Dawn B. DeBoer
Richmond Child Custody Attorney & Partner
Phone:804-545-9412 (Direct Dial)
Email: Contact Me
Graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from James Madison University in 1983. She graduated from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond in 1986. She was admitted to the Virginia State Bar in 1986. She is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia; U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia; and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, the Virginia Bar Association, the Richmond Bar Association, the Henrico County Bar Association, the Metropolitan Richmond Family Law Bar Association, the Chesterfield Bar Association, Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association, and the National Association of Women Business Owners.
From her twenty plus years’ experience in family law, Dawn DeBoer knows that sometimes you can win the battle and still lose the war. That’s why, in handling divorce, child custody, and child support cases, she works hard to assure the future well-being of the whole person and the whole family.
I determine each client’s specific goals and advocate very strongly for my client’s needs and best interest, says Dawn. But at the same time I attempt to be creative and solve issues amicably, keeping in mind that, where child custody is involved, the parents are still going to be in each other’s life.
Though at other times, it is necessary to stand and fight. Dawn’s creativity helped one client win a share of her husband’s professional partnership in a hotly contested divorce case after other lawyers said it could not be done. We issued subpoenas and worked with a good accountant to value the husband’s law partnership, says Dawn. In the end we divided the value of the business, received significant spousal support and made a major change in the divorce law.
She is particularly skilled in handling not only partnership valuations but also business valuations and large, complicated estates. Although, when necessary, Dawn can go to court and deftly argue for her client’s welfare, that is never her first choice. It is costly going to court, both financially and emotionally, she says. A lawyer has an obligation to find a good resolution without litigation. So I work with opposing lawyers to obtain a result that addresses what is important for my client and my client’s child or children. It is not beneficial to constantly be at odds.
I want to make sure my client is successful and can live with the results, and make sure my client has the resources to move forward after the divorce. But providing those resources goes beyond simply working out finances. We also see relationship issues with the spouse or children that need attention and often refer clients to counselors to make the situation better, says Dawn. There is a lot of counseling and hand-holding involved.
Dawn’s empathy and understanding complements her top legal skills to make a client comfortable with her both professionally and personally. Part of that comfort comes from her understanding of the financial pressures her clients are feeling.
I am very conscious of costs, she says. I know the funds are coming directly out of people’s pockets, not corporate coffers. So I try to have my staff do the legwork and drafting and not add to the client’s anxieties.
Areas of Practice
- 95% Family Law
- 5% General Litigation
- 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- Virginia, 1986
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia, 1992
- U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1993
- University of Richmond, The T.C. Williams School of Law, Richmond, Virginia, 1986
Honors: Moot Court Board
Honors: President Student Bar Association
- James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA, 1983
Honors: Magna Cum Laude
Honors: Omicron Delta Kappa
Honors: Dean’s List 4 years
Major: Political Science and Spanish
- Fitzgerald v. Fitzgerald, 1999 WL 1133723 (Va. Court of Appeals 1999)
- Howell v. Howell, 31 Va App 332, 523 S.E.2d 514 (Va. Court of Appeals 2000)
- Joynes v. Payne, 36 Va.App. 401, 551 S.E.2d 10 (Va. Court of Appeals 2001)
- Joynes v. Payne, 35 Va App 386, 545 S.E.2d 561 (Va. Court of Appeals 2001)
- Block v. Block, 2005 WL 465135 (Va. Court of Appeals 2005)
- Jones v. Jones, 2009 WL 1117487 (Va. Court of Appeals 2009)
- Gay v. Virginia State Bar ex rel. Second Dist. Committee, 239 Va. 401, 389 S.E.2d 470 (Va. Supreme Court 1990)
- Tysons Toyota, Inc. v. Globe Life Ins. Co., 45 F.3d 428 (U. S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals 1994)
Honors and Awards
- Virginia Business “Legal Elite”, 2002 - 2003
- Virginia Business “Legal Elite”, 2004 - 2010
- Super Lawyers by Richmond Magazine. 2007
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Metropolitan Richmond Family Law Bar Association, 1995 - 2011
- Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 1988 - 2011
- Richmond Bar Association, 1988 - 2011
- Henrico County Bar Association, 1986 - 2011
- Virginia Bar Association, 1994 - 2011
- Virginia State Bar, Young Lawyers Conference, 1988 - 1993
- Virginia State Bar, Young Lawyers Conference, Board of Governors, 1989 - 1991
Past Employment Positions
- Kaufman & Canoles, Partner, 2003 - 2007
- Troutman Sanders (formerly Mays & Valentine), Partner, 1994 - 2003
- Parker Pollard & Brown, PC, Associate, 1988 - 1994
- Henrico County Circuit Court, Law Clerk, 1986 - 1988
Pro Bono Activities
- Board of Directors Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, 1994 - 2010
- Expert Witness Services
- Speaking Engagements
- Teaching Engagements
- 1961, Roanoke, Virginia, United States of America