Law Offices of Russo & Prince, LLP

Certified Family Law Specialist - Mediation

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Firm Overview

Russo & Prince, LLP was established in 1994, and Partner Brenda Russo has been a practicing attorney since 1986.

Our family law attorneys practice solely family law - divorce, legal separation, nullity, child custody, child custody mediation, minor's counsel, support issues, property division & valuation, step-parent adoption, guardianships, grandparent visitation, contested paternity, establishing parentage or paternity, and same-sex legal matters (including second parent adoption, establishing parentage, and domestic partnerships). We also have a well established history of providing effective and compassionate mediation and collaborative divorce services in all family law and custody matters. Attorneys Brenda Russo and Shannon Elms are members of the Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group. Attorney Brenda Russo also offers Private Judging in all family law matters. See our website for more information about whether one of these options may be right for you.

A Message from Attorney and Founding Partner Brenda Russo:

I have served a large portion of my career in representing children on a court-appointed basis in both family law and juvenile dependency matters. I approach the practice of family law with strong consideration on issues regarding how children are handled and treated in the court process. One of my most basic beliefs is that child custody disputes are not best resolved by the court, and that other methods of dispute resolution are typically best for most families. Such other methods include private mediation and collaborative practice with other skilled professionals (often referred to as Collaborative Divorce).

In this practice, we strongly believe that children should not be required to bear the burden of their parents' failed relationship. We share a strong commitment to obtaining child-focused resolutions, and clients are encouraged to do likewise.
Although we strive to keep children out of court to the extent possible, we are nonetheless aware that these processes require that both parties are behaving reasonably. This is truly not always the case. For this reason, I, and my colleagues, are prepared to do whatever may be necessary to assist our clients in protecting their best interests and achieving the best possible outcome. This often means advocating for our clients in court, and taking our cases to trial when that will achieve the best resolution. I, and the wonderful family law attorneys with whom I have the pleasure of working, have many years of experience handling family law trials on a diverse range of complex and novel legal issues. We bring this experience to the table at every stage of the litigation.

Example cases

We do not release our clients' names due to confidentiality.

Main Office

Main
One Harbor Center
Suite 230
Suisun City  CA  94585

Phone
  • (707) 427-6777
Fax
  • (707) 427-1233

Fees

Free Initial Consultation?

$100 for the first 30 min initial consultation appointment in family law matters. Free consultation in all criminal matters.

Services Offered For Fixed Fees?

All family law services are billed hourly. Criminal cases may be retained for a flat fee.

Hourly Rates

Please contact our office at your convenience to discuss our hourly rates and requested retainer.

Office Information

Office Hours

Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Emergency After Hours

No

Divorce
The Law Offices of Russo & Prince maintains a vigorous and highly experienced family law practice, assisting families throughout Solano County in all family law and custody matters, including guardianship, adoption and same-sex relationship matters.
The Solano County office of Russo & Prince was established in 1994 by attorneys Brenda Russo and Leslie Prince. The partners wished to provide skilled, effective, and compassionate family law and criminal defense representation to individuals and families. The partners saw a need for dedicated legal professionals in these areas, and wished to work collaboratively to fill this need in Solano County and the surrounding communities. Our depth of experience, combined with our deep level of commitment to our clients, lead to excellent results and satisfied clients in all areas of our practice. We handle all criminal and family law matters in Solano County, as well as mediation and private judging services throughout the Bay Area, Napa, Yolo and Sacramento areas.

California divorce law allows for the dissolution of marriage on the no-fault ground of irreconcilable differences. While the divorce itself is not difficult to obtain, unless the parties can agree on all the collateral issues, such as the division of community property, the payment of child support or spousal support, and child custody, these matters will be decided by the family law judge. These issues apply as well to a legal separation. Whether negotiating, mediating, or litigating the important issues in your divorce, it is essential to be well-represented by effective legal counsel in order to protect your interests and not be taken advantage of. Divorce orders are final and can impact your future and your children's future for years to come. Getting it right the first time requires the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney.

