While I do still occasionally take clients in Seattle, these days, you’ll mostly find me in our Bellevue-Redmond office.
My practice focuses on complex custody litigation, mediation, relationship agreements including marital agreements and cohabitation agreements, and estate planning for couples, individuals, and blended families. I began working with Amanda DuBois in 2004 and became a named partner in 2010. I am so proud of our robust, brilliant, hard-working, and big-hearted team.
I believe families rarely belong in the courtroom. You just can’t go wrong investing in the possibility of a peaceful resolution, but be prepared because the courtroom may be unavoidable. And, don’t underestimate outsmarting your opponent by thinking rationally, logically, and outside the box.
When I was going through a divorce, I found solace in these words. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou
In the courtroom, there are strategies that work and ones that don’t. I’ve been fortunate to experience the courtroom in a variety of settings. Prior to moving to Seattle, I was a judicial clerk to the Honorable Elizabeth Welch, Presiding Family Court Judge in Portland, Oregon. From 2013-2018, I was honored to serve as a Commissioner Pro Tempore in King County Superior Court. (Translation: I was a “sub” for sitting commissioners). As part of my Pro Tem work, I read an enormous amount of paperwork, analyzed each party’s requests, and sometimes lost sleep grappling with the sheer weight of the responsibility entrusted in me to make decisions about other people’s children and money. The imprint left from my experience on the bench has forever enhanced my own advocacy skills as well as provided me a deep appreciation of our excellent group of Family Court Commissioners in King County.
In addition, I am the 2018 Co-Chair of the Joint Asian Judicial Evaluation Committee. Along with other area attorneys, I volunteer my time and our firm’s resources to evaluate attorneys and sitting judges seeking appointment to the District Court, Superior Court, Court of Appeals, and Washington Supreme Court.
Volunteer work is a core value of mine. My parents immigrated to the United States from India. In addition to the standard academic stuff, my father instilled in me an unfailing work ethic and commitment to public service. I began regularly volunteering when I was fourteen years old (my older daughter did the same) and I don’t recall a time in my life when I stopped volunteering. Prior to attending law school, I volunteered with Americorps VISTA (the domestic Peace Corps). I was paid a small stipend and was assigned to work in Seattle with FamilyWorks, a family resource center and food bank in the Fremont/Wallingford area. I helped create an Employment Resource Center for customers of the food bank. I recruited workshop volunteers for the family resource center where they offered free workshops for adults and children on topics ranging from bookbinding, photography and cooking to intercultural parenting classes. During law school, I volunteered in a Senior Center where I participated in a “buddy” program for an elderly woman who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
For the past several years, I have served as a volunteer divorce mediator with the King County Superior Court. I am also a regular volunteer with legal clinics at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, the City of Seattle, and the South Asian Bar Association. In addition to my individual pro bono cases, I serve as the family law mentor for API Chaya which provides me the opportunity to work with young lawyers and law students assisting immigrant women in the Seattle area. I am also the Co-Director of the South Asian Bar Alliance of Washington for 2018. Finally, as part of my estate planning practice, I am a frequent volunteer with the Washington First Responder’s Will Clinic which assists local police officers, firefighters, and law enforcement with pro bono estate planning. I am honored to have been selected to the 2019-2020 Board.
My career highlights include the successful return of a child who had been kidnapped overseas, obtaining a phased-in 50/50 parenting plan at trial for the father of an infant, negotiating multi-million dollar asset divisions, and assisting several elderly couples in resolving their divorces quickly and without court intervention. Highlights of my estate planning and probate career include volunteer efforts with the Washington First Responder’s Clinic, assisting new parents with their estate plan, and making it easier for busy adults to safely maximize the independence of their elderly parents. In addition, I feel privileged to have been chosen by my peers as a Super Lawyers Rising Star five years in a row (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). The Rising Stars designation is given to only 2.5% of the lawyers in the state of Washington.
