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About me

Born and raised in Hampton Roads, I only strayed as far away as Richmond for law school.  I have worked with the court systems here for more than 30 years and know how things work. My goal is to make whatever legal service you require as easy on you as it possibly can be. With my experience, I will not be experimenting with you or your case. My firm is not a training ground for new associates. It is a place to come when you want the tried and true; when you want the right answer the first time.


Photos and videos

1808186 1333488447

1808186 1333488313

Practice areas


  1. Divorce & Separation: 50%
    34 years
  2. Adoption: 20%
    34 years
  3. Mediation: 10%
    34 years
  4. Family: 10%
    34 years
  5. Child Custody: 10%
    34 years



Hourly ($350/hour)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

11 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Brent L. Rowlands

    I endorse this lawyer.


    Brent Rowlands Divorce & Separation Attorney
    Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter

  • Linda Michelle Ross Shin

    I have worked as opposing counsel with Mary on a number of cases. She is sharp, knowledgeable, and tenacious in court, yet extremely personable and able to work well in a non-adversarial role, too. Mary's clients are always well-represented.


    Linda Shin Family Attorney
    Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter


VAAuthorized to practice law198109/15/2015
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Family Law and Family MediationBest Lawyers in America2015
Family LawSuperLawyers2014
Family Law"Legal Elite"2014
"Legal Elite"-Alternative Dispute ResolutionVirgnia Business Magazine2013
"AV" RatingMartindale-Hubbell2012
"Top 50 Women Lawyers in Virginia"SuperLawyers2012
SuperLawyer-Family LawLaw & Politics Magazine2012
SuperLawyer-Family LawLaw & Politics Magazine2011
"Legal Elite" in Domestic RelationsVirginia Business Magazine2010
SuperLawyerLaw & Politics Magazine2010
SuperLawyerLaw and Politics Magazine2009
Leaders In The LawVirginia Lawyers Weekly2008
Family Law Section Public Service AwardVirginia State Bar2008
Jefferson Award For Public Service (Regional Award Winner)American Institute For Public Service2007
Entrepreneur of the Year (Finalist)National Ass'n of Women Business Owners2007
Woman Of the Year (Law)YWCA2006
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
PartnerCommander & Carlson, Attorneys And Mediators2010 - Present
N/AMary G. Commander, Attorney & Mediator2000 - 2010
PartnerGoldblatt, Lipkin & Cohen, P.C.1985 - 2000
AssociateHeilig, McKenry & Fraim1982 - 1985
Law Clerk to Hon. John A. MacKenzie, U.S. District JudgeUnited States District Court (E.D. Va)1981 - 1982
Association namePosition nameDuration
Virginia State Bar, Family Law SectionBoard of Governors2013 - Present
American Bar AssociationFellow2013 - Present
National Center For Family LawBoard Member2007 - Present
Old Dominion University Intercollegiate FoundationBoard Member1999 - Present
Virginia Women Attorneys Association (Norfolk Chapter)Past President Local Chapter1985 - Present
Virginia Trial Lawyers AssociationMember1983 - Present
Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar AssociationLaw Library Board Member1983 - Present
Virginia Bar AssociationMember1981 - Present
Virginia State BarPast Circuit Representative1981 - Present
American Bar AssociationMember1980 - Present
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court JudgesMemberN/A
Family Law Association of Hampton RoadsMemberN/A
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Bomar v. BomarCircuit Court reversed by Court of Appeals
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Adoption: Practice and Forms For The Virginia LawyerFourth edition of treatise2008
University of Richmond Law ReviewAnnual Review-Law of Workers' compensation1991
University of Richmond Law Review"Education or Discrimination," Minimum Competency Testing1981
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of Richmond, The T. C. Williams School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1981
Old Dominion UniversityHistoryBA - Bachelor of Arts1977
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Annual Advanced Family Law ConferenceEthics For Lawyers2015
Mediator TrainingSpousal Support2011
2011 Virginia Women's ConferenceDivorce2011
Divorce For Navy LawyersSeparation Agreements/Divorce For Navy Lawyers2010