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Valerie Ilene Fenchel

Child custody Attorney at San Francisco, CA

5.0   8 reviews
  • Licensed for 12 years
    State CA
    Acquired 2012
    Active No misconduct found

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

About Valerie

Learn Valerie’s areas of practice.

Valerie Fenchel is the founder of Fenchel Family Law.  Her legal services empower men and women to navigate marriage and divorce toward more vibrant futures.  She advises clients, devises strategies, and works with therapists, actuaries, and forensic accountants to settle or litigate cases.  As a witness to the damage caused by divorce over the course of her career as a family law attorney and educator, Valerie has gained extensive experience in helping families in crisis.

Valerie is actively involved in the legal community.  As the Lead Attorney of Shalom Bayit’s Pro Bono Legal Panel, she assures representation to divorcing spouses that do not have the financial means to retain counsel. Valerie is an instructor of Family Law at the San Francisco City College and a divorce law expert to mental health professionals and civil litigators seeking to assist spouses navigating divorce. She presently serves as Secretary of the Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco, and is completing a fellowship on the board of the Jewish Community High School of the Bay.

Valerie previously managed the care and education for children and is passionate about protecting the best interest of children.  She excels at crafting parenting plans, negotiating settlements and litigating custody battles on behalf of parents that are able to put their child’s needs first. She has experience helping parents of newborns, toddlers, special needs children, and defiant teenagers.  She understands that every child is different, and that each child’s parenting plan and care must be narrowly tailored to meet his/her needs, either by agreement or Court order.

Valerie is an experienced negotiator, and aims to support the goals and values of families and serve the best interests of parents and their children through settlements. She belongs to the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, which aims to resolve family problems.

She explains to her clients that once court intervention is sought, a perfect stranger on the bench is permitted to make orders over their intimate personal matters. For this reason, resolving cases through negotiation and cooperative counsel is usually recommended.

Valerie understands that litigation may be a client’s only choice especially when there is an imbalance of power dynamics or the other parent is unwilling to put the children’s best interest first.  In these situations, Valerie does not hesitate to escalate the matter to Court, and is at home in the courtroom with her litigation training and aptitude.  She honed her litigation skills through honors programs with both the Office of the Attorney General in San Francisco, California, and the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C., and has presented winning oral arguments before California’s First and Sixth Courts of Appeal. She continues to present winning arguments to the Family Courts, which have resulted in her clients being awarded the custodial rights and financial relief that they deserve.

Valerie only accepts clients that are able to treat their partner with respect and protect the best interests of their children.  She treats her clients like family and provides the level of attention and care required to assure that they are always informed and empowered throughout the legal process. Valerie advises clients solely based on what she believes is in their best interest, even if that means advising her clients to not file for divorce, or requiring that her clients complete several sessions with a therapist before moving forward with a parenting plan.

Valerie graduated Phi Beta Kappa with High Honors from UC Santa Barbara and earned her J.D. from UC Davis School of Law where she served as President of the Negotiations Team.  She previously practiced exclusively family law at premier law firms in the San Francisco Bay area, which focused on the representation of high net worth individuals and families.  She lectures college students and addresses professional groups on pertinent family law issues.

Valerie jokes that family law is in her blood. Her mother, and Fenchel Family Law’s Of-Counsel, has a Mediation and Collaborative family law practice in Walnut Creek, and her father is a forensic accountant that has served as expert witness on behalf of family law litigants.  When she is not working, you can find Valerie watching Shark Tank, jogging around her Marina neighborhood, or planning her next beach vacation.




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Fenchel Family Law
2001 Union Street
Suite 480
San Francisco, CA, 94123

