The simple, straightforward days of the standard American family with a house, car, pension, dog and a couple of kids no longer exist. The world has become more complex, with a growing number of issues factoring into the dynamics of a family. As that complexity has in- creased, so has domestic relations law; and Sam and Susan Hais offer their decades of experience to help clients navigate the intricacies. “It’s never a one-size-fits-all approach,” Sam says. “Family law cases are often finely nuanced, and we work hard to apply our skill-sets and experience to find appropriate solutions to the problems.”
Since Susan started the predecessor to Hais, Hais, Golberger & Coyne in 1979, she and Sam, who joined the practice in 2002 after 26 years as a judge, have seen family law evolve in many ways, and they have worked hard to adapt to those changes. For example, issues like child custody are handled much differently today than they were when Susan began practicing. “Back then, it was much more common that the woman would have custody; but today, that’s thrown out the window and it’s really an even standard now,” she says. “It’s become a very significant issue for both sides.”
Another factor that has affected the practice of domestic relations law is the changing economy. While the resources of a couple previously were able to support two households after a divorce, that is not as often the case today, Sam explains. “Because of diminution in employment and income, a lot of times, people are faced with tough choices like not getting divorced or staying unhappily in the same household because they’re unable to move out.”
The Haises address those situations by coming up with more creative solutions for particular cases. “You have to look at other options and think outside of the box or you’ll end up with people who have just terrible problems,” Susan notes.
To be able to offer that wide scope of solutions, their firm works hard to stay up-to-date with all aspects of family law. “The law changes very frequently in domestic relations,” Sam says. “It involves every single facet of a couple and a family’s lives and the issues are much more numerous than other areas of law. You have to keep up on the case law, while also applying your living experiences to the issues.” They also are cautious with the growing influence of technology and social media in domestic relations cases, appropriately utilizing those tools.
While their extensive experience and present efforts are vital to future success, Sam and Susan’s personal relationship also is key. As a husband- wife team married for 33 years, the couple’s perspectives complement each other as they share ideas and thoughts on cases to get the best results. Offering a new meaning to ‘family law,’ the firm includes two other married couples, which provides clients a stable environment within, while their world may be chaos. “Our practice is fluid and easygoing, which is a really good thing because there’s so much conflict on the outside,” Susan says. “We are a single force within the law firm, and it really works.”