I have been practicing family law in Washington state since 1992. Family law is likely one of the most difficult areas of legal practice and many lawyers opt out of practicing family law early in their careers. Family law is about life-good and not so good. It is about good relationships preserved with prenuptial agreements or post-nuptial agreements. It is about adoptions and children being wanted and loved. It is about custody battles, parenting plans, and third-party custody petitions because parents are unfit to care for their children so third-parties come forward to provide a fit home. Family law is about betrayals, disagreements, hurts, failures, and sometimes abuse of the children, the spouse/partner, or even self. Family law is emotional and raw. People are at their worst and their lives are falling apart. As a general rule, I am disinclined to believe that there are winners when it comes to family law. However, when my client is a parent who puts the children first and the Court sees and acknowledges that reality, I revel in the fact that my client and the children have won what is right. I care very much about what is reasonable, just, fair and equitable under the circumstances of a particular case; and, I believe that it is my job to educate the client as to what this means under the law and the discretion of the decision-maker. As a family law attorney, I also believe that it is my job to help the client navigate the legal system so that the decision-maker knows the what and the why of the client's requested relief.
I have practiced family law primarily since becoming a member of the Washington State Bar in 1992. Prior to law school, I worked in law firms in San Francisco to get a feel for law and confirm that I wanted to become a lawyer. I also volunteered at the San Francisco Bar Association's Legal Clinic for Battered Women from 1986 to 1987. I went to law school in St. Paul, Minnesota, and later transferred to the University of Puget Sound Law School (now known as Seattle University). While attending William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, I was a law clerk for Professor Christine Jones between April 1989 to June 1991. I researched federal jurisdiction issues and prepared legal memoranda regarding parental kidnapping issues. I also worked as an intern for the Hennepin County, Minnesota, Public Defender's Office between October 1989 and April 1990. In June 1990, I began a summer internship with Judge LaJune Lange of the Fourth Judicial District. In September 1990, I relocated to the Puget Sound and finished law school as a visiting student at UPS. While completing my law school education, I worked as a legal assistant for a family law attorney in Seattle, and also worked as a contract law clerk in family law. These experiences gave me the practical experience needed to open my own family law office fresh after law school.
I opened my law office in November 1992 and initially practiced regularly in both Pierce County and King County. I have continued to practice family law since that date. In approximately 1994 to 1995, I taught two family law paralegal classes at Highline Community College in the ABA-approved paralegal program as an adjunct instructor of family law.
I am passionate about family law issues, because I am passionate about children and preserving and improving family relationships, which are challenged by family endings. I also recognize the trauma of dealing with the end of a relationship on a personal and emotional level as well as financially. It is tough for people going through family endings to realize that the chance for a better and new family beginning is on the other side of the pain they are currently experiencing.
I am a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Collaborative Professionals of Pierce County, and the Collaborative Professionals of Washington. As a collaborative family law attorney, I assist clients in resolving their family law issues in a respectful and responsible way outside of Court. When the case is not suited for collaborative resolution, then I will advocate for you and your children in court.
Collaborative Professionals of Washington Member 2010 - Present
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals Member 2010 - Present
Pierce County Collaborative Law Professionals 2010 - Present
Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association, Bar Convention Committee 1998 - Present
Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association Member 1993 - Present
Washington State Bar Association Member 1992 - Present
King County Collaborative Law
Washington Mediation Association, Certified Mediator
Domestic Relations Attorneys of Washington