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About Us

Gjesdahl Law's Mission

We are attorneys for families and our clients matter to us. We strive to provide the highest and best level of competent and compassionate legal service to family members in times of crisis, need, or transition.

How We Define “Family”

We are a welcoming law firm that defines “family” in broad terms, to include any group of people in common affiliation, whether by marriage, biological relationship, adoption, commitment and caring, or shared convictions, and unlimited by considerations of sexual preference or gender identity.

Can any area of law be more central to peoples’ lives than family law? If so, it’s hard to imagine.

After all, isn’t “family” society’s most fundamental social unit? It is the place where children learn how to contend with the world around them: to abide by its rules or break them; to control a temper or curb it; to love or resist learning; to respect or abuse others.

Isn’t “family” society’s most fundamental economic unit? Moms and dads devote more of their time to the endeavor of work than any other. Why? To feed the family, to house it, to provide opportunities for children. We devote ourselves, and our energies, to accumulation, improvement, and the betterment of our family’s condition.

What contributes to a person’s emotional and psychological welfare more than “family”? It is within the family that love is felt more deeply than anywhere else. Conversely, it is the home of betrayal, and anxiety, and depression…and sometimes hate.

Family law has to do with moms and dads and babies and teens. It has to do with teeballers, ballerinas, high achievers, mischief-makers, and strugglers. It has to do with grandmas, grandpas, teachers, daycare providers, and extended family members. It has to do with your employer, the family farm, the business you’ve built, and your estate or inheritance.

It also has to do with the IRS Code, economists, accountants, vocational rehabilitationists, auctioneers, appraisers, social workers, and psychologists. It is a dangerous place, fraught with risk, and demanding sophisticated competence. Dabblers and amateurs make long-lasting mistakes. Right steps require experience and expertise.

Perhaps because of the complexity of families and family life, it is an area where good legislation is hard to craft. One size does not fit all. One rule, one law, does not apply equally well to the Hatfields and the McCoys. Consequently, it is an area largely left in the discretion of well-intended courts, constrained by limited resources, who lean—hard—on the input of good lawyers.

We know these things. We understand the importance of “family.” We love to help.

That’s why we do this work.

How about you? What is more important to you than your family, and the personal economy with which you support it? Who will guide you through the issues you presently face?

Let it be someone both well-educated and possessed of a wisdom gained from experience. Let it be someone compassionate, someone who cares about you.

Let it be us.

 

Green is Good

Green is primary. Green foods are good for you. Green plants are vital, not dormant. Green is right, it is warm, and it is good. Green is the color of life.

Things are better when they’re green, aren’t they? Lanterns, Jolly Giants, Grinches, puppet frogs, Ireland, peas, parrots, Hulks, mint, and money, all are better when they’re green.

In today’s world, green is also a value, one that Gjesdahl Law believes in, adopts, and lives.

We embrace social and collective efforts to encourage the responsible stewardship of our environment and its resources. We are aware of our firm’s carbon impact and actively attempt to reduce it. Although we are a small office, we believe that protecting our Earth is worthy of individual commitment.

How do we do our part? We:

  • Use Skype and Facetime in conference room technology
  • Serve and file documents in electronic, rather than paper, form
  • Use non-toxic and sustainable products in renovation projects
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs and fixtures with LEDs or CFLs
  • Use filtered tap water, not bottled water
  • Recycle office paper, newspapers and journals, plastic, aluminum cans, batteries, and bottle caps
  • Print two-sided documents
  • Distribute newsletters and alerts to clients and attorneys via email rather than hard copy
  • Send invitations electronically for most events
  • Use extranet sites or digital approaches to store, and share documents
  • Provide awareness by posting articles on environmental topics
  • Provide electronic subscriptions for periodicals
  • Handle Human Resources and payroll documents online
  • Work with our landlord to reduce off-peak lighting
  • Use flat panel monitors to reduce electricity consumption
  • Turn off lights, copiers/printers, and computers at the end of the day

Gjesdahl Law embraces these and other green initiatives as it strives to raise awareness of the collective good that comes from making environmentally responsible decisions.

Like everything else, we are better because we’re green.

