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Laura H. Cabanilla

Divorce and separation Attorney at Provo, UT

5.0   11 reviews

also known as Lauralyn Cabanilla

  • Licensed for 29 years
    State UT
    Acquired 1994
    Active No misconduct found

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

About Laura

Learn Laura’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Divorce and separation
    I have an active practice in divorce and family law. I have written a book which I give to clients free at our initial interview called, "A Handbook to Divorce in Utah, A Plain-English Legal Guide to Help You Make Informed Decisions."

    30 years, 1,000 cases

  2. Criminal defense
    I started my career as a prosecutor, when I went into private practice I continued taking criminal defense cases, so I have been working in this field for many years...many cases

    30 years, 1,000 cases

  3. Juvenile law
    I am usually appointed as a conflict Guardian ad Litem representing children in abusive or neglected situations, but I also represent parents accused of abuse or neglect, and children in juvenile dependency cases.

    24 years, 100 cases

  4. Adoption
    I have taken private adoption cases for many years, usually these are fairly simple, but I have taken on some complex, contested cases as well...I enjoy this aspect of the law, since we are creating and completing families.

    29 years, 20 cases

My legal practice is mainly focused on family law, although I do also include criminal defense, juvenile law, personal injury and other legal matters in my practice.  My staff and I have the experience and compassion to give our clients the best legal advice and attention in the most challenging divorce cases.  We hope to make every client feel like they are our only client.  We give our clients meticulous service.  As a help to my clients I recently wrote a book, which I provide at no charge to my clients, entitled  A Handbook To Divorce In Utah: A Plain-English Guide To Help You Make Informed Decisions.  This book is also available online through at 




A little about me: I attended college at Brigham Young University, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English. During college I joined the U.S. Army Reserve in order to pay for my schooling and because of my desire to serve my country (I come from a military family).  I was the only female cadet commissioned at that time or in the ROTC program at that time.  I am a 1994 graduate of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School.  

Immediately after graduating from law school, I clerked for Judge Ray M. Harding Sr., with the Fourth Judicial Court.  This experience was invaluable as it gave me an inside look at the workings of the Court.  Under Judge Harding's direction, I researched and wrote all his decisions. 

After my clerkship I accepted a position with the Orem City Attorney's office. This prepared me for my next position as a prosecutor with the Utah County Attorney's office, where I prosecuted many high profile criminal cases.  

In 2000, I joined the law firm which is now Esplin│Weight.  I am a partner with the firm and share in the ownership of the historic building where the firm is located.  My practice consists primarily of family law cases in resolving divorce and modification issues, (including appointment on children’s advocacy cases), criminal defense, and personal injury. 

While I was obtaining my legal education, not only was I raising my family (you'll read about them below) but I was simultaneously and continuously a member of the United States Army Reserve.  I served in several demanding assignments which gave me many varied and wonderful life lessons:  from an assignment as the Commander of a Petroleum Supply Company, Military Intelligence Officer, to ROTC instructor.  

In 2010 I was deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  I was based in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait but travelled frequently to Iraq and Bahrain during the Arab Spring which was occuring in the Middle East at that time.  I returned to Provo, Utah and finished out a four year term on the Provo City Council, and retired from the Army Reserve in 2012.  

I am glad to be of service to my community in any way I can, I continue to serve on various community boards.  Currently I am the Chair of the Provo Farmers Market Board; board member of Therapy Animals of Utah; member; Utah County Career Services Commission; board member of Utah County Clean Air Task Force; Brigham Young University Army ROTC Advisory Panel member; and a committee member for the Utah State Bar's New Lawyer Training Program.

I am married to Dave Cabanilla, an airline pilot with Federal Express and local land developer.  We  have four children:  triplets and a younger son.  We are now proud grandparents!

The pictures show my homecoming from my deployment, my book, and the arabian desert cat I adopted during my deployment.

Photos and videos

My homecoming in August of 2011 from my deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Greeting me are my triplets:  Cliff, Paige and Sierra.  Cliff and Paige are also soldiers, Sierra is married to one.  My youngest son Marc was serving a mission.


