When confronted with an upsetting situation like divorce, people have a number of important decisions to make, decisions that will determine the course of their future. Among the earliest decisions in the process is selecting an attorney who will be your advocate every step of the way. And since divorce can encapsulate more than just ending a marriage, whether that’s child custody, domestic abuse or estate planning, choosing a firm with comprehensive family law experience is paramount. In South Jersey, there are few who can match the pedigree of Weinberg, Kaplan & Smith, P.A.
Now in its 10th year, Weinberg, Kaplan & Smith (WKS) was co-founded by Dawn Kaplan and Amy Smith, shareholders, and Joseph Weinberg, who has since retired. Joseph’s son, Michael, joined in 2019 and is also a shareholder. The boutique family law practice provides personalized attention while offering the full breadth of experience found at larger firms, and is able to resolve complex personal, financial and professional challenges in court or by taking alternative avenues.
WKS’ reputation and track record of helping clients navigate this sensitive time has contributed to its growth. In addition to its three shareholders, the WKS team includes former associate Luke Griffith, who is now partner, and three associates: Jill Dell’Aquilo, Alexandra Rigden and Meagan Hart. They have also formed a relationship with local attorney Ted Baker, who will serve as Of Counsel and brings expertise in cases involving New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency.
Kaplan speaks for all of the attorneys and staff at WKS when she says this is more than a job for them. “There is a certain level of care our firm and staff give to clients given the emotional situation they are in and can be in for a long period as their matter proceeds forward,” she says. “Each client is extremely important to us, and we understand that every family, child and situation is unique, so we make sure to approach each one with compassion in such a sensitive area of the law.”
The individual attorneys at WKS understand how working together benefits the client, especially when it comes to litigation. “One of the strengths we all share is that we’re all equipped to handle litigated matters. There are alternatives out there that don’t involve the court, but there are situations where the parties don’t see eye to eye and every issue is highly contested,” Kaplan says. “We have to be prepared to present our client’s position with evidence to back it up and be able to articulate it to a judge who will make the final decision.”
Clients are also able to consider the perspectives offered by the different attorneys. Kaplan, who has more than two decades of experience, finds it rewarding to guide new associates in this aspect of law, but can also learn from them. “It’s always refreshing to have the viewpoint of younger associates because the world has changed, especially as we see more people getting divorced at an earlier age. It’s important to consider their perspective on these issues,” she says.
Kaplan says she often relates to clients on a personal level. As someone who has been divorced and is now remarried into a blended family that includes her two children and two step-children, Kaplan says she understands the challenges but also the rewards of a blended family.
“I can share that it wasn’t always easy but I am truly blessed and I believe my personal knowledge not only gives more credit to how I’m helping clients navigate through, but it shows there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is an ability for them to be happy again, even if they weren’t the ones who initiated the divorce,” she says.
She doesn’t shy away from sharing her authentic self, which includes the balancing act so many working parents experience. “Running my own firm is a 24/7 job and I feel like I owe it to my clients to be readily available, but it’s a tough balance being a mom of four and a wife,” Kaplan admits. But at the end of the day, she wouldn’t change a thing.
“This job is so rewarding because I’m helping people through real-life decisions. … I am doing something I truly love and making a difference for my clients and their families, as well as their children,” she says. “I’m there with them through this difficult, stressful and emotional time and we see them grow through all of this change to start a new chapter in their lives. And more often than not, that change turns out to be for the better for themselves and their children.”
Weinberg, Kaplan & Smith, P.A.
8000 Sagemore Drive, Suite 8301
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 12.
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