Skip to Main Content

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:

 

S. L., Fargo, ND

I came to Gjesdahl Law after 8 months of working with a less-than-motivated lawyer. I was stressed because my husband was not only stalling our divorce, but also had stalled child support by not being honest in his paperwork. I was at a loss. When I contacted Gjesdahl Law, I was referred to Shannon Parvey, and it was an enormous blessing. She and I hit it off right away. She knew where I was coming from with my frustrations and she was able to help put a realistic outlook as to what might happen if we had to go to trial.

We went to trial for child support and parenting time and it was extremely stressful for me, but Shannon was behind me every step of the way. Mike represented me in the courtroom and was able to be stoic and firm when I felt frazzled and emotional. The three of us were able to help keep a reasonable schedule for my young daughter.

When my husband was still not cooperating with our requests for a divorce settlement, we started to prepare for a hearing. Again, my anxiety levels were rising, but Shannon was always there to help keep me grounded and answer any and all questions, no matter how silly they seemed. When we finally met for a possible mediation/settlement appointment, Mike handled the situation with realism and was able to help me keep the things that were most important to me, and gracefully negotiate on things I felt were flexible.

I couldn't have done any of this without Shannon backing me through the process, and I am extremely grateful for her help all along the way.
Sheryl

I had the pleasure of having Leah duCharme represent me in a divorce case a few years ago. It was a particularly difficult time for me because I lived out of state. So much of our contact was done over the phone and e-mail and yet I felt totally informed and up to date on everything. She went out of her way to limit my trips to ND. I always felt like she was fighting for me and my best interest not only at the present time, but for the future. She wanted to know that I would be okay long after the divorce was over and the ink had dried and lawyers had been paid. She made sure I understood all of my options and how they would play out in the long run. On her advice, I opted for mediation and again, she fought to get me what I needed while we worked on the details and I am very pleased with the outcome.
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.
B.M.

Life. I have one again due to the help of Gjesdahl Law. My world was turned upside down. Leaving my abusive, alcoholic husband of 10 years was very scary -- and the hardest thing I've ever done. I worked with both Jason and Mike. They were very professional but, at the same time, helped me with the emotional end of things. My case ended up going to trial and, in the court room, things went smoothly. Mike was very organized and had the evidence ready to back me up. I wasn't just "another case" to my lawyers. I was a person...and this was my life. In the end, I got custody of my children and their dad was awarded supervised visitation. Because of this result, my children are happy and feel safe. "Daddy won't hit you any more, mommy." Thank you, Mike, and thank you, Jason...for my life!!!
Eeva, Fargo, ND

My experience with Leah duCharme and Gjesdahl Law, P.C. was positive from the moment I contacted the firm. Leah and her staff were attentive, quick to respond to any question, knowledgeable, professional and highly competent. I was very pleased with the resolution and was grateful to have Leah by my side during a difficult time. Thank you, Leah and Gjesdahl Law, P.C.

Kelly, Fargo, ND

Leah duCharme is an amazing attorney. She really had her work cut out for her with my case but she handled all of it with professionalism and speed. She communicates well and quickly. She explains everything in clear cut terms and keeps you in the loop always. Her team is also fantastic to work with. I would absolutely recommend Leah for anyone looking for a top-notch attorney!

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.
Christine, Fargo, ND

I have been working with Leah for a little over 4 years now. As an attorney Leah is extremely knowledgeable, hardworking, driven and wise. While working with her, you will see her personality shine as a caring person with a great sense of humor.

I have observed Leah litigate 3 different cases for me and each time, it is obvious that she comes to court well prepared, taps into prior experience, and does well under pressure.

I cannot recommend Leah highly enough!

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!
Melissa

Deciding to divorce isn’t easy and Leah really listened and was very sensitive to the fact that my ex and I wanted to try and do this amicably. Yet she knew that I need to listen to her as well, that was why I hired her. I can’t imagine working with anyone else. She is very knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. Everyone at the office was.
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.
Taryn

Leah made me feel safe and supported right away. She walked me through all my options and supported my choices. She helped to direct me to the best possible outcome for myself and my children. She kept in touch afterward to make sure the divorce decree was working while in place. She also was available far after the divorce was final for any questions or concerns I had. She is professional but so caring and I could always feel that. She is amazing at what she does and I have recommended her numerous times and always will.
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.
Cory

Leah was great to work with in our custody battle. It's a big thing to have a great lawyer on your side when you are stressed and looking for closure. She was upbeat and had out best interest in mind through the entire process. We had done our research before we picked a firm and very happy with Gjesdahl and especially Leah!
Anonymous

Exceptional firm, especially Shannon Parvey and her team! She made one of the most difficult times less stressful by not only offering sound advice, but truly caring about me and my family's well-being. She made me feel important and offered a shoulder to cry on when needed. Not only was Shannon wonderful, but the entire office environment - very welcoming and friendly. Her knowledge and advice was second to none! A fabulous team of people at Gjesdahl Law!
Anonymous

Leah is a very dependable, honest, and kind attorney. Her knowledge about the law and your individual rights is outstanding. I would recommend her to anybody in need of an attorney regarding divorce proceedings. Leah and her staff at Gjesdahl Law provided exceptional legal services to me in my time of need, it was in no doubt money well spent. She even continues to take the time to talk to me about problems I am facing two years after my divorce. You will not be disappointed with legal services provided by Gjesdahl Law.
Anonymous

My lawyers through the whole divorce Were on top of it and ahead of the The opposing side, filing first, putting everything in first, and promptly, which helped me in my time of need. Going through a divorce is very stressful, as anyone could imagine. And every step of the way they were there for me and made me feel knowledgeable and incredibly better every time I talked to them. If I had a question, they would answer it immediately. They didn't say “I'll get back to you”; it was always answered immediately. And when I called they were always there for me within a few minutes or immediately. They really made me feel confidence in the laws and all the procedures of divorce. They informed me and educated every step of the way. I highly recommend Shannon Parvey and her law firm. It is a stressful time for everyone to go through a divorce but they made it so much better for me every time I talked to them, I cannot emphasize that enough.

They always had a response, always had the exact right thing to say, it seems like to me. If I ever need lawyers in this manner I know where I'll be going. Back to them because of how knowledgeable and pleasant it was to work with them. All I can say is there are some grade A pros at what they do. So if you're looking for a lawyer, do you take my word for it and give them a try you won't regret it.
Anonymous

During the most stressful time of my life you need someone to respond and help you with the process on giving you the best options that are available that time. Leah is that person as I had never used a lawyer previous to my divorce and she gave me the personal attention I was needing to get thru it with a confidence level that I was hoping for!! Thanks Leah!