Michelle and Jason are not just extremely knowledgeable and efficient in family law, but also very caring and empathetic. Because of there experience and help, I have the schedule with my daughter I was fighting for and as a result can spend more time with her. Thank you both! I would highly recommend Michelle Fontenot to anyone in need of a family law attorney.
My legal practice focuses on all aspects of family law as well as educational consultation and litigation. Family law is a natural fit for my background as a therapist and working in school-based mental health. I particularly like to focus on issues related to children and keeping them healthy through family transitions.
Prior to attending law school, I earned a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Texas. For over fifteen years I worked as a licensed mental health therapist in schools serving children who qualified for special education due to emotional and behavioral disabilities. I went to law school knowing that I would be able to build upon the knowledge I had as a counselor and educational consultant to help children and families in the legal context.
I attended the evening program at Seattle University School of Law, and continued to work full-time as a mental health specialist for Kent School District.
I am excited to serve children and families who need the assistance of an educational attorney. I really enjoy helping families navigate the complexities of the schools and special education because the results are practical and I get to see children succeed. I worked as a consultant for public schools for many years, so my experience is grounded in an understanding of the culture of schools as well as knowledge about the law. Parents often feel outnumbered and misunderstood. I help my clients whos children are facing discipline, special education, or other school-related issues and would benefit from legal counsel.
Most recently, I was the program attorney for Family Law CASA of King County. Family Law CASA is a non-profit that provides court-appointed, volunteer guardian ad litem services in low-income family law cases. The role of the agency is to protect the needs of children in family law disputes. My role at the agency was to represent both the program and the volunteer assigned to the case in court. Often during divorce proceedings, the needs of the children are easily diluted in the face of the better articulated needs of their parents. My job was to ensure that the focus of the case remained on the best interests of those children. As part of that process, I encouraged parents, even in dire situations, to better see and acknowledge the needs and interests of their children.
My experience in court and at family law mediations gives me the practical understanding of how to effectively represent clients in the divorce process. This experience guides my work with my clients, allowing me to translate the often foreign legal process into understandable steps. I listen to what my clients say about what they need, and about their fears and concerns. I work with them to develop a plan to navigate the legal process in order to create a positive outcome for themselves and their families. My goal is to provide my clients with thorough information and preparation and to help them to feel knowledgeable and empowered, so that the often painful process of moving out of a marriage or partnership is made easier and more successful.
When I’m not at work, I volunteer in pro bono legal clinics for Qlaw and the Spanish Legal Clinic at El Centro de la Raza. I spend much of my down time both playing and watching soccer. My passions are gardening, food, and travel. I love being outdoors and have spent vacations travelling, trekking, mountain climbing and telemark skiing.
Areas of Practice
- Family Law
- Education Law (Special Education, Discipline, First Amendment Rights of Students)
- University of Texas
- Master’s Degree
- Major: Counseling Psychology
- University of Texas
- Major: History
Past Employment Positions
- Kent School District, Mental Health Specialist
- Seattle Mental Health (nka Sound Mental Health), School-Based Mental Health Provider and Supervisor
Pro Bono Activities
- Volunteer, Pro Bono Legal Clinics for Qlaw
- Spanish Legal Clinic, El Centro de la Raza
- Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem Services in Low-Income Family Law Cases