Child Custody lawyers nearby


5.0 / 5.0
  8 customer reviews
5 Star
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1 Star
Posted by anonymous | September 22, 2017
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Valerie Fenchel
Valerie is very professional and knowledgeable. She is also very personable and caring.
Posted by Dean | September 20, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Val is a Superstar!
My experience collaborating on projects with Val predates her launch of her own firm. On the multiple occasions we worked together, Val did superb work -- her attention to detail is excellent and her view of the big picture is comprehensive. Beyond her strong work, though, Val is an absolute pleasure to work with. There is nobody I'd recommend before her, and hope to send her referrals as soon as I get any!
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Posted by Barbara | September 16, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Wonder Woman
Mine was a divorce because of domestic abuse. Valerie negotiated with my former husband's attorney to get my former husband to accept a 3-year stay-away order without my having to testify in court! It was an achievement I hadn't expected but was extremely grateful for. It truly saved me a lot of anxiety. On the other hand, Valerie needs to acknowledge that older people have more life experience than she does and are frequently more experienced in human behavior, especially their spouse's behavior and thinking processes.
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Posted by David | September 14, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Valerie quite literally saved my life. She fought tirelessly to ensure that I had all of the protections that the law provided. She fought to ensure I could stay in my home as my ex fought to take it away from me. Valerie ensured I was protected from my ex and ensured I kept a bit of my sanity. I wouldn't wish a contentious divorce on anyone. But, if you do have to face this, make sure you have Valerie in your corner!
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Posted by anonymous | September 14, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
She is experienced!
I had gone through a lot of painful emotions during our seperation. Valerie was there to help me! My Husband moved out without a word, abandoned me and our two children for 6 months without any visits or financial support. Valerie is very knowledgeable in family law. She filed a motion for me, she fought very hard for the child support and my kids' sole custody. She is very good at following up. My native language is not english so my words are not enough to describe how helpful she was when i experienced the most difficult time of my life. All i can say is, she is worth my trust.
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Posted by Navruz | September 13, 2017
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Valerie is my go-to family law attorney!
Valerie is my go-to attorney for tough family law questions and referrals! She truly cares about her clients, does great work and has a solid reputation in the community. Highly endorse.
Posted by anonymous | July 25, 2017
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
As a fellow attorney I know quality
I have consulted with Valerie on issues our clients face and she is the type of lawyer I wish I would have if I were in this situation. She is assertive, honest, and kind. She leads a fabulous and experienced team and you can rest assured they will advocate for you.
Posted by Liane | August 27, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
This review is long over due but better late than never. During my consultation, I immediately knew that I wanted to hire Valerie Fenchel to handle my divorce case. Not only is she extremely professional but she also has a wonderful personality which is a rare combination of traits to have! She was very informative throughout the entire case from beginning to end! Highly recommended!
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  • Hourly Rates $ 300-400 per hour
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 9.4 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Owner
  • Fenchel Family Law
  • 2017 - Present
  • Family Law Instructor
  • San Francisco City College
  • 2015 - 2016
  • Attorney
  • Lerner Poole, LLP
  • 2014 - 2017
  • Attorney
  • Whiting Fallon Ross & Abel
  • 2013 - 2014
View all work experience


  • UC Davis SOL King Hall
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2011
  • Univ of California Santa Barbara
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 2008


  • Queen's Bench Bar Association
  • Domestic Violence Committee Chair
  • 2016 - Present
  • Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Secretary
  • 2016 - Present
  • Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco
  • Fellow
  • 2016 - Present
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (California chapter)
  • Member
  • 2016 - Present
  • Shalom Bayit Pro Bono Legal Panel
  • Lead Attorney
  • 2016 - Present
  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Family Law Section
  • Member
  • 2012 - Present
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
  • Member
  • 2012 - Present
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • Member
  • 2011 - Present
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • 2008

Attorney endorsements

Received (8)
Given (0)
Endorse Valerie
Family Attorney | Jul 23
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Valerie is an excellent attorney who possesses the single most important trait for someone who practices family law - she knows how to listen. In the relatively short period that Valerie has set up her own firm, she has developed a reputation as a top notch family law attorney in San Francisco. I highly endorse Valerie."
Family Attorney | Oct 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ms. Fenchel since 2008 and am so impressed by what she has accomplished professionally in a relatively brief period. She has all the traits a client should be looking for in an attorney--smart, hardworking, easy to get along with, and willing to go the extra mile. I highly, highly recommend her to anyone in need of a top-notch family law attorney."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Sep 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Valerie is an excellent lawyer who is detailed, efficient, and keeps her clients best interests in mind as she thoughtfully advances their cases. Willing to go the extra mile for each client, Valerie is a top notch attorney."
Family Attorney | Sep 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have been acquainted with Valerie for a couple of years, and we have shared at least one client (handling different legal problems for that client). Valerie is very knowledgeable, practical, and diligent, and I have been happy to refer several clients to her."
Family Attorney | Sep 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Valerie is hardworking, knowledgable, and passionate about helping her clients and giving them personal attention. I endorse and would recommend her to those looking for a family lawyer."
Family Attorney | Sep 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Valerie is a smart, hard working attorney with a lot of experience in difficult cases. She fights for her clients."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Jul 12
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"From having referred clients to Valerie, I know for certain that is an outstanding family law attorney. I'm so glad she started her own practice, because she certainly has the skills for it. She is responsive, knowledgeable and most important in this field, patient with her clients. Highly recommend."
Unknown Attorney | Nov 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Valerieis a dedicated, intelligent, and diligent attorney."
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San Francisco Child custody Lawyer Valerie Ilene Fenchel
Valerie Ilene Fenchel
Child custody Attorney
San Francisco, CA
Licensed for 12 years