Meet Nancy Zalusky Berg

Family law attorney Nancy Zalusky Berg discusses various issues of her practice here and advice to potential clients.

Contact Nancy Zalusky Berg

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (612) 335-4296

Transcript:

My philosophy is that we’re problem solvers, that it’s our job, when a human being presents us with a problem, to use all the tools that we’re equipped with, whether it’s the law, legislative solutions, media solutions, any available resource to try to solve the problem. And that’s why I think it’s so important to be creative in the practice of law because it doesn’t take much to do legal research. It doesn’t take much to go find the statues and the cases.

But what it takes a lot of is the ability to synthesize the information that’s contained in the cases, the directions you get form the law, from the statues, and apply it to the problem that you’re phased with right now. And how can you use all of that creatively to try and help the family?

Because we do family law, we end up dealing with a lot of family dysfunction and issues that, in other parts of the world, are considered domestic violence. Unfortunately, the United States is quite far behind on the concepts of domestic violence for most of the other Western nations. So, coercive control is a dynamic that occurs in many marriages, particularly where one spouse has sacrificed in order to rear children the ability to manage and control their own money and access to resources.

And as the stress and strains of marriages progress with the birth of children and all of that, very often you’ll find that the in-the-money spouse, stereotypically the husband, is in control of the resources and fails to share passwords to bank accounts, can control the credit limit on a credit card. The credit limit one day might be $3,000.00 and the next day it might be $250.00. So, you have a spouse with children who never knows form day to day whether they’re going to be able to put gas in the car or buy groceries.

That kind of coercive control is extremely debilitating and difficult to prove. I wrote a paper on it that I would love to link to this called “Scrooge and the Spendthrift.” And it’s about the kind of financial control that can become abusive.

It’s advice I give to my young lawyers as well, which is “It’s not my fault. I didn’t tell you to marry him. I didn’t tell you to have babies with him. At the end of the day, I’m gonna do the very best that I can to get you out of this situation, but it’s not my life. These were not choices I made.”

Which is different than some other kinds of cases, where as an officer of the court, you tend to feel somewhat responsible for the – for instance in employment law. The law itself is so unfavorable to an employee who’s seeking redress for sexual harassment, which is the topic of the day. The law is very difficult there, and as an officer of the court you end of feeling kind of responsible.

The nice thing about family law is that you really are trying to help somebody sort out their problems of choices they made that you had no involvement in.