My firm was established in 1985. I partnered with two other attorneys for a brief time, but went my own way again in 2004. I have always had an emphasis on family law issues.
My firm focuses on family law issues,
both in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts in Lorain and Cuyahoga Counties. I do limited estate planning and prepare prenuptial agreements and domestic partnership agreements. I also represent clients in civil domestic violence actions. An occasional adoption, guardianship or minor criminal or traffic matter gives me variety and keeps me sharp.
I handle primarily family law cases, mainly divorces and dissolutions where the parties are trying to settle their differences in a mature manner. I practice collaborative law, principled negotiation and mediation. My goal is to help men and women end their marriages in an emotionally healthy way. If a matter ends up going to litigation, I frequently co-counsel the matter with a litigator.
21380 Lorain Road
Fairview Park OH 44126
I offer an initial free consultation to discuss fees, philosophy and the case in general terms for no longer than ½ hour.
For certain criminal cases, there is a fixed fee. Currently, an uncontested driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is $1,500. Lesser misdemeanors in Rocky River Court are $500 for a maximum of two appearances and hourly thereafter.
Generally, I charge $300 per hour but, I occasionally charge less.
Monday through Thursday
10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
I have always had a practice focused on children; first as a social worker and supervisor of child protective services, then as a community planner for children's services. As a divorce practitioner, I have kept a focus on children, whether it is representing a parent or acting as the Guardian ad Litem or appointed counsel for the child. This area of law has an attraction for me because I use the skills I acquired as a social worker, lawyer and community activist every day to help my clients survive the adversarial court system and thrive after the divorce is over.
I feel that the more a client knows about the process and the strategies involved, the better decisions he or she can make. A driving factor behind my philosophy on divorce is that it is the client's divorce, not mine. As such, I strive not to impose my preferences or biases on the client. I may tell the client which option I personally would select, but I feel obligated to tell the client all the relevant options, as well as the pros and cons of each. Basing this advice upon my experience, I then have the client choose the alternative that is right for him or her.
I am willing to review the documents. However, it is my experience that the court is more comfortable with the "standard" documents and I recommend that those be used.
I am willing to coach clients to a certain extent. However, there frequently comes a time when an actual attorney is necessary and I will not continue to coach when I feel it is not in the client's best interest.
Before I became a lawyer, I was a social worker. I worked in the intake department of the Cuyahoga County Welfare Department assessing child abuse and neglect cases, then went to graduate school and served as the director of Child Protective Services for Geauga County for a few years. While I was in law school, I worked for the Federation for Community Planning, an education, research and advocacy organization in Cleveland focusing on at-risk youth. In my capacity as Community Planner, I drafted and advocated for legislation pertaining to abused and neglected children. I also conducted a nationwide research project on emergency shelters for families.
After I graduated from law school, I worked as the Director of the Legal Department and acting Court Administrator for the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. I designed and implemented the Guardian ad Litem program for the court and designed the first child support guidelines in the state of Ohio.
When I left the court, I worked for a non-profit agency called Divorce Equity. We conducted research, education and advocacy on divorce issues. While at Divorce Equity, I designed a do-it-yourself divorce kit and wrote three books on the divorce process: "Getting Out: A Divorce Manual for Women," "Getting Out: A Divorce Manual for Men," and a custody manual. I also designed and implemented a multi-media presentation about the divorce process.
I am aided by my ten years of experience as a social worker with child protective services. I also draw from my time as an advocate for the issues affecting children in divorce and my work within the court system designing programs to help families cope with the effects of divorce on their children.
I am very direct and clear in my communication and I do not pull punches. I am honest and truthful and usually focus on the big picture. I do a lot of hand-holding and I am extremely accessible. My style is informal and easygoing.Personal interests:
I am interested in improving/saving the environment. I love animals, but can't volunteer at a shelter or I would adopt them all. I enjoy reading mystery novels, theater, water aerobics, and volunteering for Legal Aid. I like creating new businesses, programs, political campaigns and gourmet low fat cooking.
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