Some little known facts about me – I am a sucker for letterpress stationery. My mom’s killer biryani will bring me to my knees. I detest having to wait for permission to kiss the elusive cheeks of my daughters. I make a mean lamb curry that even my predominantly vegetarian husband will eat. I believe divorce was a gift to me, my ex, and our daughter. I found love, a blended family, and a crazy sweet dog after divorce, and I believe love is awaiting every one of my clients.
Areas of Practice
- Family Law
- Collaborative Law
- Wills & Estate Planning
- Oregon, 2001
- Washington, 2003
- Lewis and Clark College, Northwestern School of Law, Portland, Oregon
- J.D. 2001
- Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- B.A. 1997
- Major: Government, Women’s Studies
Classes and Seminars
- Panelist, Bridging the Gap Judges Panel, King County Bar Association, May 17, 2018
- International Aspects of Parenting Plans – Virtual Visitation, King County Bar Association Family Law Section, April 3, 2010
- Family Law Litigation Basics, Washington State Association for Justice, August 1, 2007
- Co-Author, South Asians in 2007 – Take Another Look, Washington State Bar Journal
- Board Member (elect), Washington First Responder’s Will Clinic, 2019 – 2020
- Commissioner Pro Tempore, King County Family Court, 2013 – 2018
- Co-Chair, Joint Asian Judicial Evaluations Committee (JAJEC), 2018
- Co-Director, South Asian Bar Alliance of Washington, 2018
- Supervising Attorney, Family Legal Law Intern, API Chaya, 2013 – present
- Volunteer Mediator, King County Volunteer Settlement Conferences, 2011 – present
- Volunteer, First Responder’s Will Clinic, 2012 – present
- Volunteer, Middle Eastern Law Association Clinic, present
- Volunteer, South Asian Bar Association Clinic, present
- Volunteer, Kinship Care Solutions Programs (past)
- Volunteer, Advocates for Immigrant Justice (past)
- Volunteer, Latina/o Bar Association Clinic, (past)
- Volunteer, Americorps VISTA (past)
- Volunteer, King County Prosecutor’s Office (past)
- Volunteer, Seattle University’s Access to Justice Institute (past)
- Volunteer, King County Bar Association’s Self Help Plus (past)
- South Asian Bar Association, Washington, Board Member, Secretary (past)
- API Chaya, Member
- King County Bar Association, Member
- Washington State Bar Association, Family Law Section, Member
- Washington State Bar Association, Probate and Real Property Law Section, Member
- Washington State Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, Member
- South Asian Bar Association of Washington, Board Member (past)
- South Asian Bar Alliance of Washington, 2018 Co-Director
Prior Professional Experience
- Hon. Elizabeth Welch, Presiding Family Court Judge, Portland, Oregon, Judicial Clerk
- Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
Honors and Awards
- Super Lawyers Rising Stars: 2011 – 2015
“Thank you for taking the time to share your positive feedback. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to offer steady guidance, occasional humor and a clear course of legal action as well as to hold your stories to enable you to harness your energy to focus forward into your next phase of life. I am consistently inspired by my clients and I feel truly lucky for the small role I can play in helping you through an otherwise difficult time.”
Note: These testimonials or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.
Monica Cary and her team represented me through an extremely contentious year long divorce. Her knowledge of the law, ability to deal with difficult situations/people, and network of professionals allowed me to propel through the process smoothly. Her skills were complimented by the amazing compassion she has for her clients. During the difficult and emotional rollercoaster of a divorce, Monica was able to provide me with a sense of comfort and security as I entered into a new phase of life. She met every challenge head on while being considerate of my work hours/family commitments and ability to meet and strategize. Monica was surrounded by a talented staff and partner/attorneys who also embraced me during this process. She became and remains a true confident. I am forever grateful and highly recommend Monica Cary and The DuBois Cary Law Firm. ~DCLG Client on Avvo
None of us believes we will travel this path. It is unthinkable, shameful. The ultimate failure. Especially in certain polite circles, where we are told to make great choices and live a charmed life. But sometimes that’s not how it goes. And even after trying to make it go that way or convince yourself and others that you can, this is where you land.
