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Jeffrey M. Williams, the founder and managing partner of Williams Family Law, P.C., concentrates his practice on domestic relations, primarily handling complex high asset divorce, high income alimony/spousal support, complex child support, and high-conflict child custody cases. Having been named annually among the Best Lawyers in America, Mr. Williams is widely regarded as one of the top high-net-worth divorce attorneys in Bucks County and one of the leading family law attorneys in Pennsylvania. Mr. Williams’ courtroom instincts and honed litigation skills have made him a fixture in Philadelphia area high-net-worth divorce law for more than three decades.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), a prestigious honor reserved solely for skilled negotiators and experienced litigators in family law; there are just 1, nationwide. He is also a past president of AAML’s Pennsylvania chapter and is called to share his expertise at AAML conferences around the country each year. He is a diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, whose membership is limited to 100 attorneys nationally. He has been selected by his peers as one of the “Ten Leaders of Greater Philadelphia for Matrimonial & Divorce Law" annually since 2004.
As the legal representative for a non-birth mother, Mr. Williams successfully litigated one of the first significant same-sex child custody cases in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. While serving as the chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section, Mr. Williams played an instrumental role in a 10-year-long effort to improve and implement new child custody laws in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Prior to establishing his own family law practice in 2004, Mr. Williams was a partner of an established Bucks County law firm. Two of his former law partners went on to become judges in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. Having served as both an assistant and deputy district attorney in Bucks County from 1981-1985, Mr. Williams has gained outstanding courtroom experience and litigation skills.
Mr. Williams is an active member of several professional organizations. Having previously served as the secretary, first vice president, and chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section, Mr. Williams is currently a member of the association’s executive committee. In 2011, he received a special achievement award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association for his work on the New Custody Act.
He is an active member of the Bucks County Bar Association and formerly served as treasurer and chairman of the association’s Family Law Section, as well as a member of its board of directors. He is a frequent speaker for various continuing legal education programs, particularly on matters related to domestic relations litigation and trial strategy.
Since 2005, Mr. Williams has been consistently named to the list of Super Lawyers in Pennsylvania, an honor bestowed on just 5% of lawyers in the commonwealth. Additionally, Mr. Williams has also been named to the list of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Philadelphia. He also maintains an AV “Preeminent” rating with Martindale-Hubbell, the highest legal ability and ethical standards rating. In addition, Mr. Williams has been repeatedly featured in Suburban Life magazine as one of the region's Awesome Attorneys.
On a community level, Mr. Williams has held several leadership positions in the Bucks County region: he is a past chair and member of the Doylestown Township board of supervisors, a past director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Bucks County and a past director of A Woman’s Place Domestic Violence Shelter of Bucks County.
Mr. Williams represents military veterans through his participation in the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Lawyers Saluting Veterans Program, which is coordinated through the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Mr. Williams is also currently working pro bono for the People's Justice Center, interviewing and representing asylum-seeking families detained by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Mr. Williams is a graduate of The Haverford School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Dickinson College and a Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law.
In addition to his legal career, Mr. Williams is the proud father of a daughter and two sons.
Observations & Perspectives
From Jeffrey M. Williams, Esquire
One of the first things I tell people is that equitable distribution in divorce does not necessarily translate into equal distribution. In fact, most divorce settlements in Pennsylvania do not result in equal distribution of property. There are many factors, but the distribution often favors the income-dependent spouse. Having said all that, it is very important to be realistic about the outcome. Some attorneys make promises they cannot possibly keep just to “sign up the case.”
Outcomes are based on many variables. For instance, say a husband has filed for divorce, leaving for a younger woman. In such instances, guilt can be the great deal-maker. The husband may put a sizeable settlement offer on the table that the court would never mandate. I’ve been in that situation - on several occasions - in which I’ve had to urge my client to accept an offer, even if the client’s initial reaction is to try to continue litigation simply because he or she is angry. In terms of my practice, I probably do more custody-related work than many of my peers, and the contested custody cases can be the most difficult cases.
One of the biggest problems I’ve seen related to so-called earning capacity - how much is a spouse projected to earn going forward, based on his or her education and experience. For example, if someone once made $350,000 per year in a job and that job is eliminated, how realistic is it to assume that he or she will have a similar-paying job in the years ahead? This is a difficult question to answer, especially for a family law court. Interestingly, the outcome can vary greatly from judge to judge.
I went through my own divorce. I think that in many respects it has made me better at what I do. In my work I get a chance to help people at a time when they most need it. I literally deal with good people at their worst. That is what makes this field of law both very challenging and very satisfying.
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