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Thomas C. Kates

Divorce and separation Attorney at Holland, MI

5.0   8 reviews

also known as Tom Kates

Virtual consultation available
Virtual consultation available
  • Licensed for 34 years
    State MI
    Acquired 1989
    Active in Good Standing No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Thomas

Learn Thomas’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Divorce and separation
    For the past ten years I have concentrated my practice almost exclusively on family law including divorce, custody, support and property division.

    34 years, 250 cases

  2. Child custody

    34 years, 100 cases

  3. Family

    34 years, 100 cases

  4. Mediation

    19 years, 80 cases


I have been practicing law in West Michigan for over 30 years.  Of this, approximately fifteen years has been devoted primarily to divorce, custody and other vitally important family law areas of practice.  Prior to specializing in family law, I worked in general civil litigation.  I have first chair trial experience in the areas of construction design and defect litigation, automobile no-fault and property litigation.  Since 2007 my practice has been devoted almost exclusively to family law and I have handled hundreds of divorces and custody cases in Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, Muskegon, Oceana and Mason Counties. 


I am certified as a domestic mediator and have taught advanced mediation and domestic law workshops. 


Client's Choice 2014
Client's Choice

Photos and videos


Thomas C. Kates PLLC
36 West Eighth Street
Suite 200
Holland, MI, 49423


5.0 / 5.0
  8 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
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1 Star
Client's Choice 2014
Client's Choice
Client's Choice is an Avvo award granted to attorneys with a significant number of client reviews over 4 stars in a given year.
Posted by Matt | February 7, 2014
Honest, Affordable, Trusted.
Tom has been a trusted colleague for years. I personally have been helped by his prompt and thorough responses to thorny legal issues that I have encountered in my professional role and personal life. I have referred dozens of clients to him specifically for help in the area of family law and estate planning. It has been my experience that Tom treats every client and case as if it were his own. He is a sympathetic, honest, and professional man who comprehensively knows the legal system, and has nearly a quarter century of practical hands on experience. I trust him so much that I have and continue to refer my own family and friends to him when needed. You will not be given poor advice from Mr. Kates. He raises the bar in the profession of practicing law by his integrity, character, and kindness.
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Posted by anonymous | December 29, 2014
Finding myself in a situation requiring legal counsel, I had only one criteria in selecting an attorney...integrity, and my referral inquiries led me to Thomas C Kates. Tom is an exceptional attorney that helped me navigate my way through a very difficult and emotionally charged circumstance. Tom was very knowledgeable of the legal system, intentional in his approach, yet attentive to my requests and directive. Tom articulated well in the courtroom, and his presentation and timing were impeccable. A class act in a hostile enviroment. Thomas C Kates was more than just an "advocate" for his client, he is an attorney with integrity.
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Posted by William | December 15, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Divorce and Counseling
Thomas C. Kates was my attorney for a difficult divorce in Michigan. He also provided counseling regarding personal and financial recovery. Kates' experience is very extensive; he even has written the book on divorce in Michigan. His instinct was to reduce conflict and reach a settlement, but he did push back when necessary to ensure a reasonable fair outcome. I would recommend him unless your goal is escalate conflict and increase your legal costs.
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Posted by Dave | December 11, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Gray Divorce
Tom did an exceptional job with my situation. After over 30 years of marriage we had a lot of strings to untie, pensions, 401K's, businesses, etc. The first law firm I interviewed declined. Tom did an excellent job navigating the issues. He's compassionate, level headed, and efficient. He did a great job working with my wife's counsel and successfully avoided unnecessary detours in the process. I recommend Tom highly.
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Posted by Kate | December 11, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Help with dog contract
When I contacted Thomas Kates to help me with a contract conflict I was so upset I couldn't speak. He took the time to settle me down and listen to my issue. He assured me he could help. At our meeting he reviewed the paper work I provided and the text messages. Given this information he drafted a letter to the other party and the issue was quickly resolved in my favor.
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Posted by norma | March 25, 2014
I would use him again
I used Mr. Kates for my divorce to help me understand the legal documents I was receiving from my ex. He explained when I had questions and made sure I understood. He promised not to do anything I was not comfortable with and told me anytime I was not happy with his services I could fire him. He also made sure my ex new he was looking out for my interest and not his beacuse I was his client. I highly recommend him.
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Posted by Andy | March 11, 2014
Tom is an honest and very helpful person
Thomas is helpful and honest. He helped me through a divorce which is I'm sure can always be uncomfortable for a client. His demeanor, ability to be calm and non aggressive attitude was a real plus for me. I don't believe that he ever muttered an inflammatory comment or made any derogatory statements through out the whole thing.
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Posted by Richard | March 3, 2014
My review of Thomas Kates: He is extremely competent, professional, and fair.
Tom has been our family attorney for nearly 25 years. He handled a significant personal injury claim for us and obtained a favorable out of court settlement. He has been our trusted advisor on matters involving a family trust, estate planning and family law issues. He has a wealth of knowledge in litigation and family law. He is trustworthy, and his fees are fair and reasonable. I highly recommend him. Richard, a litigation client 1989-2014
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AVVO RATING 9.5 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Founding Attorney
  • Thomas C. Kates PLLC
  • 2007 - Present
  • Attorney
  • Hackney Grover Hoover and Bean
  • 2006 - 2007
  • Attorney
  • Bigler Berry Johnston Sztykiel and Hunt
  • 2002 - 2006
  • Managing Partner
  • Wilson and Kates, P.C.
  • 1998 - 2002
  • Attorney--shareholder
  • Smith Haughey Rice and Roegge
  • 1989 - 1997
View all work experience


