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Melissa Marie Denton

Family Attorney at Olympia, WA

4.8   14 reviews
  • Licensed for 35 years
    State WA
    Acquired 1989
    Active No misconduct found

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

About Melissa

Learn Melissa’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Divorce and separation
    This is a big part of family law. We strive to be really careful not to hurt people or waste their money at such a difficult time. It is so important to know what the law says because it reduces arguments and confusion.

    34 years

  2. Family
    I have practiced almost exclusively family law since 1990. All your money, your closest relationships and your future are at stake. Getting very good advice is surely a good investment.

    34 years

  3. Uncontested divorce
    The majority of our cases start, or at least end, with working out agreements that folks feel they can live with. It takes expertise, but we really enjoy helping people through this challenging time in their lives.

    34 years

  4. Child custody
    It is very important to keep the best interests of children at the very front of this kind of law. Fighting over kids hurts them. I try hard to help parents and kids avoid that.

    34 years

  5. Child support
    Child support is an art, not a science. We use highly sophisticated software to calculate support and strive to be honest and fair in settling this issue.

    34 years

  6. Child abuse
    Nothing is harder to deal with than issues involving the abuse (or accusations of abuse) of children. We have a lot of experience finding solutions that keep kids safe while respecting both parents as much as possible.

    34 years

  7. Alimony
    Spousal support/Alimony/Spousal Maintenance is a complex part of some divorces. It has to be weighed with a lot of other issues and what makes sense in this particular family. We strive to work out solutions that make a good future for both sides.

    34 years

  8. Domestic violence
    DV, as it is called, is a very difficult issue for both sides. It has long range consequences for both sides and we are very careful to help our client find and get the best solution and result that keeps safety first and common sense not ignored.

    34 years

  9. Adoption
    Most adoptions that we work with involve a person who is now acting as a parent becoming a legal parent when the biological parent is not really involved anymore. Cases may start as contested, but often resolve with agreed orders for the child's sake

    34 years

  10. Marriage and prenuptials
    It is a really smart idea to find out and be open and honest about the financial parts of marriage before the wedding. Getting that advice is great, but it is often not a good idea to get a prenup because the laws are fair already.

    34 years

I've practiced family law in Thurston County since 1990 and absolutely love doing it. My favorite part of this work is creatively and compassionately helping clients find a way through divorce or child custody/support issues with the least emotional and financial damage. Much of my practice is aimed at people who really don't want to destroy the other side or themselves. We work together to resolve the legal issues so you can get back to the better parts of your life with a healthy structure from whatever family law issue you have had to encounter.

My law firm is not all about me. I have absolutely fabulous people working with me and they help provide excellent service to everyone who contacts us.

Also see or call us at to learn about our services.

Photos and videos

This picture of a double rainbow symbolizes the promise that the future can get better and we can find the good things, even in the hard times. It is a real honor to help people find their way through the legal system with less pain and less expense.


