in Taiwan and Japan. Having both an immigrant family background (I was born to immigrant parents in Washington D.C.) and the opportunity to live abroad for many years, I am able to understand not just the legal issues that many families face in a divorce, but also the complex nature of familial and financial relationships in this increasingly global and mobile world. Settlements in a divorce should reflect that reality.
I am here to help our clients go through their divorce and move forward with their lives. I am also able to help Chinese speaking (Mandarin) and Japanese speaking clients. Feel free to contact us to see how we can help.
Bar & Court Admissions
State Bar of California
District of Columbia Bar
United States District Court, Northern District of California
United States District Court, Central District of California
State Bar of California; Family Law Section (CalBar)
Los Angeles County Bar Association; Family Law Section (LACBA)
Orange County Bar Association; Family Law Section (OCBA)