Kathy Pett Ryman, Attorney


Kathy Ryman Lawyer

Kathy Pett Ryman update listing

Adoption, Dispute Resolution, Child Support, Farms, General Practice, Family Law, Mediation, Divorce


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Attorney Kathy Pett Ryman brings education and life experience to her law practice. She earned a Master's Degree in Social Work, and worked as a marriage and family therapist prior to beginning her law career. Attorney Ryman graduated from Drake University Law School in 1989, earning her Doctor of Jurisprudence. After serving as a Law Clerk to The Hon. Judge Maynard J.V. Hayden, of the Iowa Court of Appeals, she began practicing in 1990, as Executive Director of Story County Legal Aid, in Nevada, Iowa , where her practice focused on domestic relations, including representation of survivors of domestic abuse. In 1991, she was awarded a Certificate of Achievement by the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence for her legal representation of survivors of domestic violence. Ryman moved to Falmouth, Massachusetts in late 1996 and began practicing in January of 1998, concentrating her practice in family law, including divorce, custody, child support, alimony, paternity and domestic abuse. Attorney Ryman has argued cases before the Iowa Court of Appeals, The Iowa Supreme Court (see In the Petition of Bruce 522 NW2D 67 ( Iowa 1994)), and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.  In October of 2000, she was awarded the Elizabeth Lee Peace Award by the Upper Cape Domestic Violence Coalition. In June of 2003, she was awarded the Pro Bono Publico Service Award for her outstanding contribution to the Barnstable County Probate and Family Court Pro Bono Program, she is immediate Past President of the Falmouth Jewish Congregation, and a member of the board of directors of Independence House.  

All of her professional life, Kathy Pett Ryman has worked with people going through difficult times. After earning a Masters Degree in Social Work in 1979 (where she focused her studies on clinical social work), she bacame the Director of Jewish Family Services in Des Moines, Iowa where she worked as a therapist for individuals, couples and families. After a divorce, Kathy decided to make a career change. "Having experienced a divorce first hand, I realized how important it was to have someone representing me who was not only a good lawyer and advocate, but was able to communicate with me and relate to what I was going through." She enrolled in law school. After graduating and clerking for the Honorable Maynard J. V. Hayden, Judge of the Iowa Court of Appeals, in 1990, Kathy became Executive Director of Story County Legal Aid, an organization providing no cost legal representation to indigent individuals. Most of her work at legal aid was in the area of family law.

After she and her husband Arthur, a retired law professor, moved to Falmouth at the end of 1996, Kathy was admitted to practice in Massachusetts in 1997. She opened her law office, located in Falmouth in the Homeport Professional Complex, on January 2, 1998. "I continue to concentrate my practice in the area of family law, which deals with issues that profoundly affect not only the client, but other members of the family as well. I think this area of the law is one in which it is critical that clients feel a sense of connection with their lawyer."

After years of practicing family law, Kathy now offers mediation as an alternative to litigation. "I have come to realize there are often better ways to solve family problems than through litigation, which can be protracted, expensive and adversarial. If two people arc divorcing or have a family law issue and they can't reach an agreement themselves, they leave the decision up to a judge, who is a stranger and may not see things the way the parties do."

"When I represent someone, my role is to be their zealous advocate in an adversarial process. As a mediator, I am not acting as a lawyer for either party or for both of them. They hire me to be a neutral, nonjudgmental third party. It is my job during our mediation sessions to help them identify the issues that need to be resolved, identify the interests each have with regard to those issues and then to help them create a fair solution that satisfies their needs. The parties know better than anyone else what is best for them." Issues can include children's living arrangements, the financial needs of each member of the family and a division of the assets and debts. When couples splitting up have children, they still have to deal with each other, even though they are no longer together. Children do much better post divorce if their parents have been able to reach their own agreement, rather than have the court impose parenting arrangements.

Mediation is entirely voluntarily. Either party can withdraw at any time. The parties are free to consult with a lawyer or other advisor during the process. Once an agreement is reached, Kathy draws up the paperwork necessary to present to the court for its approval. The agreements are legally binding and enforceable. The mediation process encourages the parties to talk and to listen to each other, which can reduce conflict and anger and help the parties forge a new way of relating to each other. "While there are some situations where I would not recommend mediation, in most disputes involving families, the emotional, financial, and practical benefits of mediation far outweigh those achieved through litigation."

Position Organization Location Duration
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Drake University Law SchoolJ.D. Law SchoolN/A  
University of Iowa M.S.W.
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Kathy Pett Ryman
184A Jones Road
Falmouth, MA 02540
41.578251,-70.62514

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184A Jones Road
Falmouth, MA 02540


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