View original published article here: http://sdvoyager.com/interview/community-highlights-meet-deveney-wells-gibson-of-wells-gibson-family-law-apc/
"Today we’d like to introduce you to Deveney Wells-Gibson.
Hi Deveney, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
For the majority of my life, I was raised by a single mother who sometimes worked three jobs to support us. She went through a divorce that seemingly left her high and dry to pick up the pieces all on her own, but she did absolutely everything she could to create a great life for me regardless. Still, I always thought it was unfair watching her struggle to provide while my father was more able to enjoy his life – free from the stressors of my upbringing and care that he should have been equally responsible for. Looking back, I feel that my best interests as a minor child at the time should have been considered to a greater degree and better fought for, which effectively would have relieved my mother from the financial stress she underwent. These experiences became my inspiration to pursue a career in the legal field, with the original goal of advocating for minor children. My options were to practice family law until I reached the experience necessary to act as counsel for minors, or I could practice juvenile law – specifically dependency. I ultimately decided to work in family law.
I moved from Texas to go to California Western School of Law in downtown San Diego. I started in 2017 and graduated in 2020, right in the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic. I was scheduled to take the July 2020 bar but instead ended up being one of the first applicants to take the bar remotely in October 2020. I received my passing results in January 2021 and was immediately sworn in as an attorney.
During my time at California Western, 4 out of my 5 internships were in family law. I went in knowing what kind of law I wanted to practice and so I had the benefit of being able to focus my energy there. I was already working at a well-known family law firm by the time I was sworn in as an attorney in January 2021, but ultimately decided that I wanted to start my very own firm.
Wells-Gibson Family Law launched in March of 2021 and has been thriving since. I am helping individuals and families from all walks of life with everything from prenups to divorce, custody issues, child and spousal support, property division, domestic violence restraining orders, etc. We do it all!
Throughout my experience in Family Law, I have found one area to be particularly disheartening – the divorces. Speaking with clients about WHY they’re divorcing, listening to the painful emotions weighing on them, and even crying with my clients because the heartbreak is so potent has been a deeply touching experience. It has also sparked a passion inside of me to try to help PREVENT divorce… to use my expertise to set marriages up for success. A bit of an oxymoron I suppose, a divorce attorney trying to save marriages!
Here’s the thing – I can talk about prenuptial agreements until I’m blue in the face. There are so many benefits of prenups that people just don’t realize, and so they miss out on key opportunities to set their partnerships up for success. To tell you the truth, I think premarital counseling should be MANDATORY prior to tying the knot because that would certainly lower the divorce rate. The fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce is just depressing. Yes, it pays my bills as a divorce attorney. But I would much rather contribute toward preventing and resolving issues while partners are in love with each other. <3
My solution? The Prenup Queen (pending trademark). This is both a business offering legal services and a professional persona. I aspire to be known as THE Prenup Queen. I want to educate the entire nation about the benefits prenups truly offer so we can save marriages OR at the very least reduce heartache & turmoil. I have been working tirelessly to get this passion of mine up and running and it has brought me so much joy presenting on the topic and having discussions about it.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road. Owning a business is full of ups and downs but we have to celebrate the entire process, right? When I first started out, I was doing everything on my own – the legal work, accounting, marketing, etc. I was working ON the business and IN the business. It quickly started to become overwhelming. There was a period of time where I was in court almost every single day for two weeks. I was worried about missing important case deadlines while also trying to stay on top of securing new clients. I stopped exercising because I was constantly working, I wasn’t getting adequate sleep, and my nutrition took a turn for the worse. I was no longer prioritizing my health and it ultimately began to show in my work product.
So I took a giant leap and hired another associate attorney! The thought of making my first hire was absolutely scary. The thought of someone relying on me to provide their paycheck?! Was I truly even in the position to handle such responsibility? Then there was the management aspect – needing to be a good leader was an absolutely wild thought for me at the time. But I needed to do it for myself, my firm, and my clients whom I wanted to serve well. It was quite a process, but my associate has turned out to be an absolute blessing and a huge help to the firm. She is so diligent and works tirelessly because she is equally as dedicated to serving families, especially in the troublesome circumstances they’re often facing.
Aside from that, it’s a constant effort to find your groove when starting a business. I’ve struggled with nailing down the best marketing strategies to draw in the kind of clients that would truly enjoy working with us and vice versa. It’s hard to turn down potential clients as a new firm, but it would be a disservice to take on a case knowing our personalities wouldn’t be a good fit. Everyone should feel comfortable and at ease with their attorney, given the complex and emotional nature of these cases. We work hand in hand with our clients every step of the way and we want to make it as enjoyable as we can.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My firm focuses primarily on family law. That means divorce, child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support (alimony), property division, domestic violence restraining orders, enforcement of court orders, legal separations, prenuptial agreements, and postnuptial agreements. We draft cohabitation agreements, which are very similar to prenups and postnups but aren’t governed by the family law code since the couple is not married nor domestic partners. We also do name and gender changes.
What sets Wells-Gibson Family Law apart from all the other San Diego firms is our team’s personality, empathy, and grit. We give our clients what they deserve. I’ve been told by other professionals to dial it down a little bit, but I am who I am. I’m real. I’m bubbly and fun. I’ll cry with my clients. I’ll dance with my clients. I’ll hug my clients. I truly care about my clients. I will also have very frank and candid discussions about what to expect and what they are (and are not) legally entitled to. I will tell someone if I think they’re being unreasonable. I don’t get clients’ hopes up for nothing and I set clear expectations from the start.
A major thing most firms lack is providing clients with the resources to move forward after a divorce. Many of our clients were the stay-at-home moms, not the breadwinner, and the person who wasn’t controlling the finances. Now they’re stepping into a vastly different way of life. I connect them with financial planners to help them get back on their feet and to plan for their economic future. I refer them to other professionals they may need so they can survive AND thrive. We don’t just leave our clients high and dry after the divorce is finalized – we want to ensure they’re taken care of holistically.
I am most known for AND most proud of The Prenup Queen. I am passionate about legal agreements between couples because these underrated documents provide benefits necessary for successful partnerships. They could be needed to properly create a will, trust, or estate planning document. They prompt important discussions that need to be had before serious commitment, but that most people simply bypass. They clarify expectations and foster accountability between partners. They protect children from previous relationships. They protect partners and family members in the event that one partner were to pass away. And if union does ultimately come to an end, these agreements help prevent difficult emotions from prompting bitter and messy splits. Most importantly, it empowers the couple to dictate whose property is and will be whose instead of leaving those decisions up to state law.
For anyone out there needing legal guidance or representation from a personable and caring attorney, Wells-Gibson Family Law, APC is the firm to count on. We take care of our clients and do everything we can to help them, even after their case is settled.
Couples contemplating marriage who want to do everything they can to set their partners
hip up for success need to go through the process of creating a prenuptial agreement. We are especially skilled with prenups, as it is our focus and my passion. Spouses already married can still protect their union OR get it back on track with a postnuptial agreement. Partners who live together but don’t plan on getting married can reinforce their relationship by putting a cohabitation agreement in place.
What do you think about happiness?
Life. Each and every day we are truly blessed to be able to wake up. Pondering the life I truly desire to live makes me so happy. I wake up fighting for that life I crave. There’s that saying – “Work to live, don’t live to work.” And that’s exactly what I’m striving for. I’ll be there soon. And I’ll make sure my employees are there with me. We all deserve to have a beautiful life and if I can help people get there, I certainly always will.