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Karen S. Sendelbach's Profile Image

Karen S. Sendelbach

Phone: (734) 994-3000

Past Chairperson, State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section

Certified in Elder Mediation & Court Approved Family Mediator

Past president of the Washtenaw County Bar Association’s Family Law Section

Appointed Member, Michigan Bar Association’s Attorney Discipline Board

A “Super Lawyer” – a designation given to less than 5% of all attorneys in Michigan

One of Metro Detroit’s “Top Lawyers 2011”, dbusiness Magazine

AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell for ethcial standards and legal ability


“I believe clients who understand the law are better able to make decisions regarding their situation. We work together to resolve difficult family issues as early as possible.”

Karen S. Sendelbach has represented clients at all levels of the judicial system, from mediation and other informal dispute resolution through the trial and appellate levels. She is frequently sought out as a lecturer on family issues for both professionals and the public.  Karen has been practicing family law since 1994 and is trained in all popular methods of dispute resolution: litigation, mediation, collaboration and arbirtration and appellate law. She has also completed guardian ad litem training, which qualifies her to represent children during contentious family law litigation.

Prior to her election by her peers to chairperson of the State Bar of Michigan’s Family Law Council, Karen was elected chairperson of the State Bar of Michigan’s Amicus Curiae committee. Karen wrote several legal briefs to both the Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court on behalf of the family law attorneys in the State of Michigan.

Active in her community, Karen has served on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Justice Center in Detroit, Michigan, a domestic violence shelter. She also worked as an attorney for Oakland Livingston Legal Aid and volunteers for the Board of Advisors for the Great Lakes Invitational Conference Association, a Model United Nations and Domestic Issues conference for high school students from Michigan and worldwide. She is also active in local school issues.

Karen is a cum laude graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law in Syracuse, New York, where she was named Outstanding Woman Law Student by the National Association of Women Lawyer’s and received the American Jurisprudence award for Jurisprudence of Criminal Justice. As an undergraduate, Karen was honored with an Outstanding Senior Award at Michigan State University.

Karen is frequently sought out as an arbitrator, mediator, or parenting facilitator by her fellow attorneys.

To schedule a confidential consultation, call (734) 994-3000 or e-mail


“Karen helped me get through the hurt, chaos and confusion that comes with being blindsided by a divorce.  She was ‘real’ and sympathetic at the same time.”–Mother, Saline

“Karen kept my interests at the forefront and didn’t push me toward decisions I wasn’t ready to make.  She respected my choices, even when they didn’t agree with her advice.”–Mother, Ann Arbor

“I feel genuinely honored to have had Karen’s passion and intellect on hand to resolve an incredibly complex matter.  I appreciate how ingenious her resolution was and the magnitude of the protections it provides for our client and her children.”  Attorney for Mediation, Wayne County

“I love working with attorneys like Karen.  She is a fair, patient mediator who helped out client reach a settlement despite some unique circumstances.”–Attorney, Plymouth

“Karen, words cannot express how appreciative I am to you for settling the case.  You are a family law pro bono superstar.”–Attorney, Legal Services of South Central Michigan

“I can hardly believe that, thanks to you Karen, my divorce was resolved in just two months.  I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of relief–and am really in awe of how you work.:–Father, Ann Arbor

“Karen and her team are excellent, and the entire firm is full of people who care.”–Father, Ann Arbor

“Karen, you gave me so much knowledge and truly had an impact on my life and my children’s lives.” — father, Ann Arbor

“You have been such an incredible influence on me as a strong, independent woman. I learned so much from you and your confidence in me. I appreciate and respect you for all you did to help me find myself and decide where I’m going with my life.” — Graduate student, Ann Arbor

“Thanks to you, I’m living a very joyful life. Your expert counsel and skills as an attorney have allowed me to carry on in a way that has been truly wonderful. My son is back in my life and we are even playing hockey together.” — Physician and father, Livonia

“We so appreciated your willingness to listen and help us implement the unique desires of our family. We’re moving forward in a kind and respectful way, although we are all facing a blank page we never anticipated. With your leadership, we are able to face the future with dignity and a sense of contentment.” — mediation clients, Ann Arbor

“Karen, you are my hero. I’ll never forget everything you’ve done to help me start my brand new life.” — single woman, Ann Arbor

“Many thanks for your thoughtful, thorough approach during mediation. You turned something my husband and I had been dreading for months into a positive move forward for us both.” — mediation client, Ann Arbor

“It was a real pleasure to work with you, even if the purpose was our separation agreement. We will move ahead and be in touch if anything unexpected arises.” — mediation clients, Ann Arbor
“I immediately felt comfortable with Karen. The high level of communication was greatly appreciated given the tight timelines required.” — mother, Ann Arbor

“The work you do can really make or break the lives of people who are going through a divorce. I honestly think that if I had worked with someone else, it could have been a disaster.” —Business owner and father of 2, Ann Arbor

“From the moment I entered, everyone was personable, caring, and professional. For many businesses, that’s hard to do consistently—and you did.  I was amazed how fast Karen communicated with me. My husband would have dragged out the divorce forever, but she didn’t let that happen.”    Mother of 1, Gregory

“Thank you for all your help with my divorce. I really feel you may have been the most objective, level-headed and fair person among everyone involved.” — Physician, Ann Arbor

