I am a board-certified family law attorney (certified by the Texas Board of Specialization), practicing in the Austin, Texas, area for twenty-one years. I am a child of divorce, I was a stepmother for fourteen years, I am a mother of two teenage boys, and I have now been divorced myself for the past four years. I have seen divorce from most every angle and can truly relate to the emotional struggles of my clients and divorced friends.
I grew up in New City, New York, the oldest of three sisters. I graduated from Clarkstown North High School in 1984 and went to Colgate University in upstate New York. My first job after college was on Wall Street with J. P. Morgan in their mergers and acquisitions department. In the fall of 1990, I started law school at night at New York Law School.
After a year on Wall Street, I decided that Wall Street, New York City, and corporate America were not for me. I decided that I wanted to be in a place that was not as cut-throat competitive, that was slower and friendlier and warmer. I also decided that I wanted to focus on a more personal type of law than corporate. My parents were divorced when I was fourteen, and although it was an amicable divorce, it had a very strong impact on me. I decided that I was much more suited to family law.
I stayed three more years in New York, deciding where I would move when I finished law school. In November of 1992, I visited Austin, Texas, for four days. I loved it and decided that this is where I would move in the summer of 1993, when I only had one semester of law school left. I did my last semester of law school at the University of Texas.
I took the bar in both New York and Texas in February 1994. While I was waiting on my results, I started looking for work. I didn’t know where to go, so I met with a local judge (Judge Jeanne Meurer) whom I had appeared in front of as a student attorney. She surprised me and advised me to open my own practice. I couldn’t imagine going out on my own straight out of law school, but she encouraged me and told me that from watching me in court, she had confidence in me.
I got my bar results in May 1994 and decided that I had nothing to lose by trying it on my own, so I did. My best friend and local attorney, KC Anderson, and her husband (who was a prominent criminal attorney) helped me tremendously. They sent me small cases (at the time, I took both criminal and family cases) and they mentored me and advised me every step of the way. I know that I could not have succeeded without them.
I married in 1997, and my boys were born in 1998 and 2001. In 2004, my stepdaughter came to live with us full-time, making me a full-time mother/stepmother of three children.
In 2011, I experienced divorce myself. It has truly opened my eyes and given me a whole new perspective on what my clients are experiencing every day. Although I thought I understood the emotions involved, I now know that I couldn’t truly understand or appreciate the roller coaster of emotions that are involved or the long-term healing process for myself, my ex-husband, and my children until I had to experience it for myself. It is certainly much more difficult than I had ever imagined.
Each new experience in my life has given me new perspective on my cases. Although I deal in all aspects of family law, the primary focus of my practice is on divorce and/or custody cases. When I first began as a family law attorney, I had the perspective of the child of divorced parents. Then when I married, I was able to add in the perspective of what married life is like—how it takes work and can be difficult at times. At the same time, I became a part-time stepmother and then a mom. Now that I have lived through the emotional roller coaster of divorce myself, I can add that to the list of experiences that I share with many of my clients. With all that I have lived through myself, I feel I can now offer realistic and personal advice on what to expect after divorce and how to heal from it.