Committed. Compassionate. Respected. Responsive.

Committed. Compassionate. Respected. Responsive.

Shelley A. Kester

Traverse City, Michigan
(231) 922-6800
Shelley A. Kester

Practice Area

Family Law

Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

Supreme Court, State of MI

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan

All Michigan State Courts

Tribal Court


Michigan State University (Bachelor’s) – 1986

Cambridge University – Lent Term in Residence 1984

McGeorge School of Law (Juris Doctor) -1989, Law Review

Trained Facilitative Mediator, Zena Zumetta

Trained Collaborative Divorce Attorney

Family Law Certificate Program, ICLE 2009

Honors & Recognitions

Chair – Family Law Section, State Bar of Michigan 2022-2023

Amelia Schaub Pioneer Award – WLAM 2022

TC Business News Top 50 Women in Business

Shelley Kester is one of Michigan’s best female divorce lawyers and an award-winning attorney and dedicated family law practitioner who has spent her career advocating for the protection of children and the empowerment of the individual.

Shelley is the President of Wilson Kester the Empowered Divorce Source. She is the first attorney from Northern Michigan to have served as Chair of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. A frequent presenter for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Shelley has participated on the front lines of family law, most recently on the Advisory Committee to SCAO’s Friend of the Court Bureau updating after 20 years the Parenting Time Guidelines used by Friends of the Courts throughout the State. 

Shelley believes in public service, having twice received Governor appointment to the Children’s Trust Fund Board and having served as Mayor Pro Tem of Traverse City, Michigan. Shelley has long been an advocate against domestic violence, strongly advocating for the protection of clients from domestic violence, both in court, as well as through her service on the State Bar of Michigan’s Domestic Violence Committee. 

Shelley has spent countless hours coaching family law clients as well as pro bono clients on how to regain their strength and find their voice for a better life. Shelley is a published author to the Family Law Journal for the State Bar Journal and the State Bar of Michigan’s Family Law Section. Over the course of her career, Shelley has modeled leadership through her volunteer work with the State Bar of Michigan’s Practice Management Committee. She was recognized with the Amelia Schaub Pioneer Award by the Women Lawyer’s Association of Michigan – Tip of the Mitt Region and currently serves on the statewide board of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Board (WLAM). WLAM is an organization that promotes equality, and the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession in furtherance of a just society. 

Michigans Best Female Divorce Lawyer

Shelley was named one of TC Business News’ 50 women leaders in business and is founding Board Chair of the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center; an organization Shelley joins with in the fight against child sexual abuse. A frequent recipient of the AVVO top attorney award and AVVO client top choice award, Shelley’s calling is to empower the individual through her legal work and leadership of Wilson Kester the Empowered Divorce Source, recognized as among the 500 fastest growing law firms in the nation in 2022. Shelley’s mission is to help clients achieve a better life. Contact us today to speak with Shelley.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

“I recently went through an incredibly difficult divorce, and I am pleased to say that Wilson Kester provided invaluable assistance throughout the entire process. I cannot speak highly enough of their professionalism, expertise, and dedication to achieving the best possible outcome for their clients."

— Former Client

“Shelley was compassionate and understanding through the whole process. She has an aptitude on how to read people and was very instrumental in helping me deal with my ex-husband effectively.”

— Former Client

“She is well respected in the professional community, which was evident in our court proceedings. Shelley and her staff made me feel extremely comfortable and I knew that my best interest was at heart.”

— Former Client

“My inquiries and concerns were always promptly and thoroughly addressed, even beyond regular business hours. Ms. Kester is extremely knowledgeable in the area of family law.”

— Former Client