Monday Profile:Wendy Alton

Wendy Alton is a family law attorney and certified mediator for divorce and custody with the Ann Arbor office of Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. She has practiced for more than 10 years and focuses in divorce, custody, estate planning and probate. Alton earned her BA in English at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, with dual minors in history and physics, and graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 2002. A mother of three, Alton lives in Livonia with her husband Bill and her two youngest children, Zoe and Billy, along with their dog, Beagle Bailey. They are active members of Northridge Church. Alton was named as a 2012 Michigan Super Lawyer "Rising Star." By Jo Mathis Legal News What is your idea of perfect happiness? It sounds so simple, but perfect happiness to me is family time. Which living person do you most admire? I have to say that it is my parents. They have been married for 48 years, and taught me what was truly important in life. I couldn't have any better role models. What is the trait you hate most in yourself? Hate is a strong word, but I tend to be impatient at times. What is the trait you hate most in others? Again, hate is a strong word, but it is disheartening to see a lack of forgiveness in others. If you suddenly had an extra room in your house, what would you do with it? I would make it a craft/sewing room. (My poor husband.) Currently reading ..."Bohnhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy" by Eric Metaxas. My mother always told me ..."You cannot appreciate the mountains without having been through the valleys." What words or phrases do you overuse? "Seriously?" What was your most memorable meal? My most memorable meals were those that my family spent up north during Thanksgiving at my cousin's house in Boyne City. Both sides of my family would go up there every year, and it was truly a special time that I will never forget. What is your most treasured material possession? My iPhone, hands down. It connects me to all my family & friends, keeps my pictures, my books, my Bible, GPS, music, and any website I would want to view. If you could do one thing professionally ... I would work to change the divorce process to move it away from an adversarial system to one that is more aligned with mediation. What are your favorite websites? Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, YouVersion. Where have you been that you will never return--if you can help it? My teenage years! Thankfully I don't think I ever have to go back there. Your proudest moment(s) as a lawyer? My proudest moments as a lawyer are when a client sends me a thank-you for the work that I have done. To know that I have helped means the world. What would surprise people about your job? That what lawyers truly do is very different from what is portrayed on TV, and court is generally not exciting. What's your greatest achievement? People would probably expect me to say being a lawyer, but I believe my greatest achievement is being a mother. What would you say to your 16-year-old self? "Listen to your parents and stop being so stubborn and independent. You will have plenty of time for that in the future." Do you have spiritual beliefs? Oh yes. I believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and am thankful that I am saved by faith and grace. Ephesians 2:4-5. What would be your ideal job? The one I have right now! What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? Although I am a divorce attorney, it is important that I explore with my clients the idea of reconciliation, marriage counseling, and generally saving the marriage. This is a first meeting discussion, and an ongoing conversation if necessary. Favorite joke: Any joke my husband tells! What is something most people don't know about you? That I have been divorced myself, and that helps me bring perspective to my clients who are going through a divorce. Also, that I would love to have a farm and raise chickens. What do you wish more people understood? As simple as it sounds--it is often lost: to treat others the way you would want to be treated. If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? My first thought is that I would love to have dinner with my grandparents again--they all passed away in the last 10 years. But I would be very interested in having dinner with Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, and Leo Tolstoy. (Can you tell what I like to read?) Who is your favorite character of fiction? Jo from "Little Women." Favorite words: Hearing my kids say "I love you!" Favorite movie: "It's a Wonderful Life." What's one thing you can do now that you couldn't do 20 years ago? Be content in all of life's circumstances. Favorite place to spend money: Target, Michael's or JoAnn Fabrics. What is your motto? "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10. Published: Mon, Apr 8, 2013