Esplin & Weight
290 W Center St
Box L
Provo, UT, 84601-4419


5.0 / 5.0
  11 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by Michael | May 18, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
She's absolutely wonderful
Specifically her work for me had been in conjunction with her representing my wife in a very messy and scary divorce from her previous husband, a sadistic narcissist who was stalking, harassing, and slandering her at every turn. He would threaten anyone who helped my wife with legal action, which included trying to get a protective order against me to keep me away from her and our two minor children. Laura represented me in that matter, and it was quickly and summarily dismissed.
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Posted by anonymous | September 26, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
My son is a disabled veteran and faced some divorce and criminal issues. We hired Scott Weight to represent my son. Scott introduce us to Laura because of her background and experience with the intricacies of military issues. We found Laura to be very knowledgeable, dedicated, and committed to our sons representation. She was blunt and bold, and it was obvious she cared about her client and what was right, not just winning or making money.
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Posted by anonymous | April 16, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Laura literally saved my life. I won't get into details, but I had a very sticky family situation and criminal case that she compassionately handled and went the extra mile constantly to resolve. I am alive with a happy family thanks to Laura. Also important to note is that Laura is extremely affordable compared to other lawyers. I am a college student and was able to afford her fees. I would give her 10 stars if I could
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Posted by Mike R. | July 6, 2016
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Divorce Law Consultation
Laura was phenomenal. Hopefully I will not need her, but she was very helpful in answering all my questions and did not see any need for litigation (at this point). Extremely refreshing and not the usual response from an attorney. I am used to hearing a list of possibilities that would encourage someone to start legal action. I got very ethical and practical responses from Laura. A stark contrast to my experience with other attorneys.
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Posted by Mike | September 17, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Simply the Best
Laura initially appears to be a mild manored lovely person. Then in the Court room she reveals her Super Attorney Cape. She is really something to see in action. But the best thing about her is that she has a genuine heart of gold. She cares.
Posted by anonymous | September 16, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Would Recommend to Anyone
Ms. Cabanilla assisted with my divorce proceeding, and her knowledge of the law and relevant precedents and her long experience made navigating the process bearable. Her calm demeanor helped prevent the process from becoming heated or contentious, and led us to a mutually-agreeable settlement.
Posted by Michelle | September 10, 2015
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Divorce - Debt Responsibility
I needed to consult an attorney as to how assets would be divided in my divorce. While I was aware of certain financial obligations, I was concerned about what my obligations would be for debts (credit, college tuition, loans, etc.) to which I had no knowledge of prior to filing for divorce. Following my consultation, I had a much better understanding of what the laws dictated as far as asset obligations.
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Posted by anonymous | September 10, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Beyond excellent
I hired Laura for a very complicated divorce case. My case had quite a few unfortunate dynamics not present in normal cases. I am beyond impressed at her level of patience with me as a client in such an emotional time but more impressed with the results she achieved on my behalf and her commitment to my case. I have hired lawyers before. From past experience I will verify most lawyers don't care and don't bother to be personally invested in the best interest of their client. i would recommend Laura to anyone. No normal lawyer could have gotten me the results she did.
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Posted by anonymous | September 10, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Lawyer
I think Laura is a great lawyer. She's smart and very helpful. She's punctual and nice to work with. She is very good at explaining things so I could understand them.
Posted by Nick | September 10, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Attorney
Very satisfied with Laura's services. Very upfront and honest. Would highly recommend to anyone in need of an attorney. Always returned all my emails and phone calls right away, which was very helpful and surprising.
Posted by Michelle | September 9, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
I hired Laura for my divorce. She really listened to me when I felt that the other lawyers I had gone to for advice wouldn't. I would recommend her to my friends.
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  • Hourly Rates $ 200-250 per hour
  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • Esplin Weight
  • 2000 - Present
  • Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
  • Utah County Attorney's Office
  • 1996 - 2000
  • City Prosecutor
  • Orem City Attorney's Office
  • 1995 - 1996
  • Judicial Law Clerk
  • Fourth District Court, State of Utah
  • 1994 - 1995
  • legal assistant
  • Holland & Hart
  • 1986 - 1988
  • Commissioned Officer
  • United States Army Reserves
  • 1982 - 2012
View all work experience


  • Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1994
  • Brigham Young University
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1986

