Fort Worth divorce attorney Tiffany Yates McWhorter began her legal career as a commercial litigation attorney in Memphis, Tenn.
As part of her previous firm’s pro bono program, Ms. Yates McWhorter began handling domestic matters right out of law school. Her first trial was an international kidnapping case on behalf of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She was able to obtain a favorable ruling for the parent of the kidnapped child and obtained a court order to return the child to the custodial parent in South America.
This experience led her to seeking more involvement with family law matters by becoming a community volunteer with CASA and accepting other pro bono custody matters while continuing her litigation practice. Although Ms. Yates McWhorter enjoyed commercial litigation, when it came time to make a career change, she decided to use the skills she acquired from handling complex financial disputes and her pro bono experience to assist clients in family law.
“My first trial seemed overwhelming as a new lawyer, but resulted in a parent regaining custody in a situation that seemed impossible,” she said. “I quickly became interested in helping other parents that seemed to be the underdog with the courts. I enjoy being in the courtroom, but if my client is better served by reaching an agreement with the other party outside of court, then that is what we will pursue.
“Many cases can be resolved without a trial; however, we will be prepared to go to court when necessary. We work with our clients to help them decide the best course of action for their particular case.”
Ms. Yates McWhorter has been able to assist several clients in obtaining custody of their children or negotiating a more favorable custody schedule than they were offered by their spouse prior to retaining the firm.
“Absent circumstances involving abuse, there is no reason for one parent to automatically be declared the custodial parent or for the other to be denied an equal parenting relationship,” she said. “We will help you negotiate a fair schedule for both parties. If your spouse refuses to negotiate, then we will go to court to make sure your rights are protected. Children need both parents and we are here to maximize the role of our clients in their children’s lives.”
The same rule applies to property division.
“If your spouse refuses to be reasonable regarding how to divide your property and debts, you need to have an attorney on your side to explain your options if the case goes to court,” she said. “Agreeing to unreasonable demands just to make the conflict go away or to obtain more time with your children is absolutely not necessary. We can help clients navigate the discussion while protecting their rights to an equitable share of their property.”
Ms. Yates McWhorter has participated in several training programs with the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and is a trained Court Appointed Special Advocate, where she works with abused and neglected children. She also served as the General Counsel and Chairperson for the Grand Krewe of Ptolemy for Carnival Memphis.