At the Law Offices of Russo & Prince, we handle all manner of complex and routine family law and custody matters, including: divorce, annulment, legal separation, post-judgment modifications, child custody and visitation(including modification of parenting schedules & move-away requests), child support, spousal support (alimony), domestic violence restraining orders, attorney fees requests, property and retirement division and valuation, business division and valuation, establishing parentage or paternity, step-parent adoption, guardianship, conservatorship, domestic partnership, second-parent adoption, disputed paternity, establishing presumed parent status, private judging, seeking appointment of a guardian ad litem, family law mediation, and collaborative divorce.

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

My primary area of practice at this point in my career, is related to child custody and divorce. I chose this area of practice over the course of many years of working with families and children in the court process, and coming to a point of recognizing how harmful that process can be for those involved. My goal as a child custody and family law practitioner is to obtain the best results for my clients -- while simultaneously serving what I hope to be the best interests of their children. In this way, it is always my goal to minimize the harm that parental conflict and unwarranted litigation can have on families, spouses, and children.

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

Pro per litigants should take steps to become informed regarding their legal rights, as well as how to navigate their court proceedings. However, it is also important to be very careful concerning what sources of information to trust, because there is an abundance of misinformation disseminated on the Internet, through acquaintances, and even by various legal sources.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

Unfortunately, I do not review pro per documents. Pro per litigants may contact the Family Law Facilitator's office for assistance.

Is your firm willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?

We do not provide this service.

Brenda Russo Woolsey

Prior to opening the Law Offices of Russo & Prince, I ran Legal Services for Children in Solano County with my former law partner.

Throughout my years of practicing law involving families and children, I have come to recognize with absolute clarity that, taking child custody issues into court is often not the method of resolution that benefits families or children. On the contrary, for many reasons, taking child custody issues into court is often extremely harmful and costly to all involved. As a result of having many years of experience litigating custody disputes in the court system, I recognize the flaws in the system as it relates to children and families. In this time, I have gained a great deal of insight into the value of skilled mediation as a method of resolving custody disputes. Having been trained as a mediator, and after having worked with many families in an effort to resolve issues relating to how to share custody of their children, I am often amazed that most people still find their way into the court as a means of resolving custody issues, rather than into the office of a competent mediator. I believe that my understanding of how and why the legal system is ill- equipped to deal with families and children has given me a strong awareness of how and why mediation, in most cases, is the preferred method of resolving child custody disputes.

Skill, experience, compassion and commitment.

Personal interests:

Although we are dedicated to advocating for our clients in all manner of contested family law litigation, we also specialize in experienced mediation services in family law matters.

License
  • Bar Number: 124921
    California , 1986
Education
  • John F. Kennedy University
    Juris Doctorate
    Pleasant Hill, CA

Shannon Elms

Ms. Elms joined the Law Offices of Russo & Prince in January of 2004, where she has dedicated her practice to the various areas of Family Law. Prior to joining Russo & Prince, Ms. Elms worked as a law clerk, performing legal research in the Family Law Division of Matthew Bender's Legal Publishing Corporation. Ms. Elms also has a pre-law background in financial services.

During her many years at Russo & Prince, Ms. Elms has represented and assisted numerous clients in resolving a variety of legal matters, both in court as well as through out-of-court negotiations and agreements. She has successfully represented countless spouses, parents, grandparents, and children in various family law cases, including child custody cases, complex disputes over property division, parentage and paternity cases, as well as both routine and complex dissolution of marriage and legal separation cases. She has been qualified as a court-appointed attorney for children, is a certified family law mediator, is a trained Collaborative Law practitioner, and has represented both children and adults in Family Court and Dependency Court proceedings.

Ms. Elms also has extensive experience successfully representing clients in guardianship cases, step-parent adoptions, complex parentage and/or paternity cases, as well as successfully establishing legal parenting rights for non-biological parents and same-sex couples.

