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Margaret Klaw
Margaret Klaw is a founding partner of Berner Klaw & Watson, LLP, an all-women law firm located in Center City, Philadelphia, dedicated exclusively to the practice of family law. She has been named a “Preeminent Woman Lawyer" by Martindale-Hubbell since 2011, and has received the designation of Pennsylvania "Super Lawyer" in the area of family law for the past five years. Ms. Klaw has chaired both the Family Law Section and the Women’s Rights Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association and is currently an adjunct professor of family law at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. She writes and lectures extensively on family law topics and is the author of a popular blog, Her first book, KEEPING IT CIVIL: The Case of the Pre-Nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyer, was published by Algonquin Books in September, 2013.

Entries by Margaret Klaw

No Guilt

(20) Comments | Posted September 15, 2015 | 4:54 PM

I'm sure many Catholic women will find solace in the Year of Mercy recently declared by Pope Francis. In granting priests the power to pardon women for the "sin of abortion," Francis cited as fact that many such sinners carry with them "deep physical and spiritual wounds."

I'm not...

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Trial By Night

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2015 | 12:48 PM

When I leave work after a long day in court, I'm pretty much drained. I listen to the radio on my drive home while replaying the day in my head, voice inside louder than the news as I leave the garage, fading in importance and internal volume as I work...

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View From the Dark Side

(2) Comments | Posted January 26, 2015 | 10:32 AM

I love my job. Many people don't understand that. They think that being a divorce lawyer sounds depressing. I tell them otherwise; I tell them that divorce is transformative for many of my clients, and that being a part of that process is meaningful and rewarding work.

However, bearing...

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Attached at the Hip

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 6:10 PM

My neighborhood is teeming with attached babies. They're peeking out from elaborate wraps which swaddle them onto the backs of their moms or snuggling into pouches strapped tightly to the chests of their dads. After the lights go out, they're sharing the family bed and breastfeeding off and on throughout...

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Reality Divorce

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 3:49 PM

Sooner or later, it had to happen. Nestled cozily in my inbox between an email from a grumpy opposing attorney and a bar association solicitation, there it was: "NOW CASTING DIVORCED COUPLES FOR NEW NBC SERIES." Of course, I clicked.

Eyeworks (producers of The Biggest Loser and Extreme...
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Permission to Divorce

(3) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 9:03 PM

Is it too easy to get divorced? Huh? That was my reaction when I got a call from the producer of a radio show who wanted to know if I could discuss/debate that issue with a lawyer who co-chairs the Coalition for Divorce Reform, an organization whose mission is to...

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The Right Result

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 1:58 PM

I have a bone to pick with my fellow family lawyers. Some of my brethren and sistren have a tendency to conflate what the law dictates should happen and what is right. There is a basic philosophical rift in our profession which manifests itself in the answer to this question:...

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Trans Woes

(5) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 6:14 PM

As though it weren't tough enough being trans, this month New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill -- passed by big margins in both houses of the state legislature -- that would have allowed transgender people to get new birth certificates without requiring them to undergo sex reassignment surgery....

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He Got Christmas

(13) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 12:17 PM

I ran into Sarah, a friend who also happens to be a former client, at a holiday party last week. As we chatted about her kids coming home from college, mine arriving from Brooklyn, and our respective plans for the holiday week, she suddenly got quiet. "I lost Christmas in...

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And Baby Makes Four

(4) Comments | Posted October 28, 2013 | 1:26 PM

It happened quietly. Without much fanfare on the left or handwringing on the right. On October 4, Governor Jerry Brown approved a bill amending California's Family Code to provide that a child can have more than two parents. As family structures morph and expand throughout the...

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The Divorce Credential

(5) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 5:14 PM

"Have you ever been divorced?" The other day, I was speaking at a seminar geared toward women contemplating divorce. Right at the beginning of the presentation, one of the women attending raised her hand and asked me this question. No, I told her. She smiled and shook her head.


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Guns in the Family

(238) Comments | Posted February 27, 2013 | 5:42 PM

Are we safer armed or disarmed? Does the Second Amendment mean we have an absolute right to own guns, or should the exercise of that right be limited because it places our fellow citizens in danger? As this debate rages on the national stage, we family lawyers deal with it...

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The Good Divorce

(19) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 1:10 PM

The culture of divorce is shifting, in tune with the times. How many of us have commented on the fluidity of our children's relationships with friends with whom they become -- and un-become -- romantically involved? When we broke up with our high school boyfriends or girlfriends, we never spoke...

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Rick Santorum, Karl Marx and Child Support

(5) Comments | Posted April 3, 2012 | 12:32 PM

Rick Santorum and his tea-partying cohorts have their knickers all in a knot about the government telling people what to do with their money. As in the government making them pay for health insurance. Or making them pay more income tax. Or using their tax dollars to educate other people's...

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Opposing Counsel

(82) Comments | Posted February 15, 2012 | 8:20 PM

It's a club, and we all know it. We're joined together through a common work life that can be difficult, emotionally intense, sometimes exhilarating, and sometimes thankless. I'm talking about my colleagues -- my fellow members of the family law bar. I've been practicing in the same community for a...

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(21) Comments | Posted January 17, 2012 | 6:06 PM

Sometimes I get a chance to walk in my client's shoes, just for a moment. It can be very sobering. Like today, when my client's ex-husband started screaming at me when I was attempting to get into the courthouse and then continued to verbally attack and mock me in the...

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The Twelve Days of Christmas

(3) Comments | Posted December 16, 2011 | 1:00 PM

Shoppers hurry by, red cheeked and purposeful. Salvation Army Santas jingle their bells in front of Macy's. Cookies arrive in offices from clients and vendors and are promptly eaten, accompanied by the obligatory groans about too many sweets. And for us family lawyers, the holiday season invariably brings a unique...

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Prince Charming

(238) Comments | Posted November 28, 2011 | 1:45 AM

I am obsessed with the topic of women's economic self-sufficiency. When I was in my early twenties, I thought it was important, as an abstract principle, for women to be able to support themselves. But I didn't know the half of it. Being a divorce lawyer for more than two...

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Hopeless Romantics

(140) Comments | Posted October 31, 2011 | 2:00 AM

You should've seen us. Beaming as she walked down the aisle, radiant on her father's arm. Pulling Kleenex from our purses as she ascended the altar to meet the groom. Dancing at the reception, a wild circle of us, frenzied with laughter, champagne and excitement.

Typical scene at a...

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(11) Comments | Posted October 18, 2011 | 2:05 AM

When people get divorced, they have to divide up property they accumulated during their life together. Houses, cars, bank accounts, investments and retirement benefits are all on the table to be shuffled, distributed, or sometimes divided. To be sure, I often spend a lot of time negotiating exactly how this...

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