Natalie brings her education, training, experiences, and life lessons to bear in her passionate work as a family law practitioner, mediator, and appellate attorney. Natalie will listen to what you need, want, and expect out of your process and help you find the right approach to navigating your family law matter. She will strive to help you reach resolutions to your problems in ways that help you emerge in one piece and with a bright future.
Natalie believes that many people endure the traditional judicial process simply because no better option is made available to them. She is convinced that when given the choice between a potentially long, destructive court battle and a private, people-centered opportunity to control one's own future, most people will choose the latter. That is why she offers her services as a collaborative attorney or as a neutral mediator to those facing divorce, child custody matters, or other difficult family issues.
One size does not fit all, so when you are in emotional turmoil facing some of the most difficult decisions of your life, Natalie will help you see and focus on the long-term, family-friendly benefits of a respectful resolution, in or out of court.
In her life outside work, Natalie is an avid backpacker and intrepid traveler. She’s visited all fifty states and has traveled four continents so far. Her proudest outdoor accomplishments are summiting Mt. Rainier’s 14,410 peak, finishing the Salkantay Trek through the Peruvian Andes at 15,200 feet, and braving the world’s highest bungee jump over the Zambezi River in Africa. A former opera singer, Natalie admires all genres of music and enjoys an annual trek to Blissfest, Michigan’s best summer music festival. She enjoys cooking and gardening but deeply appreciates the time-saving benefits of Sunbasket!
Natalie strongly values community and connection. Her love for good works, service to others, and world travel landed her in the Peace Corps in Zambia, Africa, where she lived in a mud hut without electricity or running water for two years. She loved the simplicity of living without modern technology and conveniences, although the six-mile bike ride to the post office was a trek if there was no letter from home waiting! Coincidentally, she loves the immense variety of technology in today’s world and is always looking for new ways to implement cutting-edge applications that improve the firm’s service to its clients.
Natalie credits yoga, meditation, her amazing husband, and the love of her three cats with helping her stay grounded and focused in this challenging profession.
Before going into private practice, Natalie served as a staff attorney to Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Cavanagh and Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Stephen L. Borrello and worked as a Prehearing Attorney in the Michigan Court of Appeals Research Division. She also clerked at one of Lansing’s premier plaintiff firms and ran her own independent contracting business providing legal research and writing services to area attorneys.
After graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts at Central Michigan University, Natalie attended graduate school at the University of Kentucky. She spent two years in the Peace Corps and was then Chief Operating Officer of an entrepreneurial technology company, which she oversaw during the commissioning and implementation of Internet service provider software (back in the day when that was somewhat more novel!).
Along with running Alane Family Law, Natalie has taught Scholarly Writing, Moot Court, and Advanced Legal Writing, and Family Law at Western Michigan University School of Law. She is a member of the NORML Legal Committee and current author of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s property chapter of its seminal text, “Family Law.” Natalie speaks and writes prolifically on family law topics across the state and country.
Professional Activities/Community Involvement
American Bar Association
Family Law Section
Law Practice Section
Council of Appellate Lawyers
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
State Bar of Michigan
Family Law Section
Ingham County Bar Association
Ingham County Bar Foundation (Fellow)
Institute of Continuing Legal Education (Family Law Advisory Board Member)
Lansing Area Collaborative Practice Group (Founder and Board Member)
Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan (Former President, Former Vice President, Former Treasurer)
Child and Family Charities (Former Board Member)
Resolution Services Center of Central Michigan (Former Board Member)
National Women’s Law Alliance (Former Board Member)
Women Lawyers Association of Michigan
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
NORML Legal Council
Awards and Recognitions
Outstanding Woman in the Law, Michigan Lawyers Weekly
Outstanding Woman Law Student, Women Lawyers Association of Michigan
Distinguished Student Award, Western Michigan University School of Law
Winner and Best Advocate, National Appellate Advocacy Competition, NW Region, NYC
Second Best Advocate, National Appellate Advocacy Competition, National Finals, Chicago
Best Advocate and Finalist, Intraschool Moot Court Competition
Best Advocate, First Year Moot Court Competition
Interest-based negotiation: How an Orange Can Help You Get What You Want, National Association of Career Women, Lansing Chapter’s May Luncheon, Lansing, 2017
Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Family Law Institute, Novi, 2016
NORML Legal Council Seminar, Aspen, 2016
Ingham County Bar Young Lawyer’s Association, 2016
Referee’s Association of Michigan, Mackinac Island, 2015
Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Family Law Institute, Novi, 2015
Upper Michigan Legal Institute, Mackinac Island, 2014
State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section Mid-Winter Conference, Peter Island, British Virgin Islands, 2014
State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section Mid-Winter Conference, Riviera Maya, Mexico, 2014
NORML Legal Council Seminar, Key West, 2014
Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Family Law Institute, Plymouth, 2013
State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section Mid-Winter Conference, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, 2013
Michigan Judge’s Association, Mackinac Island, 2012
Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Family Law Institute, Plymouth, 2012
Shiawassee County Bar Association, 2011
Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Family Law Institute, Plymouth, 2011
Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Family Law Institute, Plymouth, 2010
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals Annual Forum, Washington D.C., 2010
Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, Michigan, J.D., Magna Cum Laude
University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, M.A. A.B.T., Rural Sociology
Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, B.A., Cum Laude, Voice Performance, Sociology
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida (two years of really great football!)
Natalie Absolutely knows what she’s doing!! Natalie has helped me tremendously through a long and drawn out custody dispute. I hired her initially to appeal what was a completely uninformed decision by a judge, which we won. She then took my case back to the judge, where he reversed his initial decision (correctly, I’d like to add). Then she fought for me again when my ex tried to appeal that. It didn’t even go back to court that time around. I myself tend to be a bit of a control freak, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I could trust Natalie to truly bat for me, to know what angle to take, and to deliver exactly what needed to be done. She knows her stuff, and knows how to use that knowledge. Do not underestimate the importance of familiarity with the local system and respect among the judges. While I do believe that most judges will make their decisions objectively and wisely with as much information as they have, I figured out that it is still human nature (regardless of who you are) to know who you can trust, and whose word you respect. Natalie has tremendous rapport with the judges in the area, as well as fellow attorneys. She commands respect, and it is readily apparent when she speaks and is heard, that her thoughts and opinions are valued. Whether or not it should, I do believe this makes a difference. It’s only natural. Beyond fighting for you, and doing so with total competence and professionalism, Natalie will truly care for the struggles you’re facing, and who you are as a person. Also – she’s really good at easing the tension and awkwardness while you’re sitting around in court waiting for things to happen. More than once, I REALLY appreciated that. ”
This week, Natalie travels down to Key West, Florida to lend her legal expertise as a speaker at the 20th Annual NORML Legal Conference. The three-day conference covers topics surrounding the legalization of marijuana and includes speakers such as Ex… Read More