In 2012, Offit Kurman family law attorney Cheryl Hepfer was sworn in as the President of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML), which is comprised of 700 of the most highly-regarded family law attorneys throughout the world. Ms. Hepfer also maintains a blog on the IAML website. In one of her first posts, “IAML PRESS RELEASE: Forced Marriage Statement,” Ms. Hepfer takes a stand against the practice of Forced Marriage.
“It was at our meeting last year, in Singapore, that Anne-Marie Hutchinson, OBE, and other speakers brought this issue to our attention,” writes Ms. Hepfer. “Our efforts to educate and inform will play but a small role in promoting change. But we, as family lawyers, must take a stand.”
Forced Marriage is a fundamental breach of human rights. And it is a global phenomenon, not restricted to Third-World countries, or to any one area of the world. It is happening in towns and cities in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and even the United States. Because of this, many nations have, or are in the process of formulating legal responses to the practice of Forced Marriage to ensure that the practice ceases.
“It has been the willingness of the world-wide community to look the other way that has allowed this deplorable practice to spread and continue,” explains the IAML in a press release. “We hope to begin the dialogue that will focus attention to this human rights violation.”
The International Academy of Matrimonial lawyers will concentrate on development of victim-focused remedies in all jurisdictions through the following initiatives:
- Civil legislation and a victim-focused use of family law practice
- Education and awareness-raising worldwide
- The continued commitment of IAML family law specialists to ensure that victims of this practice are provided assistance so as to be able to rebuild their lives
- To support intentional standards and cooperation
“We hope that our actions will have a significant impact in eliminating this practice, which is more prevalent, world-wide, than most of us realize,” explained Ms. Hepfer.
Founded in 1986, IAML was formed to improve the practice of law and administration of justice in the area of divorce and family law throughout the world. IAML enables Fellows practicing international family law to obtain legal assistance of the highest caliber.
If you have any questions about Forced Marriage, please contact Offit Kurman family law attorney Cheryl Hepfer at 240.507.1752 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Ms. Hepfer guides her clients to a resolution of their family matters through her expertise in family law and domestic law, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, the collaborative process, or litigation.