My professional life was transformed when I learned about Collaborative Family Law. I realized that rather than being part of a legal system which often further damages family relationships, I could be part of a restorative system. No longer was family law about “fighting for” or “protecting” assets; it was about transforming a relationship from one form into another. “Custody” and “visitation,” terms used in the prison system, became “parenting time.” Not only did these subtle differences feel gentler, they also felt more respectful, caring, and accurate. These changes make a positive difference in how a client and his or her family move through the legal process.
More than a profession for me, Collaborative Practice is a vocation. It offers me a way to align my personal values with my professional skills. It gives me a means of offering hope in a time of stress and allows me to be an instrument of change and healing in people’s lives. My clients and their families create agreements that work for everyone, helping the family in its new configuration to move forward in a productive and secure way. I’m able to live and work with integrity, to call forth my higher self and to help others do the same. I believe applying the principles taught by Collaborative Practice allows me to be of service to my clients, my community, and ultimately to inspire global change in how people in conflict interact.
I’ve been helping families in the Twin Cities resolve conflicts and disputes since 1999. I’ve dedicated my practice to helping families reach out-of-court settlements through mediation, Collaborative Practice, and negotiated settlement. I have applied the Collaborative model to other areas of family law outside of divorce, such as pre- and post-nuptial agreements, third-party custody, paternity, post-decree matters, and LGBTQ family matters that have not been recognized in the traditional court system until more recently. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, followed by a Juris Doctor from Hamline University School of Law.
I’m an active member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota (CLI), International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar Family Law Section, and the Ramsey County Bar Association. I was the Co-President of CLI in 2011, served a term on the CLI Board of Trustees from 2008-2012 and again from 2017-2019, and will be president of the organization in 2018. In 2013, I was awarded the Stu Webb Award, which was created to recognize and is named for the creator of Collaborative Law more than 25 years ago. I also train attorneys and mediators around the country about Discernment Counseling and how to recognize and address divorce ambivalence in our work.
I regularly volunteer for the Collaborative Law Institute’s Low Bono Project, as well as Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, an organization committed to providing a full range of high quality legal services to low income people and eligible client groups in civil matters.
Outside of the office, I enjoy sailboat racing on Lake Minnetonka; fly fishing on the Brule; skiing; cooking; being active in my church community; and connecting, exploring, and creating with my husband and three children in our blended family. I have a strong co-parenting relationship with my former husband.