New Beginnings
Liebmann Family Law leads clients through the troubling times of divorce and toward a brighter future for them and their families
by Pina Rahill

John Smith (name changed to protect privacy) met with attorney Jeffrey A. Liebmann for the first time in 2012. He was thinking of ending his marriage and wanted to understand the responsibilities he would have to his two daughters, then 3 and 1, and his would-be ex-wife.

Liebmann was patient and informative, Smith remembers. After the consultation, even though Smith’s marriage at the time was “a mostly dark cloud with very little silver lining,” he went home and tried to keep the marriage together, mostly out of concern for his children.

A year later, Smith went to see Liebmann a second time. Though anxious, he felt he’d done all he could to make his marriage work. This time he felt compelled to file for divorce.

“In an ideal world, every kid has two parents who love him and who are together,” Smith says. “When that’s not possible, however, having someone like Jeffrey gives you the opportunity to make the best of the circumstances.”

For Smith, now 47, having Liebmann in his corner meant having a steady and calming voice telling him, “You need to function, so that the children aren’t harmed.” It also meant having the support of someone who consistently “took the moral high ground.”

Liebmann is the founding partner of Liebmann Family Law (previously known as Gordon Liebmann Attorneys at Law) in Newtown. Founded in 2008, the firm is one of a handful of firms in Bucks County that focuses exclusively on issues pertaining to divorce—custody, child support, division of property and alimony.

“This is an area of law that people avoid when they get out of law school,” Liebmann says, “because it’s so emotional and you see heartbreaking things.” But Liebmann believes there is no better reward than “really helping people”—especially the children of couples who divorce.

Liebmann has been practicing family law for 25 years.

“You need to insulate the children from what the adults are going through,” he says. He advises clients to get the children involved in some form of therapy early on, providing them with a safe place to discuss the complex issues surrounding a divorce. “It’s not about bringing the therapist into court,” he adds. “It’s about getting the children the help they need.” Liebmann also counsels clients to refrain from saying hurtful or uncomplimentary things about the other parent in the presence of the children: “Don’t destroy the impression that your child has of the other parent. That is your issue. It just hurts [the child].”

Likewise, parents should not tell their children that “you can’t have that because Mommy or Daddy doesn’t pay enough in child support or that Mommy has to go to court for custody,” Liebmann says. “Litigation is for the adults and not for the kids to know.”

Smith chose Liebmann based on a recommendation from someone he trusted.

“[My therapist] said to me, ‘Start with Jeff. I’ve seen him in court. He has the interests of the children at heart,’” Smith says. “When we met, I knew it was true. [Liebmann] asked me ‘How do the children feel? Are they happy? Do they have relatives?’ He thought holistically. The moment I retained [Liebmann], I felt safe.”

Liebmann’s approach is to place control of the situation in the hands of his clients first, advising, “‘See if you can discuss with your ex and come to an agreement.’ You don’t want to irreparably harm your family just to keep your spouse from getting an extra overnight every couple of weeks. You make a concession. Custody litigation is as difficult a process as there is. Nobody wins.”

Mindy Snyder, like Liebmann, has devoted the last 25-plus years to practicing family law, working with firms based in Bucks County. She joined Liebmann’s practice two years ago.

Consistent with the firm’s philosophy of “putting the children first,” Snyder counsels her clients to avoid using social media to say negative things about the other spouse or using the kids to relay messages.

“Sometimes parents aren’t even aware they are doing it,” she says. “You try to emphasize that the most important thing is the stability of the kids. Ask yourself if what you’re doing will affect the child’s ability to have both parents at [his or her] graduation or wedding.”

Snyder appreciates the fact that Liebmann is always compassionate, never dismissive. “If a client wants to talk about his issues, [Liebmann] will talk,” she says. “It’s not about the billable hour all the time. It’s why I joined his office.”

Liebmann Family Law’s team includes four full-time attorneys: Liebmann, Snyder, David Sowerbutts and Jamie Jamison; as well as four legal assistants. “We have over 100 years of combined family law experience,” Liebmann says. “Everybody here has a very special skillset. They are caring and compassionate. I’m very proud of the people working here.”

The firm has created an atmosphere in which any one of the attorneys can step in and handle an emergency. Given the nature of a family law practice, Liebmann and his colleagues are in court three or four days a week.

“Everybody has access to your file to answer your questions,” he says. “That will happen throughout our entire representation; you don’t just have to speak to your attorney to get something done or get help.”

“That office became my extended family,” recalls Smith, who still emails Liebmann with the occasional question even though his divorce was finalized a year ago. Beyond responsiveness, however, is the sheer integrity of how the firm handles the most sensitive of matters with care and respect.

“He is a man of such good character,” Smith says of Liebmann. Today, as a result of Liebmann working so diligently to protect the interests of his client, Smith’s future looks bright—and, more importantly, so does his children’s.

Liebmann Family Law
The Atrium, 4 Terry Drive, Suite 4
Newtown, PA 18940

Photograph by Jody Robinson