Compassionate, future focused family law legal help
With more than a decade in the courts of Massachusetts and British Columbia, my goal is nevertheless to help families move away from expensive & public court battles to private, future focused settlement. I use proven Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques like mediation and Collaborative Law. When court is necessary, I have years of experience to rely on. I have also written a book, Representing Yourself in Court, to hep people who have to represent themselves. (I urge you to talk to a lawyer even if you are pro se.) -Family law is all I do. As a boutique family law firm I offer legal representation and mediation for divorce, unmarried legal separation, custody, access, guardianship, alimony, child support, property division, adoption, prenuptial agreements and surrogacy -Multi-jurisdiction litigation background (federal, Massachusetts and Canadian courts) -Affordable, tailor made legal solutions -15 years legal experience -My goal working with you is to build trust, success and peace of mind -Compassionate future focused family advocacy First meeting is free. Call 413-586-5989 today.
2 Maple Ave. Suite 22
Northampton MA 01060
Monday to Friday 9 to 5:30, evenings and weekends available
I assist married individuals who are seeking a divorce both in contested and uncontested matters. Uncontested divorces are when both spouses agree on everything.
At our first meeting I will explain your legal options including filing in court, mediation, & collaborative law. Most divorces end up settling, which saves the parties considerable expense. I will help guide you to the best options for settlement or, when appropriate, what court can offer.
Increasingly "child custody" is referred to as "parenting time." I help parents who are not having the time they would like with their child or children and parents who are under threat of losing time with their children.
At our first meeting I will explain the different legal options available to you including litigation, mediation and collaborative law. Most custody disputes end up in settlement. I will discuss with you what a settlement that you would be happy with would look like. I will also discuss litigation and what that offers. As well, I will talk to you about what each legal option costs and what you can afford.
I assist parents who are needing child support for a child and parent who is being asked to pay child support.
At our first meeting I will explain the different legal options available to you including litigation, mediation and collaborative law. Most support disputes end up in settlement. I will discuss with you what a settlement that you would be happy with would look like. I will also discuss litigation and what that offers. As well, I will talk to you about what each legal option costs and what you can afford.
Collaborative Law is one of the most effective tools to resolve a family law dispute. Collaborative Law is a tool whereby both parties agree not to go to court and to work with a team of professionals to reach settlement.
I am a trained and certified Collaborative Lawyer. Collaborative Law is affordable, flexible and can help build a foundation for future relations especially when children are involved.
As a mediator, I help divorcing spouses negotiate a settlement agreement.
Mediation is a process where you choose to use a neutral third party, a mediator, to help you resolve your legal dispute. The ultimate goal is a settlement agreement that will be approved by the Probate and Family Court. As an experienced family law lawyer too, once settlement is reached in mediation,I can draft your separation agreement and court papers for joint filing with the Court. Mediation is an affordable (usually the parties split my fee) and flexible alternative to court.
After spending more than ten years practicing in multiple areas of law, I decided I wanted to practice what I did best and what I enjoyed most: family law. I really enjoy working directly with a family that is in a period of transition. Family law decisions can be the most important decisions to affect an individual and that person's loved ones. My goal is to empower people to be in the right position to make the best decisions for their family. I do this by working to prepare my clients for negotiations and mediation or, when court is necessary, by building a trusting relationship and carefully preparing our case so that we are in the best position to win in court.
As a Canadian trained lawyer who has worked for more than ten years in Massachusetts, I bring unique skills to my representation. My background as a legal aid lawyer as well as five years as a lawyer with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has given me a solid understanding of the legal roadmap. I am also a court appointed mediator and certified Collaborative Lawyer.
I have communicated these skills to others by publishing a book and articles. At the end of the day, a good lawyer is one you can trust. Go with your gut and sit down with me and with one or two other lawyers to get a feel for whether the professional you are meeting with has the skills and insight to understand your case and to represent you in the most effective manner.
Do it! If possible, use a lawyer to guide you to the best resources.
Yes. I am certified to do this for family law in Massachusetts.
Yes. I volunteer in the local courts and belong to several committees. I have always taken pro bono cases.
Yes. And I've written a book on representing yourself, Representing Yourself in Court.
More than 50% of the time.
My legal career started with a passion for helping people in need. After graduating from the University of Ottawa in 1999, I returned to my home province of British Columbia, Canada to article (apprentice) with legal aid. My first posting as a newly minted Barrister & Solicitor was at the start of the Alaska Highway in northern British Columbia. Right away, I was thrown into early morning bail hearings, arguing appeals, conducting family and criminal trials, appearing in Provincial and Superior Court, managing a legal aid office and working closely with First Nations and other community groups to improve access to legal aid.
I followed this in 2002 by working for several years as the Coordinating Attorney of the Pro Bono Legal Project in Malden, Massachusetts. Again, I was learning at a break-neck speed and working closely with different community groups and the Courts to make sure that my clients not only had a fair shake at winning their cases but also built a foundation to avoid legal difficulties in the future. Working with Community Legal Aid in Worcester as an Elder Law Attorney rounded out my five plus years in legal aid.
I served the Commonwealth for five years as the senior Staff Attorney at the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct. I investigated and prosecuted allegations of misconduct against state court judges. This proved to offer a unique vantage from which to observe the administration of justice in Massachusetts, as well as an opportunity to work with and learn from the best lawyers and judges in the state. I still rely on skills I acquired at the CJC.
In 2010 I decided to concentrate my practice in the area of family law: working directly with clients who are facing family law struggles is the most satisfying work I've done. I decided not just to represent my clients as an effective advocate but to learn how to implement the latest conflict resolution tools. I trained in mediation and Collaborative Law in both Canada and Massachusetts, and took on a leadership role in the collaborative law community.
I am engaged with the Northampton legal community, most recently serving as a court-appointed mediator for the Mediation and Training Collaborative, helping a committee for the Probate and Family Court in Hampshire and Franklin Counties to draft new pamphlets and a model Separation Agreement for public use and being active in the Hampden Hampshire Collaborative Law group.
In my non-legal life, I am married with two children. I enjoy hiking the gorgeous New England countryside, x-country skiing, bicycling everywhere I can, Ashtanga yoga and reading. I've become a soccer Dad this year and my favourite meals are hanging out in a diner with my kids in Florence or having drinks and dinner with my wife and friends in Northampton. Also, whether I'm living in northern British Columbia or Northampton, bears for some reason keep coming to my backyard.
Law Society of British Columbia 1999 (non-practicing)
Supreme Judicial Court, Massachustts 2002
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts 2002
International Association of Collaborative Practitioners
Massachusetts Bar Association
Hampshire County Bar Association
Franklin County Bar Association
Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation
Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
Court appointed mediator
Limited Appearance Representation certified, Massachusetts Probate and Family Court
Bar Number: 653598
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