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Helping Men

    Andriea Aden, Exclusive Family Lawyer

Ironically, I discovered my passion for family law at my previous firm, where I was handling insurance defense. A friend of mine was a divorced father who really needed help in preserving full custody of his 9-year-old daughter. I agreed to take his case pro bono.

A temporary court order had granted him full custody, but the mother had remarried and wanted to move out of state and take the daughter with her. Well, my friend was a devoted father, a standup guy with a great job. His ex had some issues, and was married to a man with a domestic-violence conviction.

I taught myself about family-law procedures. My client and I went into the hearing and got a permanent order put in place for full custody. At the end of the hearing, the judge asked why I — a lawyer practicing insurance defense — was in family court. I explained I was helping my client pro bono. The judge said, “You are more prepared than any pro bono attorney I’ve ever seen. You need to become a family law attorney.”

I was very humbled! But the best part of that day was walking out with my client, who was holding his daughter’s hand. I’d been able to help somebody and come away with what was really in the child’s best interest.

And that’s what drew me to family law. The pro bono case, in fact, compelled me to apply for a job with Marilyn. I was aware of how well respected her firm is, and I wanted to work with the best. There became an opening and they contacted me. The rest is history.

I’d wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little girl, although I didn’t have a specialty in mind. I grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and those Midwestern roots provided me with a strong work ethic and set of values, as well as Midwestern friendliness — traits I bring to my career. I’m the youngest of three children. My father was a firefighter, but my mother, aunt and grandmother are all social workers, and my sister is earning her master’s degree in social work. I come from a family of very empathetic people.

I earned a political science degree and law degree at the University of South Dakota. My husband is a geologist and landed a job with a mining company based in Reno, and that’s what brought me to Nevada. So far, our young family includes two puppies — a Yorkshire terrier and a yorkie-poo hybrid — and a cat.

My motivation for becoming an attorney was to make a difficult situation easier in somebody’s life, and protecting the rights of fathers is very gratifying. I grew up with a very close relationship with my father, and when I represent men going through a tough divorce, I want to encourage and strengthen their relationship with their children. I find that there are a lot of men out there who truly care for their children and want to do best for their children, but the law isn’t always applied in the fairest fashion to men. It’s important to represent men in getting equal quality time with their children, as well as fair custody and division of community property.

Often, men just want to give up all their rights just to be done with the divorce, but they’re potentially giving away what they’ve worked 20 to 30 years of their life for. I’m very passionate about telling them to stand up for themselves, that they have rights, too. They don’t have to take it to get it over with.

I love that I am able to be not only an attorney but a therapist, to an extent. My clients just want to put the past behind them and move on. I can tell them that everything will be OK. I want my clients to be able to say at the end of the day, “Going to court isn’t a pleasant experience, but if it weren’t for my attorney it could have been a lot worse. This was the best possible outcome and now I can move on.”