Education
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law
    JD , 2003

John Carella

John Carella joined the Law Offices of Russo & Prince in January of 2006. Throughout his time at Russo & Prince, Mr. Carella has focused his practice on all areas of family law, including family law litigation. Mr. Carella obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame, and his Juris Doctorate at the University of San Francisco, School of Law.

Mr. Carella practices exclusively in the area of family law, including dissolution of marriage (divorce), annulment, and legal separation, as well as spousal support (alimony), child custody, visitation, child support, division of assets and debts of all types (including valuation and allocation of assets), marital settlement, post-marital and prenuptial agreements, paternity issues, grandparent rights, modification of existing orders and post-judgment modifications, standard family law tax matters, and initiation and defense of both domestic violence and civil harassment restraining orders.

Education
  • University of San Francisco, School of Law
    J.D.

Robin Birnbaum

Prior to joining the Law Offices of Russo & Prince, Ms. Birnbaum attended college at Arizona State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a focus on women's studies and racial and ethnic relations. After graduating, she entered law school at John F. Kennedy University School of Law, where she was President-elect and co-founder of the Law Student Association. While in law school, Ms. Birnbaum spent two semesters as an intern for Bay Area Legal Aid, working closely with court staff and assisting pro per litigants applying for domestic violence restraining orders. She also interned for the Legal Aid Society, Contra Costa County Juvenile Dependency Program, where she represented indigent parents and children in Juvenile Dependency Court. It was her experience in Dependency Court that instilled the desire to assist families and children during what is often the most challenging and difficult periods of their lives.

Upon passing the California Bar Exam in 2010, Ms. Birnbaum obtained a position as a family law attorney with the Law Offices of Russo & Prince. Ms. Birnbaum was drawn to the Law Offices of Russo & Prince based on her desire to work in a friendly, collegial and collaborative environment where the needs of the client come first.

Ms. Birnbaum is currently a member of the California Bar Association, the Contra Costa Bar Association, and the Solano County Bar Association. She is also a certified mediator.
Education
  • John F. Kennedy University School of Law
    J.D. , 2010

Leslie Prince

Leslie Prince graduated from Hastings Law School in San Francisco in 1981. While in law school, Ms. Prince was a writer and editor for Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly. In addition, she worked as a judicial extern for the late California Court of Appeals Justice Sidney Feinberg, and as a research assistant for the late Hastings Law Professor Leo Kanowitz. Ms. Prince has been an attorney in private practice for over 25 years, and was a sole practitioner in Alameda County for over ten years before coming to Solano County in 1994 to become a principal in the Law Offices of Russo and Prince.

Ms. Prince practices in the area of criminal defense at both the trial and appellate levels. She represents both adults and juveniles in all types of criminal matters, including homicides, drug offenses (possession, possession for sale, transportation, manufacturing, being under the influence, etc.), assault and battery, domestic violence, driving under the influence, theft crimes (robbery, burglary, receiving stolen property, grand theft, shoplifting, embezzlement, petty theft, identity theft, etc.), fraud, and sex crimes. Ms. Prince has extensive trial experience and substantial knowledge of criminal procedure.

In addition to criminal trial work, Ms. Prince also has extensive experience handling criminal appellate cases, and has represented adult and juvenile criminal defendants in numerous direct appeals, and on petitions for writ of habeas corpus, mandate and/or review, in the California Appellate Courts, the California Supreme Court, and the Federal Courts. Ms. Prince handles private appeals, and is also a panel attorney for the First District Appellate Project in San Francisco, the organization that works with the California Court of Appeal regarding the appointment of private attorneys to represent indigent criminal defendants on appeal.

Ms. Prince was recently chosen to author a chapter of the book, Defense Strategies for Drug Crimes, which was published by Thomson Reuters/Aspatore in 2010. Ms. Prince wrote the chapter of the book entitled Defending Drug Crimes, and also provided several sample briefs which are included as appendices in the book and which Ms. Prince wrote for some of the drug cases she has handled in the trial courts in recent years.

Education
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law
    J.D. , 1981

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