 

"Winning" and "losing" is sometimes hard to identify in family disputes. Those terms may not even be useful in the family law environment. We try to avoid using them. Better goals may be to "try hard" and to "do right." Honoring those simple principles has helped us obtain positive results for many of our clients. In their own words, here is what some of them say about us:

 

Andrea Larson

I don't typically write reviews, but when your best friend has been represented by the BEST in the business, you let others know. Mike Gjesdahl is that attorney. Approximately one year ago, my friend needed to find someone to represent her as she went through a challenging divorce. We were looking for someone who is whip smart when it comes to family law and divorce proceedings. Other attorneys pointed us toward Gjesdahl Law so we knew she would get a top-knotch lawyer. What we didn’t expect were all the “extras” that made her experience exceptional. Mike Gjesdahl goes above and beyond for his clients. He is strong in all situations and his clients draw from that strength. He is compassionate toward his clients and their families; he understands what they are going through. Mike has the wisdom and experience people need when they are going through a life-changing circumstance like divorce. To sum it up, Mike was the blessing my friend needed at a crucial time in her life. Mike Gjesdahl and his team will always have my highest recommendation.

 

S.B., Fargo, ND

I had all but given up hope. Mike worked miracles. My previous attorney failed to make a case to the court after much frustration and nine months to prepare. Gjesdahl Law, with only four weeks to prepare, went to court and produced nothing less than a miracle. My son's mother had asked the Court to let her move to another state with my son. With Mike's help, the Court denied her request. I will be forever grateful. I only regret I hadn't been with Mike from the beginning. This is an office of truly caring, competent professionals.
S.M., Hopkins, MN

As a young single mother, who found herself in a most difficult custody situation, I consulted with countless attorneys looking for someone to guide me through tough legal decisions that would forever change my life. They all had the same thing to say: "The odds are against you. You won't win." I had all but given up hope and resigned myself to the idea that I could not overcome the odds when I found Gjesdahl Law and Michael Gjesdahl. He believed in my case, and took a chance on me where others were unwilling. Although the battle ahead would be difficult, often complicated by my past choices, and nearly two years in length, through it all Michael never gave up on me. In the end, I won sole custody of my son. Michael had overcome every obstacle and every naysayer---including the Guardian Ad Litem---to help me keep my child. To say that Michael worked a miracle would be an understatement. Michael and his staff are the finest, most dedicated, and hard-working legal professionals in the FM area. They not only remain my legal counsel, but they have become part of my extended family. I would recommend Gjesdahl Law to anyone who finds themselves in need of legal advice and support.
T.A.F., Fargo, ND

The last thing in the world anyone wants is to experience a custody battle. If it does happen, you want to know that your life, along with your children's lives, are entrusted to someone who is competent, and furthermore, the best. I needed of an attorney. I asked several co-workers who they would recommend and was referred to Gjesdahl Law because of their high success rate. Hiring an attorney was a daunting task. I thought lawyers are "only in it for the money." I soon learned that nothing was farther from the truth as I watched Mike dedicate himself to my case. I not only saw him as an outstanding lawyer, but also as a person who truly wants the best for families. I was continually impressed with Mike's and his firm's organization and attention to detail. My affidavit came to life, telling my story. Mike handled my case with finesse and expertise; it was well-prepared, well-thought out. His assertiveness was always combined with empathy, giving me the confidence I needed in the courtroom. He truly was an advocate on my behalf. His character and credibility are what make him an outstanding lawyer. I trust Mike to give me sound legal advice concerning what is best for my situation. Gjesdahl Law's professionalism created a solid case for me, and we won!
S.M., Moorhead, MN

Going through a divorce is one of the most traumatic things a person can experience, especially when children are involved. Add to that my lack of knowledge and understanding of the legal system, and it was overwhelming. I needed to find an attorney who could help me understand the big picture and yet keep me focused on what I needed to do to protect myself and my children. Mike Gjesdahl and his team did that and more. Mike not only listened to me and understood what was important to me regarding the care and custody of my children, but he knew better than I did the things my ex-husband would do to avoid his responsibilities to his family, and Mike was ready. Two years after our divorce became final, it was necessary to go back to court. My ex-husband was not paying child support, and this was devastating as I cannot support three children on my salary alone. Mike was very objective and practical in pursuing the matter, and the result was that I recovered over nine months’ worth of child support. If it weren't for Mike and his team, I would still be worrying about how to make ends meet. I know that dealing with my ex-husband in the future will still be difficult and I don't doubt that more court time lies ahead. However, I feel better knowing that Gjesdahl Law are on my side.
J.I., Fargo, ND

