How Can A Christian Attorney Practice Family Law?- I am a Christian. I am also an attorney with a very busy family law practice in Highland Village, TX. How does a Christian attorney, who believes that divorce is against the will and law of God, represent clients who are seeking divorce? What a great question! To be honest, it is not an easy job. To really answer this question, I must first explain how I got here.
Around 2012, the pastors and elders at my church, the Village Church, began to pester me about helping with some of the family crisis within our body of believers. In a church with about 14,000 attenders every weekend, you can imagine that there was a significant amount of family and marital crisis. I swore to myself coming out of law school that I would never practice family/divorce law. So, I stalwartly declined to involve myself professionally in family cases. For a year I resisted the steady flow of requests for me to get involved in family law and help these believers in crisis. Finally, I relented. Although my case load was full, I felt as if the Lord was somehow calling me to help through my profession these families in crisis. One of my pastors would say to me, “if I can’t refer them to an attorney who believes and practices from a conviction in the truth of the scriptures, to whom shall I refer them?”
I soon realized that you cannot dabble in family law. The entire system is based on the Texas Family Code and the Texas Family Practice Manual, which would require my mastery. If I was going to help, I was going to be all in. So, our firm went all in. We began by bringing in a seasoned family law partner who was a believer. He later left to start his own practice, and I took the helm. Here is what I found: the tragedy of divorce is often an avoided and vilified topic in Christian churches. However, it is not a crisis that avoids overtaking people of faith. I found even faithful, God-fearing believers facing imminent danger, emergency financial woes, and life-changing abuses from spouses who had walked away from the faith or faked their way through church.
I discovered the most concentrated and challenging ministry opportunity of my professional career. I found myself neck deep in family law, and up to my eyeballs in complicated family crisis. So, back to the first question: how does a Christian attorney who believes that God hates divorce practice family law? The answer is both simple and complex. I counsel clients in accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while simultaneously making them aware of all of the entanglements, risks, strategies, and angles presented by the court system. I consistently change hats throughout my representation. I always make the client aware of the available options and risk factors facing litigants in Texas divorce actions (advice that any Texas family attorney would offer), but follow that legal advice with the more challenging conversation of the believer’s duties to real the judge—the God of all Creation. While we fight for the helpless and the victimized, Christman Attorneys, PLLC also remind our clients of the kingdom principles of walking in risk, remaining humble, opening our hands, and trusting the Lord.
Frankly, it’s a hard job. I am red-headed. I naturally lean towards aggression and delivering the righteous blow of justice to the abuser and the unfaithful. What I must continually remind myself is that justice is imperfect this side of heaven. Man can only know in part. I cannot truly judge the heart of my client or the opposing party. But God is just, and He sees it all. Where the system fails us, where courts fall short, where the evidence is weak, God sees it all. For the believer, God will give beauty for ashes. He will repay, rebuild, and restore according to His will. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gal. 6:7 Always remember your context. Don’t be deceived to believe that your family crisis, even your divorce litigation, is a win/lose format. You are not a competitor or combatant. You and I are farmers. We are sowing seeds. We will reap and eat the harvest that we grow. If we sow the poison seeds of resentment, anger, wrath, and selfishness, we will eat the bitter fruit of those fields. God owns it all—our stuff, our money, our kids. He gave them to us. He can take them away. God is good, and works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. My job at Christman Attorneys, PLLC family practice is to protect and defend the helpless, encourage my client towards the fruit of good seed, and advance the Kingdom of God by shining his light in the dark and lonely recesses of marriage and family crisis. We fight fiercely for our clients. But we fight righteously under the watchful and merciful eyes of our heavenly Father.
Here’s a tough question for discussion: How does a Christian work through the divorce process in a way that honors God? Is that even possible? Contact us if you have further questions.
Author: Drew Christman
Would you like to know more about our Family Law practice? Visit: Family Law