Ascher & Denton, PLLC
2401 Bristol Ct. SW # A-101
Olympia, WA, 98502

Family lawyers nearby


4.8 / 5.0
  14 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by Monika | May 17, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Honestly the best person to have taken my case
Ms. Denton is an absolute gem of an attorney. From my initial consultation to the finalization of my divorce, she helped me through each and every step. This was the most difficult time in my enitre life and she made me feel supported and understood throughout the entire process. I felt she had my best interests at heart from the very beginning and she is knowledgable about what my rights as a parent and spouse. I could not have picked a better person to help me and I will forever be grateful for how my divorce/child custody/etc agreement ended up. She maintained integrity and commitment to my every need. Although this was a professional/business relationship, I feel like I could call her a true friend.
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Posted by anonymous | September 5, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
You will NEVER regret calling Melissa Denton at Ascher & Denton Family Law!
I highly recommend Melissa Denton at Ascher & Denton Family Law. While I reflect on the last year, with the changes, challenges, and court battles, I hope that Melissa Denton knows the monumental impact she and her staff made on my family’s lives. Our current reality would look very different right now without her support and guidance. I cannot say enough how grateful I am for her and her team, who were all professional, knowledgeable, responsive, and best of all, personable. They have worked tirelessly with me to fight for the best interests of my family! If you are unsure who to call for matters of family law, call Ascher & Denton; you will not regret it!
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Posted by Cassandra | January 12, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The exact attorney I needed every time!
Melissa has been an incredible attorney to have over the past 5 years. She has helped me win my case every time. Her and her office have always been responsive and courteous to my needs and concerns. I highly recommend Melissa for getting things taken care of correctly the first time!
Posted by Amy | February 28, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Absolutely wonderful DV attorney
There is not enough I can say for all Melissa has done for me and my children. I hired Melissa after having 2 other local attorneys. I won’t mention their names, however I don’t feel with them they always had the best intentions of my children involved. From the start with my consultation, Melissa always had not only my protection legally /finamcially at the top, but the protection of my children first and foremost. It had taken me three years and two attorneys before Melissa came and finished my case with the amount of money she told me she would. She actually finished my three year long case in just 6 months. If you are from an abusive relationship and are wondering where to go next and who could help you finish a long horrible process, I would definitely consult Melissa to help you. I do believe she is an angel for me and my kids...there just aren’t any more words or better way to put it. Thank you Melissa Amy and the M&Ms
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Posted by anonymous | December 12, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Knowledgable, Professional, Accessible
Melissa and her associates set the bar really high when it comes to catering services to the client. Melissa’s representation of me was an empowering experience- she kept me informed along the way, helping me to understand the “whys” of the legal process, which she understood is important to me and actually seemed to anticipate my questions. I felt confident in her knowledge and affirmed by her results. Whenever anything was filed by the opposition, I was always told to say so if I wanted to discuss it (and I did). The consistent communication helped ease me through the extremely taxing legal processes. When contending with abuse, either of yourself or a loved one, knowing that someone believes you and is 100% on your side is critical. This was never a question with Melissa and her staff, and that truly allowed me the strength to power through with my head on straight. Melissa’s sharp people skills are on par with her practicality and professionalism.
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Posted by SHE.LA | August 2, 2017
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
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Posted by SHEILA | July 14, 2017
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Very helpful and honest, Assertive !!
I submitted a email to avvo looking for help, I was contacted by 3 attys over the week after, Melissa Denton was the first to reply and the only one who contacted me personally the other two had assistants make contact . I immediately felt relief just from listening to vm. when I called her back the next day she took my call which happened to be a holiday. I was able to find out things that the other two lawyers would need a large consult fee to answer, melissa denton was understanding patient and assertive, listened without judgement and never once made me feel like it was all about getting hired, she is very helpful and i believe that she truly cares . I am not yet able to retain an attorney but as soon as I am Melissa Denton will be who i hire
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Posted by Stephanie Golubski | January 6, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Choice!
Melissa represented me through my divorce. Her compassionate, sound advice was above and beyond what I expected from a divorce lawyer. Her professionalism stood out among others I looked at to handle my case. In the end I was extremely pleased with the results. Melissa's made me feel confident and sure things would be ok. I'm very grateful for her expertise and guidance through the entire process.
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Posted by G.H. | February 22, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Professional and knowledgeable with excellent communication skills
I highly recommended ASCHER & DENTON, PLLC , the firm has a great team. Melissa has a great personality and a real sense of caring which made me feel at ease. Very nice team with experience and knowledge. I could always contact with any questions, and her thoughtfulness is much appreciated. Very grateful for her help. Thank you very much.
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Posted by Lucas | August 6, 2015
Top notch attorney
Melissa and her staff were unbelievable. She saved me about $30,000 in spousal maintenance and I was able to keep %100 of my pension. I would recommend her to anyone who wants a divorce done quickly with optimum results. Her rates are fair as well.
Posted by anonymous | June 19, 2009
Melissa Denton, ASCHER & DENTON, PLLC
It was a pleasure working with Melissa and her staff. Her kind words and dedication to my case eased many of my uncertainties. Through our dialog, she was able to determine my legal problem. She communicated the legal speak in terms I could clearly understand, and accomplished all we discussed and more. I would work with Melissa again.
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Posted by anonymous | September 12, 2008
Highly Recommended
I was in a custody battle for a little over 5 years when my daughter was little, and it was a real mess. I had been through many attorney's who did not understand the complexity of my case, all the filings and restrictions that were placed on me were something they could not undo, and they made me feel that my case was hopeless. It ended in a way that was not favorable to me and I see that it was taken way too far–it was taken to trial and it did not need to be. I was granted liberal visitation but my daughter lived with her father at the end of all that. I am certain the court ruled this way because I had poor legal counsel or–at times, none at all because I couldn’t afford it. The cost of it all was outrageous and unnecessary. When I look back on those years, I am very sorry that I did not have Melissa for legal counsel, as she could have really changed the outcome for my daughter, myself, and all the heartache of families involved--not to mention we would have saved a ton of money. My daughter decided to live with me for high school and moved in. This sparked a new battle: 7 years after the original battle ended, my case was reopened by my ex-husband, again fighting for custody of our daughter. It seemed that the same convoluted filings were made and crazy things happened to the point where I was not allowed to see my 15 year old daughter. Somehow he had managed to file papers that yanked my daughter out of school (and our home) on her second-to-last day of her freshman year, before she had taken her finals, placed me in contempt of court slapped my with all attorney’s fee’s and placed a restraining order on me in what seemed like one fell swoop. I scrambled to find an attorney, found one and retained him. He totally did not help me in this pivotal moment and things became worse for me legally. I felt completely helpless in my situation. I called the attorney I had retained frustrated and said I would not work with him anymore because he made everything worse. He referred me to Melissa Denton. Upon my first meeting with her she clearly understood the series of filings, the situation I was in legally, and my position. She said it would be a matter of undoing what had been done and getting the right evidence in front of the judge. She clearly saw through my mess and constantly put me at ease through the matter. She understood that it was a very stressful time for me and my daughter and was always very assuring, polite and clear about what was happening. She undid all the damage and I regained custody of my daughter in a fairly short amount of time. She is extremely bright and did not miss a single opportunity to clear up my case. She was on top of every single action, quick with responses, and extremely knowledgeable of the system. She always returned calls promptly and is very respectful and honest. Melissa is literally the most effective, professional attorney I have ever worked with. I am very grateful for her services. I would highly recommend her.
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Posted by anonymous | September 6, 2008
Mr. Raymond L. Land
Attorney Denton was quick to put my mind at ease when I first required her services. Her approach to my needs were calming and reassuring. She was always ethical and fair and insisted on the same from both myself as well as opposing counsel. She made no statements or promises that did not, in the end, finalize as presented. Her methods were always focused on solving the issues as opposed to confrontation and engagement. I would use her services again and recommend her highly.
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Posted by anonymous | June 9, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Would not hire again
I wish I'd never hired her. In completely over her head. Dropped the ball on court appearances on more than one occasion and remembered to show up at the last minute unprepared. Wrote much of my own court documents for her to then go back and tweak and then tell me how brilliant she was for changing a few words. Very stuck on her own brilliance and superb skill which was average at best. Had I know that farce it was going to be I would have never hired her in the first place.
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Contact for Details


