December 03, 2021


Mariette Geldenhuys
Collaborative 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

marietteMariette opened her law and mediation practice in 1997. She is Founder and Founding President of the Ithaca Area Collaborative Law Professionals (IACP). She belongs to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) and is a member of its Training Faculty. She is a member of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, the Tompkins County, New York State, National LGBT and Finger Lakes Women’s Bar Associations, the New York State Bar Association’s LGBTQ Section and the National Family Law Advisory Council of NCLR (the National Center for Lesbian Rights).

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.

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; Oneonta, New York; Albany, New York; Anchorage, Alaska; Indianapolis, Indiana; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Johannesburg, South Africa, and online during the Covid-19 pandemic as Training Faculty for the IACP. She has been a workshop coordinator and presenter at the Annual Forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals Forum on numerous occasions from 2005 to the present. 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 gave a lecture 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, LGBTQ+ Legal Issues and other topics at Cornell University Law School and the School of Human Ecology at Cornell University, Syracuse University, the State University of New York at Cortland, and Elmira College. She has made numerous presentations on Collaborative Law and LGBTQ+ Legal Issues to professional and community groups.

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

Community activities:

Mariette has served on the Boards of Directors of Hospicare and Palliative Care Services, the Community Foundation of Tompkins County (past President), Community School of Music and Arts (past President), Ithaca City of Asylum, the Friends of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, and the Ballet Guild of Ithaca. She is an avid open-water swimmer and participates in Women Swimmin’ to benefit Hospicare every year. Mariette facilitates three meditation groups, including one for collaborative law and other professionals.


Mariette 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. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Oneonta and retired from the Army Reserve 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; 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 SPCA of Tompkins County, for which she fosters cats and kittens, or singing in the Ithaca Community Chorus.

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Matthew A. Kemp
Legal Assistant

mattMatt, a graduate of Elmira College, has worked with Mariette since 2015. As well as general office support, he works on adoptions, uncontested divorces, and estate planning documents. Since he is not an attorney, all questions requiring legal advice are referred to Mariette, but questions regarding his hobbies of Lego, Disney resorts, and the genre of fantasy may be directed to him (with the caveat that you may get an earful!).

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The Purralegals

Natalya and Dmitri, Purralegals

Natalya and Dmitri are littermates from the SPCA who started their purralegal training at the age of eight weeks in 2018, when Mariette adopted them. They are now experienced paper shredders, pen hiders, treat hunters, and fur therapy specialists. They love joining us for meetings if invited by clients. They commiserate with clients who are allergic and stay in their own office when needed.

Oleg, Senior Purralegal

Oleg is Mariette’s elder SPCA feline who joined her feline family as a kitten in 2006. He keeps Natalya and Dmitri on their paws. He interrupts their on-the-job naps as needed so that he can take over prime surveillance locations (preferably on Mariette’s lap). He mostly works from home, but periodically conducts on-site inspections of the office and evaluations of the purralegals.

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