  • Mediation Training Consultation Institute
  • Certificate in Domestic Mediation
  • 2014
  • Mediation Training Consultation Institute
  • Certificate, Domestic Violence Screening
  • 2014
  • Wayne State University Law School
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1989
  • Central Michigan University
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • 1983
View all education

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Gonzales v. Gonzales
  • custody awarded to attorney Kates' client
  • Powery v. Wells 278 Mich App 526
  • Travelers Indemnity v Kent Companies
  • no cause for action
View all legal cases


  • Mediation Services
  • Mediation Education Committee
  • 2015 - Present
  • Holland Solo Bar Association
  • Founder
  • 2014 - Present
  • Ottawa County Circuit Court, Family Division
  • Domestic Mediation Panel
  • 2014 - Present
  • Allegan County Circuit Court
  • Case Evaluator
  • 2008 - Present
  • State Bar of Michigan, Family Law Section
  • Member
  • 2007 - Present
  • Kent County Circuit Court
  • Case Evaluator
  • 2007 - Present
  • Case Evaluation Panel, Ottawa County
  • Case Evaluator
  • 2005 - Present
  • Mason-Lake Bar Assn
  • Past President
  • 1998 - 2000
  • Michigan Defense Trial Counsel
  • Member
  • 1994 - 1998
  • Wayne Law Review
  • Assistant Editor
  • 1988 - 1989
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • BV Distinguished Rated
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2016
  • Best Appellate Brief Award
  • Wayne State University Law School
  • 1989
  • American Jurisprudence Book Award Adv Legal Writing
  • Wayne State University
  • 1989


  • Amazon
  • The Michigan Divorce and Child Custody Handbook
  • 2016
  • Michigan Bar Journal Online
  • "Holding Court At Sunrise"
  • 2012
  • Wayne Law Review
  • Publisher Liability for "Gun for Hire" Advertisements
  • 1989

Speaking Engagements

  • Winning At Home In Service
  • Mediation for Counseling Professionals
  • 2014
  • Talk of the Town Radio Show
  • New Trends in Mediation
  • 2014
  • Wellness Staff In Service Training
  • Family Law Issues for Counseling Professionals
  • 2012
  • the Peacemaker course
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • 2008
  • Nurse Education In Service
  • Anatomy of a Lawsuit
  • 2001
  • Continuing Medical Education
  • Emergency Treatment and Active Labor Act Update
  • 1996
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (9)
Given (16)
Endorse Thomas
Family Attorney | Jan 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I worked with Tom as a mediator on several matters and have been impressed with his breadth of experience in divorce and child custody matters. He is one of the best attorneys in Ottawa County and may be the best family law attorney in the area."
Family Attorney | Jan 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I have worked with Thomas Kates in both family law cases and in mediation. He is professional and ethical and treats all parties with respect. He is extremely competent and knowledgeable in family law matters and an excellent advocate for his clients. I recommend Mr. Kates as an advocate and also as a mediator."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Nov 23
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I fully endorse Tom because I have known and worked with Tom for 14 years and I have always valued his knowledge, judgment and professionalism. I have referred many clients to Tom over the years because I knew that they would be in good hands."
Family Attorney | Feb 17
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. I have worked with Attorney Kates for a number of years. Many of the cases that I have worked with Attorney Kates on have been complicated and involved a wide range of legal issues. Attorney Kates has proven himself to be extremely knowledgable of the law and a determined advocate for his clients."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Jan 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have known Tom Kates for more than two decades. I have always found Tom to be a diligent and determined advocate for al of his clients. Tom cares about his clients and has the skill and experience to provide them with excellent representation."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Jan 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Tom is very knowledgeable and cares about his clients. I am very comfortable referring my clients to him for family law and divorce matters. He takes time to listen and has a very calm demeanor that is reassuring to someone going through a stressful situation."
Family Attorney | Apr 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I strongly endorse Thomas Kates as he is an excellent attorney. He is trustworthy, thorough, conscientious, and compassionate, just the qualities necessary to assist individuals as their family law cases proceed through the judicial system. His insight and experience provide very valuable traits needed by any family law attorney. He serves his clients very well indeed. It is a privilege to have a colleague such as him in this legal community."
General practice Attorney | Mar 26
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I am an attorney in Ludington, so I saw Tom practice law for many years when he used to live and practice here in Mason County. Tom is honest and hard-working, and does a great job for his clients. I endorse him wholeheartedly, and would recommend him to friends and family."
Family Attorney | Mar 03
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I have known Tom for years and know him to be an excellent attorney. He his fair and honest and is respected in the legal community as an excellent divorce attorney."
View more endorsements
Divorce and separation
Workers compensation
Bankruptcy and debt
Criminal defense
Estate planning
Estate planning
Personal injury
Holland Divorce and separation Lawyer Thomas C. Kates
Thomas C. Kates
Divorce and separation Attorney
Holland, MI
Licensed for 34 years
Virtual consultation available