Mariette Geldenhuys, Attorney and Mediator

  • Education:
  • University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, LL.B., cum laude, 1983
  • University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, B.L.C., cum laude, 1981
  • Oxford University, Oxford, England (Rhodes Scholarship), graduate study in Law and Criminology, 1984-6
  • Admitted to Practice:
  • Supreme Court, South Africa, 1984
  • NY State, 1989
  • United States District Court, Northern District of NY, 1996

mariettePrior to opening her own practice in 1997, Mariette served as City Attorney for the City of Ithaca, as a partner and associate in other Ithaca firms, and as a public prosecutor. She is a member of the Tompkins County, New York State, National LGBT and Finger Lakes Women’s Bar Associations, as well as Founder and President of the Collaborative Family Lawyers of Central New York. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on LGBT People and the Law and the National Family Law Advisory Council of NCLR (the National Center for Lesbian Rights) and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) She was a partner in the Ithaca law firm of Schlather, Geldenhuys, Stumbar & Salk for three years prior to returning to sole practice in April 2009.

As Founder and Past President of the Ithaca Area Collaborative Law Professionals (IACLP), Mariette brought Collaborative Law to the Ithaca community in 2003 and has actively promoted its growth and expansion. She designed public education presentations and instituted a mentoring program for newly admitted attorneys for the IACLP.

Mariette has many years’ experience as a Mediator and completed the intensive 40-hour mediation training at the Center for Understanding in Conflict in May 2011.

She has presented Collaborative Practice training (both basic and advanced training) since 2006 in New York, New York, Ithaca, New York and Anchorage, Alaska. She has been a workshop coordinator and presenter at the Annual Forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals Forum each year from 2005-2010. She was also a presenter at a symposium on “No Borders, No Barriers: Legal issues for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Clients and their families in the United States and Canada” in Niagara Falls, Canada, in June 2006 and about Collaborative Law at the Family Law Conference in Cape Town, South Africa in 2009.

Mariette has presented several guest lectures on Collaborative Law, Mediation, LGBT Legal Issues and other topics at Cornell University Law School and the School of Human Ecology at Cornell University, Syracuse University and the State University of New York at Cortland. She has made numerous presentations on Collaborative Law and LGBT Legal Issues to professional and community groups.

Mariette has been actively involved in initiatives to make Collaborative Practice available to low income clients.

Mariette has served on the Boards of Directors of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County (past President), Community School of Music and Arts (past President) and the Ballet Guild of Ithaca. She has been a member of the Parish Pastoral Council (past President) and Social Justice Team of the Immaculate Conception Church.

She speaks English and Afrikaans fluently, has basic knowledge of German, Spanish and French, and a working knowledge of Dutch.

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Allison M. Myers, Paralegal & Office Manager

allisonAllison is a Tompkins County native who has worked with Mariette since May 1992. In addition to her more than 21 years of experience, she has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Oneonta (1991) and retired from the Army Reserve after 25 years at the rank of Master Sergeant.

Allison assists Mariette with many aspects of her practice, including communicating with clients, courts and other attorneys; drafting correspondence and legal documents; managing real estate transactions from purchase contract to closing; scheduling appointments; billing and bookkeeping; and generally keeping the office running. She is often the first person a new client speaks to, and is happy to provide general information and assist clients in whatever way possible. (Since she is not an attorney, all questions requiring legal advice are referred to Mariette.)

You may also encounter Allison volunteering for the Tompkins County SPCA, for whom she fosters cats and kittens.

Allison can be reached at

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