It can be incredibly painful to uncouple. It requires telling yourself the truth. And then undoing everything you spent the first part of your life doing.
I was at this place two years ago and was lucky enough to fall into the hands of Monica Cary, who represented me as my divorce attorney.
I’ll never forget our first meeting. I knew almost instantly I would be in safe hands. Monica got to know my case through conversation, allowing me to guide it, placing the power of sharing information back into my hands. And that set the tone for the next 14 months.
There were ups and downs on the road we traveled. And Monica knew when it was time to exercise a sharp hand, be exacting, and ensure the course was well carved. Equally as important, she knew when to soften the experience by addressing my hurt and shock, as the reality began to set. Those instincts cannot be taught. Monica has them and operates from them in her work.
I am forever grateful to her and her well-coordinated team. I was in their care and, as a result, landed firmly on my feet. ~DCLG Client on Avvo
Monica worked with my elderly father and helped him through a difficult and unwanted divorce. She was very compassionate and sensitive to his situation and absolutely understood all the variables and players involved. She recommended the best course of action while continally engaging Dad to be sure he understood and was in agreement with the plan. She was respectful of budget concerns at all times. She is so warm, caring, personable, unassuming and SMART. I can’t recommend her highly enough! I am so grateful to her for all she did for my father. ~L. Richmond
We arrived at the Du Bois Cary office in September of 2011. We met with Monica Cary and she was such a great listener. She spent a long time hearing the particulars of the physical difficulties my mom was experiencing since being married at 80 years old. She is now 86. We had seen one other attorney but Monica reviewed the information and gave us a plan to get mom into a safer living situation. Monica communicated an amicable solution that resulted in a new living arrangement for my mom and she and her husband are getting along better than ever. Monica represented her perfectly. We could not be more pleased with the outcome. We have become friends with the entire staff at the DuBois Cary group. ~ David, Seattle
Monica is excellent, I highly recommend her. Monica worked with my elderly father and helped him through a difficult and unwanted divorce. She was very compassionate and sensitive to his situation and absolutely understood all the variables and players involved. She recommended the best course of action while continually engaging Dad to be sure he understood and was in agreement with the plan. She was respectful of budget concerns at all times. She is so warm, caring, personable, unassuming and SMART. I can’t recommend her highly enough! I am so grateful to her for all she did for my father. ~Divorce Client on Avvo
Monica helped me get custody of my son when his mother relocated across the country. Many people told me I didn’t have a chance to get custody as a single father in the state of Washington but Monica helped prove them wrong. I am grateful all that Monica and the staff at DuBois has done for my family. ~Chris, Seattle
I am a divorced mom with two young boys. I recently decided I had delayed putting my affairs in order for far too long. Lawyer Monica Cary came highly recommended by a close friend, so I made an appointment to meet with her in person. Monica and her staff were warm and professional and made me feel comfortable and informed. They answered all my questions to my [satisfaction] and put together a very thorough packet of documents that will encompass all of my future needs in regard to my estate planning. I now have great peace of mind knowing this is all complete and my and my sons futures are secure. ~Heidi
Monica was a lifesaver when I most needed a steady voice and knowledgeable guidance through my divorce. From the time my ex-wife and I decided to separate to the final dissolution settlement, Monica always catered her level of help in my case to what I needed, while keeping me informed of legal necessities and options. Occasionally, throughout the divorce process, when I felt like I was at a legal disadvantage relative to my ex, Monica would point out opportunities where I could gain leverage. The truth is, good legal help isn’t cheap, but Monica always kept my budget in mind and gave me choices to best use my money. She was well worth it. Not only was Monica a great choice for my legal representation, but everyone in her office, from the paralegals to the partners, were always gracious and helpful. ~David P., Seattle