I consulted with a number of attorneys in the FM area before I found an attorney who I gained enough confidence in to trust with my custody case. I wanted someone who took a personal interest in my case, had a great track record, and wanted the same outcome I had in mind. Throughout my custody case Mr. Gjesdahl and his staff put forth their best effort by preparing extensively and keeping me informed on every detail. In the court-room, it was evident that I made the right choice by putting my trust in Mr. Gjesdahl. He was head and shoulders better than the opposing attorney. I was amazed in the difference in not only the preparation, but also from a tactical standpoint during the court proceeding. On paper, I felt my case could have maybe gone either way from a custody investigator's viewpoint. But the difference was in the legal representation. I had a lot of confidence in Mr. Gjesdahl and his staff from the beginning, and I was never disappointed with their performance. When a person is faced with a stressful custody situation and they want the best attention into their case, I suggest they find an attorney who actually cares about them and the best outcome for their children. I feel fortunate that I found these qualities in Mr. Gjesdahl and his staff.
K.D., Fargo, ND

The attorneys at Gjesdahl Law represented me for over six years after my divorce. During those proceedings, which included complex custody, visitation, child support, and adoption issues in two states, the Gjesdahl attorneys were extremely thorough in their research and always kept me informed of the status of discovery and proceedings. They promptly returned my phone calls to address my questions and concerns, and met with me to discuss my options before proceeding. They were sensitive to the emotional stress the proceedings placed on my children and me, and went out of their way to reassure us that everything was being done to protect our interests. They really cared about us a people, not just as clients. They truly understand that the work they do changes people’s lives. The support staff at Gjesdahl Law, paralegals and others, were also knowledgeable and supportive throughout my experience. They have a great team. But what really impressed me the most about Gjesdahl Law was the collaboration and consultation that went on between the attorneys. It was very reassuring to know that the attorneys who were handling various aspects of my case consulted with each other on a regular basis to make sure I was getting the best possible representation. Every aspect of my case was resolved to my satisfaction.
D.L and M.L., Fargo, ND

Choosing a law firm for any reason can be overwhelming. Will you find someone to work hard for you? Will they be honest? Will they have your best interests in mind? We were lucky when we found Gjesdahl Law. We started working with Gjesdahl Law about 8 years ago. My husband’s visitation with his little daughter was being frustrated by her mom. We visited with Mike Gjesdahl and he was very helpful and informative. He told us from the beginning what we could expect from the courts and from the other party. Once we had our visitation set up, the other party continued to be uncooperative. Now what do we do? On Mike’s advice, we decided to pursue custody. This was not an easy process, but from the beginning Mike told us what to expect, and he was always right. When problems or questions came up, Mike carefully answered our questions. This was not an inexpensive process, but Mike always pointed out things we could do to help bring down our costs. His office was always there with whatever our case threw our way. Eventually, my husband was granted custody of his daughter. That was about 8 years ago. In those 8 years, little issues have continued to crop up with the other party. The first thing we do is call Mike. Even though our case was over long ago, he still answers our questions and helps us with whatever we need. Today, if we see each other out and about, we still stop to talk and catch up with each other. If you are looking for a lawyer who will work hard for you, and talk to you like a person, instead of talking to you in big lawyer terms that only lawyers understand, Gjesdahl Law is the firm for you. I would recommend Gjesdahl Law to anyone.
B.S.

I would not hesitate to refer anyone to your office. From the minute I walked in the door, I was comfortable and confident with everyone in the office. Mike talked me through everything and all my options and gave his insight. After talking to him I knew I was in the right place and it would be a success. Seeing Mike's work and drafts compared to the other attorney's made me feel even better and more confident. I ended up getting everything that we asked for. I was very satisfied with the quality and professionalism that Mike showed through the whole process. I know I would not think twice to have Mike on my side again if need be.

 

Maulik, Fargo, ND

There is absolutely no one else you want on your side other than Michael Gjesdahl and his team. If you are googling family attorneys, you are probably going through one of the hardest times in your life where it is absolute chaos and anger in your head. From the moment I had my first meeting, my mind was as peaceful as it could be considering the circumstance, knowing I was in the hands of an extremely capable team. Alexa on the team is an extremely bright attorney and will be a heavy hitter in no time in the FM area. Gina was extremely professional and truly knowledgeable. When it comes to Mike, there is no other way of putting this, his reputation precedes him in his expertise. From the research I had done prior to picking Mike, most attorneys loose sleep going up against him. This really helps you know that your team will always have your best interest in mind all while being legally capable of handling almost any scenario. The advice I can give anyone reading this is TRUST THEM, they do this for a living. You DO NOT last decades in this business without be exceptionally good at what you do. There were many times I was not being rational in my expectations due to the horror of what one goes through during this process. I was thankful for the empathy the entire team showed when it was needed, I was also happy of the no nonsense no sugar coating when it was needed, when I truly benefited from hearing what was often hard to hear. In my story, Mike & his entire team were vital in making sure my story ended with a happy ending which honestly wouldn’t have been possible without them. I wish I never need them again but if I do, I’ll be back!!!
 (701) 237-3009