Senior Associate Attorney
“How do you do it?” That is the question I hear most often, and my response is always the same: “How can I not?” As a product of a large, blended family, and as a parent of twin girls, I understand the emotional toll a divorce, break up, or any family law related matter has on a person. Vulnerabilities are exposed, decisions seem impossible to make, and the range of feelings a person will go through makes resolution seem like an unattainable goal. I make it my life's purpose to take as many of these stressors off the client's shoulders and compartmentalize the situation to ease the burden. However, it takes empathy and compassion to effectively communicate and meld the client's goals with the law. Many family law attorneys lack my ability to view the situation from the perspective of the client while also maintaining a strong legal position to achieve the best outcome.
Growing up in a large, blended family, I know the difficulty spouses go through when there is familial conflict. Whether that be domestic violence, a divorce, arguments over paying children's expenses, or who is going to get the home – these are all areas of conflict that unfortunately many people will experience at least once in their lifetime. Many times the conflict is unexpected, or a person behaves in a way that seems so out of character that you no longer recognize them as you once remembered. These unfortunate realities create great sadness, grief, devastation, and a sense of loss, and when going through these intense emotions, it can seem almost cruel to be placed in a position where legal decisions have to be made. Having an effective litigator and counselor-at-law will be the best first choice to make when you are forced into the legal process.
I take my personal experiences of dealing with trauma and grief into the litigation process to help my clients understand that their feelings are valid, but also to help the client gain perspective on realistic outcomes. Anybody can tell you what you want to hear and charge you for it, but that is ineffective and unethical when there is no likelihood of an outcome that correlates with false promises. The law is complex, confusing, and oftentimes feels unfair. Having a better understanding of what will be relevant to your case and presenting that in a way that best aligns with the goals is the paramount reason why my client's achieve success and peace in the worst of times. Sometimes achieving these goals does require aggressive litigation, and my trial experience and familiarity with the court rules, law, and judges is an asset not commonly found in many family law attorneys. Additionally, my passionate representation in the courtroom also translates into highly effective representation in non-adversarial settings, such as mediations and settlement conferences. It is often the case that a settlement-focused approach will yield the best results because that allows everybody to walk away from the conflict with far less acrimony than they would have in a contested trial. I always endeavor to reduce the conflict and stress for my clients by not unnecessarily creating further discord but recognizing that the ultimate responsibility is to advocate.
So, how can I not help those in need during the most intense time in their life? How could I say no to the parent trying to protect their child who just witnessed domestic violence? Or the spouse who is being removed from their home under false pretenses with no place to go? These are all tragedies I have experiences first hand, as well as experienced through the eyes of siblings, friends, other parents, and children. Everybody responds to conflict and tragedy differently, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to any situation. People need to be heard and their perspectives taken into consideration because family law matters involve the most intimate parts of a person's life. I pride myself in taking accountability in the outcome of my clients' cases because I understand that the most important decisions are going to be made with my representation and that is something I take personally.
I am a South Carolina Native and graduate of the Gonzaga School of Law in Spokane, Washington. While in Spokane, I started my legal career with a prestigious family law firm where I learned the tools necessary to zealously advocate on behalf of family law clients. From Spokane, I moved to Seattle and joined Dellino Law Group in 2013. I also represent pro bono clients on behalf of the Housing Justice Project of Seattle as a way to give back to the local community. During my free time, I enjoy cooking, event planning, jogging through the city, and spending time with my family.