Skip to main content

Shelley A. Kester

About me

I love being a family law attorney and work with a terrific staff.  In addition to my private practice,  I have been blessed to serve as the founding Chair of the Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy Center (TBCAC), a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing positive change to how we help children and their families who have been victimized by sexual or physical abuse.  The TBCAC also provides prevention services, promoting zero tolerance for child abuse in our area as well as partnering with other organizations to help protect children.  The TBCAC has served hundreds of children and their families in the communities of Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians and is expanding its service area to Benzie, Kalkaska and Antrim Counties. I also enjoyed serving as a member of the Traverse City Track Club (TCTC) which holds the the Bay Shore Marathon, and sponsors Girls on the Run among other area races.  This non-profit organization provides significant funding to other non-profits in the area and gives back to the community in many ways, while promoting a healthy life style for people of all ages - including youth!  I am proud to have served on the founding board of the Great Lakes Children's Museum which is now matured to a very successful organization since my time on the Board.  I currently serve by Governor appointment to the Children's Trust Fund, a State Board that provides child abuse prevention services funding throughout the State of Michigan. 


I subscribe to the notion that if you believe it - you will see it.  Hard work doesn't hurt either.


We live in such a beautiful area - it is unacceptable for the ugliness of child abuse to continue.  Join me in the effort to bring zero tolerance for child abuse.


Photos and videos

746484 1361319025

746484 1361318959

Practice areas


  1. Divorce: 50%
    27 years
  2. Child Custody: 30%
    27 years
  3. Family: 20%
    27 years



Hourly ($235-250/hour)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

9 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • James William Saffell

    I endorse this lawyer.


    James Saffell Family Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Jan M Geht

    Shelley is a phenomenal lawyer and a tireless advocate for her clients!


    Jan Geht Litigation Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

457 Munson Ave
Traverse City, MI, 49686


MIActive And In Good Standing199205/14/2016
CAResigned 198905/24/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Nominated Fellow of the ABFFellows of the American Bar Foundation2010
Boss of the YearGrand Traverse Area Legal Professionals2008
One of Top Criminal Lawyers in Traverse City, MichiganBusiness News2007
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Managing MemberWilson Kester, PLLC1998 - Present
Associate AttorneyRunning, Wise, Wilson, Ford & Phillips, P.C.1991 - 1997
Association namePosition nameDuration
Children's Trust Fund, State of MichiganBoard Member2013 - Present
State Bar of Michigan - Family Law SectionADR Subcommittee Member2011 - Present
GTLA Bar Association Endowment Fund Advisory CouncilMember - GTLA Endowment Fund Advisory Council2010 - Present
Up North Collaborative DivorceMember2010 - Present
International Academy of Collaborative Divorce ProfessionalsMember2009 - Present
Collaborative Practice Institute of MichiganMember2007 - Present
GTLAMember1992 - Present
State Bar of MichiganMember-Family Law Section1992 - Present
Traverse City Track ClubBoard Member2013 - 2014
Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy CenterVice Chair2013 - 2014
State Bar of MichiganPractice Management Resource Council Advisory Committee2011 - 2012
Children's Trust Fund-State of MichiganBoard Member-Governor Appointment2011 - 2013
Up North Collaborative Divorce ProfessionalsVice Chair2010 - 2011
Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy CenterChair2010 - 2013
Grand Traverse Leelanau Antrim Bar AssociationPresident2010 - 2011
American Bar AssociationMember2009 - 2014
State Bar of MichiganDomestic Violence Committee1996 - 1997
City of Traverse CityFormer Mayor of Traverse City1996 - 1996
City of Traverse CityCity Commissioner1995 - 1997
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Divorce Action - Male Client Wins Primary CustodyMale Client Wins Custody; pleased with property division and support provisions
Collaborative Divorce CaseAssisted parties with reaching parenting schedule that fit their children; both happy with schedule. Wife well paid for interest in spouses business and support received for continuing education. Client sings praises of collaborative divorce.
Cooperative DivorceWife received home; custody and spousal support she wanted. Said process was painless and happy with outcome.
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
@Law Fall 2012Shining a Light to Improve The Way We Respond to Sexually Abused Children "Childrens Advocacy Centers"2012
Michigan Family Law Journal, with Robin Omer and Nina AbramsAnswers to Frequently Asked Questions for Attorneys Considering Mediation of Family Law Matters2012
Michigan Lawyers WeeklySpread the Word by Douglas J. Levy (contributed to article)2009
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Institute of Continuing Legal EducationUpdated in 2014Recipient of Family Law Certificate Program2009
McGeorge School of Law, University of the PacificJuris PrudenceJD - Juris Doctor1989
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Effect of Changes in Felony Non Support Law for Impoverished Parents.7&4 Television Interview2012
ICLEStarting a Law Practice2011
Solo and Small Firm InstitutePractice Management2009
ICLE commentatorCriminal law and family law2008
Solo and Small Firm InstitutePractice Management2007