Roy N. Martin

The Biography of Roy N. Martin. A Father, Husband, and Family Law Attorney Practicing in the Bellingham & Whatcom County Communities

Roy N. Martin is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University (Bachelor’s Degree, 1985, Natural Sciences), and the University of Arizona, (Juris Doctorate, 1996, Magna Cum Laude). After graduating 13th in a class of 164 and serving on law review, he was well positioned to prioritize career status by joining a large law firm or clerking with an appellate court. He turned away those opportunities and chose to practice domestic relations law because, following his own difficult divorce, he felt it would be far more meaningful to help those facing similar challenges. He knew that few people are blessed with work about which they feel passionate.

The way this came about was not easy. Served with dissolution pleadings in his first year of law school, during first semester finals, the case lasted years and dominated his law school experience. He received his Juris Doctorate while serving as sole custodial parent of his two children. A few years later, his ex-spouse moved 1500 miles away and all but ceased contact with their son and daughter.

These experiences have given me empathy for those who are dealing with divorce and parenting issues. I know what it’s like. When clients feel overwhelmed by fear, anger, frustration, sadness or other emotions, I can relate. I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel and do my best to help them see it.

For several years after law school, I was content to assist clients using traditional divorce methods. However, over time I realized that adversarial divorce often causes more problems than it solves. More and more, I began to notice the extent to which litigation devastates clients and their children. At one point, I questioned whether I was helping anyone at all and even considered giving up domestic relations practice. But when I reflected, I realized that guiding people through these difficult transitions was still my passion and that leaving this work to others solved nothing. So I began looking for other options. Soon after, I found and was trained in Collaborative Divorce and Mediation.

Each of these approaches can produce outstanding results in a cost effective manner. They also create an emotionally safe environment for clients and their children. Practicing this way has restored the deep satisfaction I felt when I first became a divorce attorney. There are times when litigation is necessary but I see it as analogous to the hospital emergency room. No one in their right mind should ever want to be there, but it is sometimes, in some cases, necessary. I no longer take those sorts of cases but am glad that some attorneys do because litigation has its place. I see adversarial law as a last resort that should be utilized only when more effective approaches are not helpful or appropriate.

Roy left Washington in 1993 to accept a full tuition scholarship to law school at the University of Arizona. Driving through the desert, he felt like he had landed on the moon. It was his intention to return to the Pacific Northwest immediately after law school. However, after unexpectedly becoming a single parent, to avoid disrupting the lives of his children once they had settled into school and community, he placed their interests first by setting up practice in Arizona.

Roy Martin and Children

Roy Martin and Children

After 18 years in the desert, once both children had left for college, he was free to follow his heart home. Although born and raised on the east coast, Roy knew from the age of fourteen that he belonged in the Pacific Northwest. He adores Bellingham and is grateful to this city and its people for graciously accepting him as an adopted son. He loves Washington and the entire Pacific Northwest. He loves the mountains and the Sound; the islands and the forests. He even loves the rain.