Mediation & Law Offices of Vivian L. Holley

Mediation & Law Offices of  Vivian L. Holley

Vivian Holley's goal is to help families resolve their separation and divorces in a positive cost-effective way and to protect children in divorcing families. She aims for win-win solutions and protection if consultations or litigation are needed.

Firm Overview

If your preference is peaceful cost-effective resolution, then the lawyers with the Mediation and Law Offices of Vivian L. Holley offer a wide array of options maximizing your likelihood of getting the result you seek in a cost effective manner. She and her associated attorneys offer all the legal options and solutions to achieve the right balance of outcome, cost and fairness.

Ms. Holley has been helping clients achieve amicable and just settlements in family law matters including Divorce and Premarital Agreements for over 37 years. She is one of the most experienced, accomplished and resourceful practitioners in the field of family law. As an attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist and also as a Licensed Marriage Family Child Therapist, Ms. Holley is an expert at creating parenting plans for the children in divorcing families. She and her associates also provide representation in traditional litigation should that be your best alternative.

A leader in the field of mediation in the United States since 1977, Ms. Holley has offered confidential mediation solutions in her practice well before most practitioners heard of the concept. She is regarded and has been honored as an expert practitioner by her colleagues. Ms. Holley also practices Integrative Mediation with a co-Mediator and Collaborative Law, which are other more peaceful and confidential ways to resolve disputes and offer lower cost alternatives to traditional litigation. The firm also offers consulting services as well as legal support for clients who wish to represent themselves, and litigation services for clients who need custody, support, or protection for themselves, their children, or their assets.

In addition to Ms. Holley her associate James Blackman has been a family lawyer since 1970 with a wide range of experience. In contested and high conflict family law cases, the firm also associates with Nathan James of the Lombard Law Group, who is a Certified Family Law Specialist, former San Francisco Deputy District Attorney, and experienced litigator who views family law cases through a trial lawyer's eyes with an objective of settlement out of court. Together the two firms provide the full spectrum of services in family law.


- Family Law
- Mediation
- Divorce and Separation
- Child Custody and Visitation
- Child Support
- Collaborative Law
- Pre-nuptial Agreements
- Probate
Main Office
2135 Lombard Street, Second Floor
San Francisco  CA  94123
  • (415) 474-1011
  • (415) 441-8102
Divorce Mediation
Experienced Mediator Mediation Option
Mediation is a private, confidential and cooperative process where both parties are encouraged to work together toward an equitable resolution. In mediation, the clients make their own decisions with guidance from the mediator. As a neutral who listens carefully to each side, the mediator helps fashion a resolution fair to all parties. Vivian Holley is an experienced Mediator based in the San Francisco Bay Area who for the last 37 years has served clients from all over the world. She is particularly protective of the children keeping the children's interest in the forefront in any separation or divorce. She counsels her clients and assists them in creating a parenting plan which takes into account the needs of the children.

Mediation is not only an appropriate vehicle for resolving disputes, but it can also help establish agreements from the beginning which will prevent future problems from arising. For instance, pre-marital agreements or business entity formations can benefit from the input of a trained, experienced mediator who facilitates discussion of important issues and allows you to create a framework for resolution. Whether you are joining or separating lives, disputing property or custody, forming or dissolving a business, or wrestling with knotty estate, trust, and probate issues, mediation with Ms. Holley provides a cost-effective and timely approach to reach a fair solution and to find peace of mind.

In family law matters including divorces, Ms. Holley usually mediates alone with couples and parties without additional costly attorneys present. CPAs, appraisers, realtors, pension evaluators or other neutral experts are engaged if needed. Ms. Holley's office prepares all the legal paper work if both parties request that service. Consulting attorneys for the parties may be present at the mediation sessions if the clients request their attendance.
Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative Law Option
Collaborative Law is a private, confidential and cooperative practice which utilizes specially trained attorneys to reach a fair resolution good for the whole family. The attorneys and other professionals, who may be called upon such as skilled financial experts and coaches, commit to resolve a conflict using a cooperative rather than an adversarial approach. In the Bay Area, San Francisco collaborative law practice allows the parties to avoid going to court while still retaining the advantages of advocacy provided by their respective attorneys. The collaborative divorce practice approach works best when the parties and their collaborative attorneys in San Francisco and the Bay Area are committed to honesty, cooperation, professionalism, compassion, and integrity.

Ms. Holley is a Collaborative Attorney who serves as an advocate for one party while a separate collaborative lawyer represents the other party. She uses her communication and listening skills to ensure everyone is fully heard and the concerns of all involved, including the children in child custody matters are understood and respected. Everyone agrees in writing that the matter will be resolved outside of court. The Collaborative method provides fair and equitable results for all parties involved and protects the children in divorcing families.

The difference between mediation and collaborative law is that in mediation, Ms. Holley is an impartial expert helping to frame and create solutions in the interests of both parties and the children, while in collaborative law, she is an advocate for her client as well as the family, working in concert with the other party and his/her attorney and any other professional team members to reach an equitable settlement between the parties. In her role as an advocate for the family, Ms. Holley also ensures that the children are protected with a parenting plan designed to include the best interests of the children.

Ms. Holley represents couples and their families in San Francisco and the surrounding areas and helps solve their personal matters by using collaborative family law divorce techniques. As a San Francisco divorce lawyer, family lawyer, divorce mediator, child custody mediator, and Licensed Family Therapist, Ms. Holley uses her vast experience of solving more than 2,000 matters to provide a peaceful and amicable approach to family law.
Separation & Divorce
Separation and divorce are one of the most emotionally difficult and often painful times in adults and children's lives. Not only are the parties asked to find their way through the break-down of their personal relationship with their spouse, but at the same time they must find the financial resources to continue the family and look after everyone's well-being while they are apart in two separate households.