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Lancer Insurance Co, Petitioner v. Lake Shore Motor Coach Lines, Inc., et al Respondents.
  • The Court found that the Insurance Code applied and that the legislature intended that common law defense to negligence was repudiated and that coverage was intended.
  • State v. Real Property at 633 E. 640 N. Orem, UT, 994 P.2d 1254, 2000 UT 17
  • I successfully argued this in front of the Court of Appeals
  • State v. Clements, 967 P.2d 957 (Utah App 1998)
  • I successfully argued this in front of the Court of Appeals
View all legal cases


  • Provo Farmers Market
  • Board Member, Officer
  • 2017 - Present
  • Utah Pet Partners Therapy Animals of Utah
  • Board Member
  • 2016 - Present
  • Utah County Career Services Commission
  • Board Member
  • 2015 - Present
  • Brigham Young University Army ROTC Alumni Advisory Panel
  • Alumni Advisory Panel Member
  • 2010 - Present
  • Utah County Clean Air Task Force
  • Board Member
  • 2010 - Present
  • Utah State Bar, New Lawyer Training Program Committee
  • Former Board Member
  • 2014 - 2020
  • Utah County Ice Sheet Authority
  • Former Board Member
  • 2011 - 2018
  • Provo City Council
  • Former Council Member
  • 2010 - 2014
  • Utah County Sexual Assault Advisory Task Force
  • Former Board Member
  • 1997 - 2000
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

Honors and Awards

  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • National Trial Lawyers
  • 2015
  • Christine M. Durham Public Service Award Finalist
  • UVU Christine M. Durham Prelaw Club
  • 2013
  • Appreciation - Service as Chair - Provo City Council
  • Provo City Municipal Council
  • 2012
  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • U.S. Army
  • 2011
  • Appreciation for Service to Country
  • Provo City Council & Provo City
  • 2011
  • Commendation Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters
  • U.S. Army
  • 2009
  • Army Achievement Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
  • U.S. Army
  • N/A
View all awards

Speaking Engagements

  • Chainbreakers - Breaking the Chain of Domestic Violence
  • Introduction to Divorce in Utah
  • 2016
  • Family Law from A to Z
  • Common and Not So Common Family Law Issues and Answers
  • 2014
  • Riverside Country Club
  • Changing Face of the Military and Arab Spring
  • 2013
  • Women in Leadership Scholarship
  • Keynote Speaker,
  • 2012
  • Arab Spring
  • Guest Lecturer
  • 2011
  • Veteran's Council
  • Keynote Speaker
  • 2010
  • Memorial Day Commemoration
  • Keynote speaker
  • 2010
  • Continuing Legal Education
  • Various Issues in Criminal Defense; Dealing with the Mentally Ill Client, Competency Petitions; September 2007
  • 2007
  • Expanding Your Horizons
  • Expanding Your Horizons, math, science and technology career focused conference for 6th – 12th grade girls
  • 2004
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (8)
Given (8)
Endorse Laura
Unknown Attorney | Apr 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Laura is an excellent attorney. She is smart, hard working, and knows the law."
Family Attorney | Jan 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I can endorse Laura without any reservation. She knows the law and is a great advocate for her clients in helping them resolve difficult issues."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Dec 23
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer."
Family Attorney | Dec 14
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I have worked on many cases with Laura where she has represented my client on their family law matter and I have handled the criminal matter. Often the two types of cases go hand in hand. Laura has done an exceptional job and I have had many of those clients get back with me and let me know what an exceptional job Laura has done."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Dec 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Laura is an expert in this area of law. Her breadth of experience, knowledge, and seasoned professional judgment make her one of the most effective attorneys I've come across."
Family Attorney | Oct 13
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I have worked with Laura on various cases as opposing counsel and when she has represented children as a guardian ad litem. I have found her to be thorough and reasonable. She represents her clients well and works hard to get her clients what they deserve."
Family Attorney | Oct 09
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. I like working on a case with Laura because I know she will understand the issues and work hard to resolve the case on a reasonable basis."
Family Attorney | Sep 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I have worked with Laura for over 15 years and have no reservation about endorsing her. She also does PI and criminal defense."
View more endorsements
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation
Criminal defense
Divorce and separation
Divorce and separation
Criminal defense