Our practice focuses on all areas of family law, including adoptions, divorce, child custody and parent time, child support, spousal support, division of real and personal property, modifications of divorce decrees, paternity matters, guardianships (for minors and adults), grandparent visitation, termination of parental rights, protective orders, name changes, and annulments. Each of these matters evokes very emotional, personal feelings and need the support of caring and understanding professionals. This prompted me to focus my practice on family law issues. I truly care about my clients and realize that for them, the current legal process in which they are engaged, may be life changing. They need the best possible representation, while at the same time receiving the emotional understanding and support necessary to help them through each day. I am a strong advocate of mediation and out-of-court settlement of family law issues whenever possible.
My firm, Mary Jane Whisenant, Attorney at Law, was established in early 2002. In 2010, I have branched out with an associate, Ashley Burton, and changed our name to Whisenant Law Firm PLLC. Ashley worked for our firm several years ago as an intern while she was in law school at Brigham Young University, and has since spent two years clerking for Utah Supreme Court Justice Michael Wilkins. She is excited to resume her focus on family law matters and will be a great asset to our practice. She is extremely competent, caring and able to work effectively with clients.
Due to attorney-client privilege, I am unable to list example cases.
39 Exchange Place
Salt Lake City UT 84111
Consultations are $150, up to an hour.
For certain uncontested matters, specifically guardianships, adoptions and divorces, I offer a flat rate, typically $1,000 plus the filing fee. Divorces are more if there are children, due to the extra paperwork required.
My rates are $200 per hour. The hourly rate for my associate, Ashley Burton, is less.
Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
I can't distinguish between my decision to go to law school, my life as a mother and grandmother, and my choice of family law. They are intricately intertwined--I decided to go to law school specifically to practice family law. I knew it would bring the opportunity to help people when they needed someone who would be caring and understanding of their needs. Divorce, child custody, adoptions, guardianships--all are situations that invoke strong emotions, stress, and many questions. I consistently try hard to meet those needs and answer those questions for my clients.
I try to make sure my clients have an understanding of the law regarding each legal issue in their case by reviewing the issues and the law with the client. If appropriate, I encourage them to read books, especially on child custody and parent time issues, to help them make good choices. At the end of the day, the client and the attorney must agree on the direction the case will take, and the more the client understands, the greater likelihood for a satisfactory long-term outcome. I always give clients the opportunity to review and approve documents and letters before the documents are filed or mailed. Email is a great tool to quickly give a client the opportunity to review and comment or suggest changes to documents related to their case.
I am always willing to review documents that have been prepared by clients, and incorporate the client's ideas and preferences in the final pleadings. However, it is usually more efficient and cost effective to review and understand the client's work, but use my own pleadings for submission to the court.
Attorneys are expensive and many people contact attorneys for advice but cannot afford the hourly rate for extended representation. I am willing to meet with clients, answer questions, review documents and give advice on how to handle a given matter. In some cases, when the issues are not complicated and money is an issue, I guide clients to resources where they can prepare their own documents that I will then review with them. For this kind of coaching I bill the client at my usual hourly rate. However, I will also be candid and explain that certain matters are better handled by attorneys. Many people spend a great deal of money trying to fix or change orders that resulted because they were trying to save money by representing themselves.
After graduating from Brigham Young University Law School, I was an associate with the law firm Wamsley and Associates, LLC, prior to starting my own firm.
As a mother of seven and a grandmother of twenty, I have a great appreciation for the unequaled importance of family and preserving the best interests of children. I want to do my best work to preserve the best possible outcomes for my clients and their children. I am a good listener and have the ability to provide encouragement through difficult times. My life experience gives me appreciation for family situations that arise in the lives of my clients, whether they are divorcing, adopting children or grandchildren, becoming guardians for their parents, or modifying Divorce Decrees due to changing circumstances.
In our firm we try to treat everyone with respect and care. We make an effort to return phone calls and respond to messages within a 24-hour period and to be accessible when clients need help. We are honest and frank with clients, and will not promise results that are unrealistic. Our goal is to help clients understand the law in relation to their case so that together we can make informed decisions to achieve the best possible outcome in each case.Personal interests:
Family activities have a high priority. In addition I try to walk regularly, read, garden, and enjoy the many activities abundantly available in the great state of Utah.
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