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Paul Ylvisaker


Paul’s 30-plus years of work as an attorney have called on him to create an indispensable skill set of critical thinking, communication, trust-building, and empathy during the most the most trying circumstances for the people he’s represented. After all this time, it may seem obvious that he’s enjoyed the job despite the hurdles required to help a client resolve a major life-changing event.

On the personal side, he admits to being an “avid recreational guitarist,” with a continuing love of learning about new musical genres.  Based in Tucson, his “superpower” is knowing all the good restaurants in town.

Clients who work with Paul get his professional bonuses as well. As a licensed medical professional, and retired army officer with 27 years of service (with drawers full of military awards and commendations, he says), his specialty is helping military personnel, medical professionals, and first responders who may be dealing with obligations that have to be factored into a family law issue. He’s been known to take in buckets of facts and still manage to distill clear and manageable strategies to meet a client’s goals.

Why did you get into family law?

There was no one single inspiration on my journey to family law. In a career that spans thirty years and four decades, I could have focused my practice in many areas. The decision to focus on family law was based on the facts that family law cases offer the most challenging, interesting, and rewarding experiences one can have as an attorney. It calls on the personal skill sets of critical thinking, communication, building trust, empathy under the most the most trying circumstances. It also involves knowledge and expertise in a complex and often nuanced area of the law.

What is your favorite part of working in family law?

Family law matters are at best a significant life interruption, and at worst a calamitous event leaving a client on the edge of disaster. My favorite part of family is meeting and working with the clients I serve. Each brings a unique history, personality, and ethos, that expand and enhance my appreciation of my own life and teach me something new. Like proverbial falling snowflakes who collide in flight, we meet at a point where I have an opportunity to ensure a safe landing and preserve a delicate balance of their world, while sharing personal and professional growth to mine.

How would you describe your childhood?

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago in a baby-boomer community with parents and a younger brother. The neighborhood was full of kids whose parents were striving for the American dream in the midst of the cold war and the sixties revolution. At a time when it was safe to walk a mile to and from school every day or hang out with the gang away from parents, we divided our time into equal parts truancy and having fun. In high school I was an academic scholar, participated in sports and extra-curricular activities, and went through the typical boy-girl puppy love, drama, and breakup in dating the opposite sex.

What life changing event that caused more personal growth than anything else?

A life-threatening accident the day after returning from a combat deployment where I avoided all manner of death and injury happening around me. I got a life flight and a week in intensive care for injuries that included a traumatic brain injury, punctured lung, broken ribs, and a crushed shoulder. Two years of rehab and a reconstructive surgery, and I learned that things happen in life that we never expect and are even less prepared for; much like a divorce. Facing a lifestyle radically different than the one I enjoyed prior to the accident, I relied heavily on the five stages of grief and perseverance and learned to appreciate each as possibly the last.







See Modern Law’s “Decode Your Divorce” Handbook
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