Whether or not financial resources are scarce or economic circumstances are such that the family will suffer a large loss of equity, it is imperative for the parties to work together to seek the best resolution for themselves and all members of the family, despite any bitter or acrimonious feelings which have arisen during the break-up. It is essential to find professionals such as Ms. Holley and Mr. Blackman who will listen to your situation and help you find the path best suited for all involved.
Family, Juvenile & Elder Law
Family matters include the welfare of children and elder dependent adults. Child-rearing issues and decisions about the child's upbringing are issues parents generally feel strongly about. These issues can be especially sensitive, leading to rancorous legal battles which often result in court-imposed decisions and family divisions that can last for generations.

Mediation with a skilled attorney such as Ms. Holley, who is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, can help to deflate the emotions and protect the children. Ms. Holley's office also represents parents who have lost their children through the Department of Social Services and wish to be re-instated as parents. Ms. Holley and Mr. Blackman also represent relatives seeking guardianship or adoption of children currently under their care.

We have also assisted in cases where exploitation or abuse of elder family members for financial gain is suspected. Elder abuse matters can be similarly emotional and traumatic for families, leading to legal battles and resulting in court-imposed conservatorships and family divisions. Mediation is the best process to resolve family conflicts and help families to heal.

What distinguishes your law firm from others?

Here's what our clients are saying:

"Vivian Holley is perfect for anyone who needs guidance, representation, or mediation regarding any steps in a divorce process. Divorces can be very painful and difficult. Vivian Holley is the perfect lawyer to assist you and help you. She is very professional, offers perfect information, looks after her client's best interest. As a mediator she is absolutely stellar! I give her 100% positive rating, and she is worth every dollar she charges for her services. She helped me bring my divorce to an end in just 3 mediation sessions, which all other lawyers failed to accomplish. What I like the most about her is that she does exactly what her client wants her to do for them. In a divorce case that's crucial."

"If you or your friends are in search for highly qualified family law attorney with 34 years of experiences in divorce and mediation, I feel I got a perfect match for you. Vivian Holley has great professional experience in doing the job as a divorce attorney with the major tasks and responsibilities focusing on solving any problems related to a very complicated divorce issues and problems with high level of success. Vivian is a very motivated person and works in a team with another talented attorney James Blackman. Vivian and Jim were very attentive to MY needs during my complex divorce and they saw me through the tough times I had during my divorce. I would say that Vivian is the very best family law attorney in San Francisco, California!"

"After separating, I entered into mediation with my ex-spouse to settle our marriage in what I hoped would be an amicable and fair ending. When the mediator suggested we also consider what the law in the matter was, and that it didn't serve my ex's interests, it became clear that mediation was not going to work. I realized I needed a lawyer and a friend recommended Vivian Holley. I liked that Vivian specialized in mediation and also 'Collaborative Law,' rather than litigation, so that we could end our marriage as painlessly, harmoniously and inexpensively as possible. I wanted to make sure she was not just 'ok' but 'really good,' so I interviewed many of SF's top divorce attorneys and an internationally known mediator who said Vivian is very good. It was a good thing, because my ex hired a high powered SF divorce attorney (from a firm that the SF attorneys told me, 'You go to this lawyer if you want to give your ex a hard time...They just wear you down and don't care about how they get the result.'). As it turned out, Vivian's interpretation of the law was accurate and my ex's was not (surrounding 'Separate Property' claims). My ex's lawyer feigned to cooperate but did not with the intent to wear me down. Vivian had me pull together all my records documenting the facts and when I filed a motion with the court, my ex backed down and she fired her lawyer and agreed to hire a collaborative lawyer (that Vivian identified) to represent her and Vivian representing me - out of court. While the process was painful, we ultimately resolved the situation and did so without expensive litigation. My ex's attorney made the incorrect assumption that just because Vivian prefers to collaborate, that she would buckle. Vivian did not buckle and, I believe me and my family were better off because of her knowledge of the law and how she advised and handled me and, indirectly, my ex."

Vivian L. Holley, J.D., M.F.T.

Prior to opening my own firm, I worked in the mid 70's for Rudolph G. Kraft and our case, "In re Marriage of Cadematori", was a published community property rights case.

My work as a family and youth therapist. My clients appreciate that I take the time with them to listen and understand their real concerns on a human level and to balance their concerns with the financial and legal issues at hand.

I have the ability to listen to and really understand our clients' concerns, and then to formulate a plan to bring about the best resolution to their problems, be it through thorough, well-thought-out declarations filed with the court in matters where we do traditional representation, or facilitating an amicable resolution through mediation or collaborative law with both parties together.

Legal representation calls for a different style and skills than mediation and collaborative law. When I represent a client, I go all out to give them the best protection under the law that is available. Our court papers are thorough and usually request multiple forms of relief to ensure success. In mediation I try to listen and find a resolution that takes care of both parties' needs to the highest extent possible. I take pride in the fact that no client will leave my office with an agreement that will leave them financially insecure.

Personal interests:

I love gardening and skiing, traveling, energy healing and spending time with my family, children, elderly parents and friends.

  • Bar Number: 83636
    California , 1978
  • University of San Francisco School of Law
    Juris Doctor , 1978
    San Francisco, CA
    Family Law practice; State Finalist in Client Counseling Competition; Marin County Public Defender's Office Criminal Law Clinic; Faculty Hiring Committee.
  • Stanford University
    Masters - Counseling , 1969
    Palo Alto, CA
    Teaching Assistant; Counseling and College Administration
  • Stanford University
    Bachelor of Arts , 1968
    Palo Alto, CA

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