Vonda Covington, Family Law Attorney
“God bless you and your family for all the time and hassles! … You are a wonderfully strong, compassionate person.” Dawn
Vonda is a parent. Vonda’s son is now a young adult. When he was nine years old, Vonda and her child’s father, Ron, were divorced. During the process that led up to a final divorce, Vonda and Ron made developing a co-parent relationship beyond that of husband and wife a priority. While their child was growing up, they worked together successfully as co-parents, and were able to provide stability for him even through the changes that occurred after their divorce. Their son, now a young adult, has reported that both his mom and his dad were much happier once they no longer lived together, and he was much happier after the divorce as well. He is now married with two cats. Vonda’s family now consists of her husband, Terry, and their dogs, Hagrid, Kristoff, and Ninja.
Vonda grew up just outside Washington, DC. Her parents separated when Vonda was nine years old, and divorced three years later on the grounds of separation. Divorces were not granted in Maryland at the time without grounds. Vonda remembers the tension in her home before her parents divorced and her relief when they separated.
Vonda started rock climbing at the age of 15 (1973). The summer before her senior year of high school, Vonda’s family moved to San Diego, California. Vonda put herself through college, first attending Palomar Jr. College, then San Diego State University, then University of California, San Diego, where she received a BA in Psychology. She married a sailor when she was 19.
After college, Vonda’s first husband finished his second term of service in the Navy and Vonda went to graduate school at Rice University in Houston, Texas. She obtained an MA in Experimental Cognitive Psychology in 1984.
Vonda entered law school at University of Houston in 1988, attending classes at night and working full time during the day. Despite working full-time, Vonda received the Honor’s Grade in legal writing and research. She and her first husband were divorced during her first semester of law school. It was after this divorce that Vonda took the last name of Covington, in honor of her grandma, one of the most influential people in Vonda’s life.
While in law school, Vonda met and married her second husband, Ron, who is her child’s father. Ron and Vonda moved to Oregon, where Vonda completed her law school education as a visiting student at Northwestern College of Law, located on the breathtakingly beautiful campus of Lewis & Clark College, graduating from University of Houston with a Doctorate in Jurisprudence in 1992. Vonda was licensed to practice law in Oregon in 1992. She and Ron moved back to Houston in 1993, and Vonda was licensed in Texas in 1993.
Vonda had clerked for a civil litigation firm while she was in law school. She was hired as an associate for that firm. In July 1995, Vonda hung out her own shingle, focusing her practice on family law and civil litigation. In 2000, Vonda heard of a new and enticing form of family law – collaborative law. She immediately sought training and began practicing collaborative law, and began limiting her practice to family law. She also received mediation training. Vonda was fortunate to be a founding member of the Alliance of Collaborative Law Attorneys, the practice group that set up several of the first training seminars for attorneys in Texas in collaborative law.
Vonda started taking Kuk Sool Won, Korean martial arts, in 2003. She also took martial arts instructor training, obtained her black belt, and taught martial arts.
In 2008, at the age of fifty, Vonda met her climbing partner, soul mate, and last husband at Enchanted Rock, rock climbing. They were married, and they are living together happily with their three dogs. Since Vonda was half a century old when she met Terry, she has a sign in her office that says, “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”
Vonda moved her practice to Fort Bend County in 2009. Since she believes so strongly in helping families through the divorce process with as little acrimony as possible and since she sees collaborative law as a powerful vehicle for doing this successfully, Vonda started a collaborative law practice group in Fort Bend County, which is called Fort Bend Collaborative Professionals.
In October, 2016, Vonda’s child came out to Vonda as a transgender man. Vonda immediately sought information about transgender issues and became involved in the LGBT community as an ally.
If you have any questions about what it’s like to be transgender, please visit this blog post by Vonda’s son about what his experience coming out was like.
Following are the organizations in which Vonda has been involved:
- Texas State Bar, 1993 to present
- Oregon State Bar, 1992 to 1994
- International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, 2001 and 2013
- National LGBT Bar Association, 2017 to present
- National LGBT Bar Association, Family Law Institute, 2017 to present
- College of the State Bar of Texas, 2001 to 2005
- Texas State Bar, Family Law Section, 1994 to present
- Texas State Bar, Collaborative Law Section, 2011 until it disbanded in 2017
- Texas State Bar, LGBT Section, 2017 to present
- Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, now Collaborative Divorce Texas, 2004 to present
- Collaborative Divorce Texas, 2017 to present
- Houston Bar Association, 1994 to 2019
- HBA Collaborative Law Section, 2006 to until it disbanded
- HBA Family Law Section, 1994 to 2019
- Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston, 2018 to present
- Collaborative Divorce Houston, 2017 to present
- Fort Bend County Bar Association, 2006 to 2018
- Fort Bend Family Bar, founding member, 2017 to present
- Association of Women Attorneys, 2001 to 2012
- Alliance of Collaborative Family Law Attorneys, Founding Member, Member of Board of Directors, 2000 to when the group disbanded
- Fort Bend Collaborative Professionals, 2011 to present, Founding Member and President
- Texas Mountain RAIDers, member 1994 to 2011, Local Trip Coordinator 1996 to 2011
- Meyerland Martial Arts, instructor 2006 to 2010
- Bush High School Theater Booster Club, Ways & Means Director 2012-2013, Vice-President 2013-2014
- Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, 2017
- PFLAG, member 2017 to present, Director at Large, 2019 to 2020
- Gender Infinity, member 2017 to present
- Equality Texas, member 2017 to present
- American Civil Liberties Union, member 2017 to present