Certified family law specialist/CPA provides unique service
By Kelley CarlsonContributorA person going through a divorce may find that having attorney Nancy J. Bickford on his or her side can be an asset.Bickford is the only certified family law specialist in San Diego County who also has an active CPA (certified public accountant) license.“What that means is that I am familiar with financial statements, I am familiar with such concepts as business appraisals, tracing and income from businesses, so that I can conduct and understand discovery and tracing of financial and business issues in a divorce more readily than most other family law attorneys,” she said. “I love helping my clients understand and solve complex financial matters and unwind complicated tracing issues that many, if not most, other divorce attorneys may not understand or enjoy.”The Law Offices of Nancy J. Bickford exclusively practices family law, providing assistance in areas such as custody, spousal and child support, and property division. Established in Carmel Valley in 2002, the firm serves all of San Diego County.Bickford didn’t initially set out to be a lawyer. Growing up in Ohio, she earned a bachelor of science degree with a dual major in systems analysis and mathematics from the state’s Miami University. She went on to receive an MBA in accounting from San Francisco’s Golden Gate University, graduating in 1976.After college, Bickford worked for Arthur Andersen & Co., where she audited businesses and financial institutions. Shortly later, she married and became controller for a firm operating hotel and real estate investments.During her career as controller, Bickford and her family moved to Scripps Ranch in 1985.“San Diego is a wonderful city,” she said. “It’s a great place to raise children.”In 1992, Bickford went off on her own. Realizing the need to support three children, she decided to pursue a career in law.“I knew I would have to go to work every day and work hard,” Bickford said. “The career of law is a very jealous mistress; it can be all-consuming. If you don’t love it, it can be very tedious. But it’s something I love to do. ... Helping people makes it all worthwhile.”Bickford attended the California Western School of Law in San Diego, and received her juris doctorate degree in April 1996. She worked for a couple of San Diego-area law firms until 2002, when she opened her own practice in Carmel Valley.The attorney found many qualities that attracted her to the area — the lifestyle, schools, and proximity to dining, friends and the beach, among others.“It was my absolute positive dream (to live and work there),” Bickford said.These days, Bickford works with two associates in her office: Jeffrey B. Miller, a fellow California Western School of Law grad who joined the firm in 2005; and Bethany M. Ward, a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law who came aboard in 2007.The team highly encourages its clients to resolve issues through mediation.Bickford said litigation is a last resort, “but we have the financial and business sophistication to get the results you deserve should you need to resort to litigation in your divorce.”At least 90 percent of the firm’s cases are settled out of court through mediation and negotiation, Bickford added.The Law Offices of Nancy Bickford is in the Del Mar Technology Center, at 12348 High Bluff Drive, Suite 220, in Carmel Valley. General office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For additional information, call (858) 793-8884 or go to www.bickfordlaw.com.