After Meas Sithorn, 26, graduated in late 2011 at the head of her class, she became an attorney at Lawyer Club of Cambodia, and also lectures law at a university.
Having worked as a lawyer for nearly two years now Sithorn picked a specialisation many Cambodians may yet be unfamiliar with: 70 to 80 per cent of all cases Sithorn deals with are related to divorce.
Mostly people aged 20 to 30 years got divorced these days according to Sithorn.
The cause of marriage problems for younger people is usually due to their young age, the divorce lawyer explained. Middle-aged couples usually complained about an absence of trust – especially when money was involved in the love as well, and for freshly married couples troubles usually popped up because of interference of family or other outsiders.
Sithorn told LIFT that divorce cases mostly revolved around problems women had inside the marriage and the family.
For a divorce layer, according to Sithorn, most time is spent searching for evidence so as to leave no doubt about the actual circumstances of why the couple’s wish to part and their financial situation. Nearly 80 per cent of all cases she dealt with could be negotiated and handled outside the court.
“I always encourage couples to get back living together. I feel great when they can put their arms around each other again. The couple is always grateful when they found a way to get back together.” Sithorn said with a smile.
Every job has its own challenges. As a female divorce lawyer Sithorn described her work as sometimes frightening such as when she was threatened during her investigation of cases. She once was blamed for the problem and often hears comments like: “It’s not your business, it’s my family’s problem.”
Sithorn however already has an answer prepared in answer to this challenge. “Lawyers do not work for all parties involved at all times in order to know how to solve the problem. I try to explain people that I do my work with high commitment.”
Can a divorce lawyer who sees so much unhappiness in a marriage still advise to marry at all?
For Sithorn marriage remained people’s personal decision, adding that people were human and not necessarily happy at all times. They still needed to know how to deal with their situation. Life demanded mutual respect for each other – even though divorce was not easy and happy the lawyer said.
Apart from that Sithorn believes people should think about their children’s future and career before they break up.
“Nothing is more important than family. Family is the heart of society. If couples understand to value each other, they will not divorce easily. If people create happiness in their family, society will be happy too.” She said.