Partner, Family Law Group Chair
Partner, Family Law Group Chair
Family law is at the heart of what matters most to all of us. Over the course of more than two decades of practice, attorney Rebecca Simpson has come to understand that the issues addressed in the practice of family law are deeply important to everyone. “Family law impacts the security and well-being of our children, the stability of our family relationships, the protection of our homes, and, ultimately, the insurance of our legacies,” Rebecca says. “Still, every case is as unique and as complex as the people involved.”
Rebecca is a Bowling Green native. She graduated from Western Kentucky University with highest honors and earned a full academic scholarship to Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. After graduating with honors from Brandeis law school, Rebecca began her legal career in Louisville, Kentucky where she focused her practice on family law and enjoyed a thriving private practice.
After starting a family of her own, Rebecca returned to Bowling Green where she has continued her dedication to the practice of family law. For eight years, Rebecca served as the Warren County family law litigator for Kentucky Legal Aid. In 2016, she brought her dedication to family law and her commitment to public service to ELPO. “Family law encompasses all facets of the law and has a profound and fundamental impact on our clients and on our community,” Rebecca says. “My family is what matters most to me. When representing a client in a family law case, I recognize and respect that I have been entrusted with what matters most to our client.”
Many times, the family law case represents an extremely difficult time in a person’s life. “I view my relationship with our clients as one of collaboration as we navigate the challenges and triumphs of their case,” Rebecca says. What has continually drawn Rebecca to family law is that, “you learn your client’s stories and the stories of their family. You discover how things began, where they may have gone wrong, and how to guide people forward to a promising future.”
Rebecca understands the impact of divorce actions on all aspects of a client’s life, not the least of which are the repercussions that divorce can have on a client’s assets and estate. The impact of divorce on a client’s holdings and how those holdings may ultimately be distributed must be carefully considered and appropriately addressed within family law proceedings. Rebecca’s understanding of potential pitfalls that may be encountered during divorce is vital to ensuring the protection of our clients’ interests and those of their intended beneficiaries as they move forward in life.
Rebecca is also trained in collaborative divorce for those who are looking for options other than court hearings to resolve their disputes.
Clients who choose the collaborative process are committed to reaching an agreement that is mutually crafted. A collaborative case is resolved through a series of team meetings. The collaborative team is comprised of attorneys, financial professionals and therapists who work together to assist families who voluntarily choose to resolve their legal disputes without going to court. Each client has an independent attorney. Typically, a neutral financial professional and a neutral mental health professional, referred to as a coach, are also part of the collaborative team. When helpful, a second mental health professional serves as a child specialist.
At the beginning of the process, both clients and all team members sign a Participation Agreement. Clients and team members agree that litigation will not be the method whereby the case will be resolved. In addition, clients and team members agree to use good faith efforts in all negotiations, and agree to fully disclose all information in a willing and timely manner. If either party abandons the collaborative process and heads to court, the team members are terminated, including the attorneys.
Typically, the collaborative process begins by one or both parties contacting an attorney trained in collaborative practice. At the initial meeting, attorneys need to discuss with clients all available options to resolving existing disputes, including traditional litigation, mediation and the collaborative process so that the client is fully aware of the differences and can make a voluntary and informed decision about whether the collaborative approach is best for the client. For more on the collaborative process, visit https://www.collaborativepractice.com or, http://kyrespectfuldivorce.com/index.html.
Rebecca is quick to point out that family law isn’t just about divorce. “It is multi-faceted,” she notes. For example, Rebecca also commits her professional efforts to adoption, mediation and appeals.
“Few experiences are as joyful as helping people expand their family,” says Rebecca says when discussing adoption. However, joyful as it is, adoption is a complicated process requiring strict compliance with statutory mandates. Rebecca provides a steady and assuring hand through the complexities of adoption.
Additionally, Rebecca is a trained mediator who meets the mediation requirements of the Warren County Family Courts. Both mediation and collaborative practice are processes which help disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement outside of court. Rebecca identifies the value of mediation and collaborative practice as, “giving people the power to solve their own problems. The fact that people, through mediation and collaborative divorce, are able to fashion their own solutions to their problems helps ensure a resolution that is more likely to last.”
Rebecca also has extensive appellate experience and has successfully represented numerous clients at the appellate level. In 2014, Rebecca helped establish Kentucky law regarding child custody jurisdiction in the published opinion of Danaher v. Hopkins, 449 S.W.3d 765 (Ky. App. 2014). Rebecca’s successful appeals are illustrative of her commitment to the interests of her clients and of her understanding of the nuances of family law.
Throughout her career, Rebecca has been committed to professional excellence and to the improvement of the practice of law. To that end, she previously served as the Continuing Legal Education Committee Chair for the Bowling Green-Warren County Bar Association. Also, in 2016, Rebecca was appointed by Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. to serve as a Kentucky Trial Commissioner. As a Trial Commissioner, Rebecca presides over disciplinary actions brought by the Kentucky Bar Association against individuals accused of professional misconduct.
Rebecca also serves as a Guardian Ad Litem for children and represents indigent parents in child dependency, neglect and abuse actions and termination of parental rights cases. She also, in collaboration with her local family court judges, initiated a volunteer mediation project to help low-income families develop their own resolutions to disputes outside of court without resorting to litigation.
Rebecca is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) which is comprised of the top matrimonial attorneys throughout the nation. Rebecca also serves as the Diversity & Inclusion Chair of ELPO and is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission. She holds many leadership positions for the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association including serving on Council, on the CLE Committee, and three terms as the Chair of the ADR Committee. She formerly served as Chair of the Family Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution Sections of the Kentucky Bar Association. Rebecca is a Fellow of the Kentucky Bar Foundation, and Chair of the IOLTA Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Bar Association. In 2012, the Bowling Green-Warren County Bar Association presented Simpson with the Gwyneth B. Davis Outstanding Public Service Award and, in 2017, she received the Pro Bono Publico Award.