“Karen has a knack for helping people relax under pressure. She listens intently and explains the law in simple terms. Her firm has a positive and uplifting environment despite the serious nature of the work they do.” — Wife, Ann Arbor

“I was very pleased with all of the staff and I felt I was treated with compassion and respect. They handled the tactics of my wife’s attorney well and represented me with professionalism.” — Husband, Lansing

“I’m hoping we are the poster children for the benefits and positive power of successful mediation. Both my husband I feel we had an excellent team guiding us, and the process had immeasurable benefits to the well-being of our children. Our unified ‘co-parenting’ arrangement contradicts every stereotype they have of divorce, and doesn’t give them one ‘bad guy’ to blame.” — Mother of 3, Ann Arbor

“I felt a lot better walking out of your office after our mediation session than I did walking in. I appreciate all you did to ensure we came to an agreement today.” — Single woman, Ann Arbor

“Thank you very much for making a new (and good) chapter of my life possible. I appreciate that you did a lot of extra things for me, and understand now why you came with such superb recommendations.” — Single woman, Ann Arbor

“Karen was as much a part of the solution as any counsel I have ever seen in any case. To get as much agreement as we got is a real testament to your ability to remain patient and forward-moving.” — Attorney/Mediator, Ann Arbor

“That was some pretty breathtaking lawyering. I can’t think of too many others who could have negotiated a win/win situation under these circumstances, especially in that short amount of time.” — Mother of 3, Ann Arbor

“I appreciated Karen’s professionalism, knowledge, and friendly approach.” — Mother of 1, Ann Arbor

“I can’t tell you how much my life has improved due to our interaction. Thank you so much for your intensely professional service.” — Single man, Ann Arbor

“You’re my all-time hero…you don’t know what it means to have someone of your integrity stand up for me after all I’ve been through. Thank you more than I can express.” — Physician and mother of 3, Maine

“I came to you for expertise and guidance, and in addition, you made me feel cared about and supported, which made all the difference in getting through the legalities of the divorce process.” — Mother of 1, Ann Arbor

“I will never forget how you flawlessly seemed to pre-empt opposing counsel’s efforts to divert attention from the critical issues. People remark over and over how lucky I was to have you as my attorney.” — Father of 1, Ann Arbor

“I’m sure you hear words of thanks often, but please know how appreciative I am of your knowledge, prowess, skills and insight. I’m in awe of your capabilities and feel blessed to have you on my side.” — Mother of 2, Ann Arbor

“Thanks again, Karen, for your support, calming influence, professionalism, humor, and all-around good care. I’m sleeping better and enjoying the newness of spring; life is good.” — Wife, Ann Arbor

“Thanks to your skill and caring, my daughter finally has a shot at a stable life. Our settlement allows her to maintain a relationship with her mother while having a secure place to call home. Outcomes like this may be commonplace for you, but it will make a lifetime of difference for my daughter.” — Father, divorce/custody

“I wanted you to know how much respect—profound respect, in fact —I have for you as an attorney. You are ethical, hard working, personable, and wise. I have seen you in the role of advocate, mediator, and arbitrator. You have an uncompromising commitment to the law, to equity, and to people in general. You balance your love of your family, your devotion to service to the bar and the community, responsibility to your firm, and a continuing private practice” — Attorney, Ann Arbor

“I loved Karen’s style of engagement and advice, and she worked hard to keep my charges reasonable.” — Husband, California

“Thank you for fighting hard for me today and explaining how the court will decide the amount of alimony & child support.” — Father of 2 Ann Arbor

“My thanks for your wonderful representation and personal kindness. I am better off for having had both.” — Wife, Washtenaw County

“I recognize all the hard work you are doing and how effective you are in court.” — Father, Washtenaw County

“Karen, you are great to work with—a class act.” — Family law attorney representing the opposing spouse in a divorce settlement.

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your understanding and efforts during my custody case. It’s the first time in a long time that I will sleep peacefully, and my daughter is very happy, too.”— Father who obtained sole custody of his daughter, Ann Arbor

“Karen is a whip-smart attorney who kept my head on straight during my own painful divorce. Her unquestionable expertise and gentle sense of humor kept the process as classy as possible. She manages to negotiate a difficult situation with much grace and compassion.” — Divorced woman, Ann Arbor

“Thanks to you for all you’ve done and are doing. My kids are adjusting very well to the divorce, and it’s great for me to be part of their lives again. Picking them up directly from school, which you arranged, is a joy.” — Father of 3, Ann Arbor

“Karen, I am so happy that you are on my team. I love how you phrase things to get the desired result. When my partner kept raising old issues, you intervened to advocate for the best interests of our son.” — Mother, Ann Arbor

“Thank you for the most efficient, smart, pleasant and well run mediation I have ever attended. Way more than two thumbs up!” Attorney – Ann Arbor

Our Family Mediation & Collaborative Practice Center is now operating in Ann Arbor. Click to learn more about the mediation and collaborative divorce services being offered.

FM&CPC Home Page


"[You reminded me] that the children are the most important thing to consider when working through the divorce and for the future. I felt you represent [...] " Anonymous

"Thanks again for all your hard work. I know I’ve said this before, but I want you to know I’m glad you are my attorney. " Husband, Ypsilanti

"Thank you for making this terrible time the best it could be. How you handle yourselves at such stressful times is remarkable. " Mother of 1, Ann Arbor

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