AVVO RATING 8.4 (Excellent)

Work Experience

  • CEO
  • Advantage Denton
  • 2008 - Present
  • Partner
  • Ascher & Denton, PLLC
  • 1991 - Present


  • University of Oklahoma College of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1988
  • University of Puget Sound School of Law
  • 1 year of Juris Doctorate Training
  • 1988
  • University of Oklahoma
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1984

Sample of Legal Cases

  • In re Marriage of Rideout, 150 Wn.2d 337, 352-53, 77 P.3d 1174 (2003)
  • WA Supreme Court ruling on Contempt in Parenting


  • The Olympia Free Clinic
  • General Legal Counsel
  • 2011 - Present
  • Thurston County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1990 - Present
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1989 - Present
  • Troy Fisher Legal Defense Team
  • Volunteer Legal Publicist
  • 2012 - 2013
  • Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation
  • Board Member, VP, President
  • 2004 - 2008
  • Sound Collaboration
  • member
  • 2004 - 2009
  • City of Tumwater Planning Commission
  • Board Member
  • 1996 - 1999
  • Washington State Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division Board
  • Board Member
  • 1993 - 1995
  • Thurston County Young Lawyers Association
  • President
  • 1992 - 1994
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Best Startup
  • Startup Weekend
  • 2010


Speaking Engagements

  • Snohomish County Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • One Lawyer - where one attorney helps both parties with advice to settle
  • 2010

Attorney endorsements

Received (6)
Given (4)
Endorse Melissa
Family Attorney | Feb 27
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I endorse this lawyer. Melissa works extremely hard to make a difference in her client's lives. She has practiced as a Family Law attorney for over 20 years. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is compassionate, focus, and determined to get the best results. Although she has the smarts and the experience of a giant, she has always been very professional and courteous towards her clients. I am lucky to have her as a mentor."
Unknown Attorney | Apr 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Top-notch attorney. Highly respected in the legal community."
Family Attorney | Jan 23
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"Melissa's knowledge and expertise in the area of family law is second to none. She works hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for her clients and helps them to safely navigate through the often, intimidating maze of family law. She is a compassionate, caring person and passionate advocate on behalf of her clients. I endorse this lawyer."
Family Attorney | Dec 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have known Melissa Denton for many years -- I frequently refer family law related cases to her because I know she does well for her clients in this area. It takes a special person to be good at family law."
Family Attorney | Apr 30
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"It is a pleasure to endorse Melissa Denton, who is one of the smartest family law attorneys in Washington State. Her firm is in Olympia and she practices in Thurston, Mason, and Lewis counties. In addition to over 20 years of experience at the trial court level, she represented the Appellant in the important Marriage of Rideout case at the Court of Appeals. Melissa is a leader in dragging lawyers into the 21st century; she offers unbundled legal services (meaning you do some of the work and so save some money), flat fees (no "sticker shock" when you get your bill), and she's the Denton of Advantage Denton (a company that will help you find the right lawyer for you). There's a reason why people say "you need a smart lawyer," and Melissa Denton is a very smart lawyer!"
General practice Attorney | Jul 23
Relationship: Co-worker
"I thoroughly endorse this lawyer's work. I have been a partner to Melissa for over 15 years, and although I am now in a semi-retired status with our firm (Ascher & Denton, PLLC) I continue to take cases on an Of Counsel basis. Melissa and I continue to consult with each other on our respective cases on a virtually daily basis. I have dealt with many Washington lawyers in my career, and I consider her among a select number who combine very high levels of integrity, competence and compassion. Otherwise, of course, I would not have chosen to ally myself with her in our legal partnership!"
View more endorsements
Divorce and separation