Valerie Fenchel is the founder of Fenchel Family Law. Her legal services empower men and women to navigate marriage and divorce toward more vibrant futures. She advises clients, devises strategies, and works with therapists, actuaries, and forensic accountants to settle or litigate cases. As a witness to the damage caused by divorce over the course of her career as a family law attorney and educator, Valerie has gained extensive experience in helping families in crisis.
Valerie is actively involved in the legal community. She is the Lead Attorney of Shalom Bayit’s Pro Bono Legal Panel, Secretary of the Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco, and is completing a fellowship on the board of the Jewish Community High School of the Bay.
Valerie previously managed the care and education for children and is passionate about protecting the best interest of children. She excels at crafting parenting plans, negotiating settlements and litigating custody battles on behalf of parents that are able to put their child’s needs first. She has experience helping parents of newborns, toddlers, special needs children, and defiant teenagers. She understands that every child is different, and that each child’s parenting plan and care must be narrowly tailored to meet his/her needs, either by agreement or Court order.
Valerie is an experienced negotiator, and aims to support the goals and values of families and serve the best interests of parents and their children through settlements. She belongs to the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, which aims to resolve family problems.
She explains to her clients that once court intervention is sought, a perfect stranger on the bench is permitted to make orders over their intimate personal matters. For this reason, resolving cases through negotiation and cooperative counsel is usually recommended.
Valerie understands that litigation may be a client’s only choice especially when there is an imbalance of power dynamics or the other parent is unwilling to put the children’s best interest first. In these situations, Valerie does not hesitate to escalate the matter to Court, and is at home in the courtroom with her litigation training and aptitude. She honed her litigation skills through honors programs with both the Office of the Attorney General in San Francisco, California, and the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C., and has presented winning oral arguments before California’s First and Sixth Courts of Appeal. She continues to present winning arguments to the Family Courts, which have resulted in her clients being awarded the custodial rights and financial relief that they deserve.
Valerie only accepts clients that are able to treat their partner with respect and protect the best interests of their children. She treats her clients like family and provides the level of attention and care required to assure that they are always informed and empowered throughout the legal process. Valerie advises clients solely based on what she believes is in their best interest, even if that means advising her clients to not file for divorce, or requiring that her clients complete several sessions with a therapist before moving forward with a parenting plan.
Valerie graduated Phi Beta Kappa with High Honors from UC Santa Barbara and earned her J.D. from UC Davis School of Law where she served as President of the Negotiations Team. She previously practiced exclusively family law at premier law firms in the San Francisco Bay area, which focused on the representation of high net worth individuals and families. She lectures college students and addresses professional groups on pertinent family law issues.
Valerie jokes that family law is in her blood. Her mother, and Fenchel Family Law’s Of-Counsel, has a Mediation and Collaborative family law practice in Walnut Creek, and her father is a forensic accountant that has served as expert witness on behalf of family law litigants. They recently celebrated her parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, and in June 2018 will be celebrating her marriage to the man that continues to empower her. When she is not working, you can find Valerie watching Shark Tank, jogging around her Russian Hill neighborhood, or planning her next beach vacation.