HEATHER LARSON PEDERSEN
I am originally from a small town in Wisconsin, near Eau Claire. I married a young man from my hometown and when I was eighteen, we moved to Orlando, Florida, which was the first stop in his military career in the US Navy. We moved several times during his career- Idaho, New York, and Virginia twice. During the majority of those years, I stayed at home with the children and provided a stable environment throughout relocations, etc.
While in Virginia for the second time, I experienced a divorce and started my life anew. I completed my Bachelor’s Degree at Old Dominion University and majored in both finance and economics in the business school. I realized my passion for economics and excelled academically such that I was able to participate in a competition before the Federal Reserve Board in Richmond, along side a few specially selected colleagues. Old Dominion sent two small teams to compete before the Federal Reserve Board. My team took first place in the presentation before the Board. This was a significant accomplishment for the university and demonstrated the value of an education at Old Dominion, as well as its professors.
My experience before the Federal Reserve Board affirmed my desire to pursue a career in economic analysis. I planned to earn a Phd in economics and hoped to put it to use at the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, which was not far from where I was raised.
During my undergraduate education and as a single parent, I began working in a law office. Ironically, due to my achievements in accounting during my undergraduate degree, a local law firm found me by contacting the school seeking a student who excelled in accounting. I was hired to manage the books at a law firm. I credit this experience as the beginning of my learning process in the law. This job expanded and I learned to work on real estate transactions and my skill set continued to develop. I finished my education at Old Dominion and sought to enroll in a Phd. Program.
At the same time, I continued to raise my children. It was at that time I began to understand exactly what a “relocation case” was all about. My ex-husband remained in Virginia and did not agree with the children moving to Minneapolis with me. I decided I needed to change my career path.
By this time, I had been working for several years at another law firm in Newport News. Once I completed my undergraduate degree, I was ready to move on to my next goal. I learned the value of education from my maternal grandmother, who graduated college at a time and place where women did not always have those opportunities. I credit my grandmother for planting in my head- “get your education!” I remember hearing those words from her so many times as I was growing up. I determined that an undergraduate education wasn’t enough for me- I resolved that I would obtain a doctorate level education. I enrolled in the law degree program at Regent University, obtained my bar license, and eventually started my own law practice in 2008.
I experienced many trials during the early years of my education, including having my divorce being appealed to the Court of Appeals of Virginia while I was in law school. (Boedeker v. Larson, 44 Va. App. 508) I did not understand the reason for all of these experiences at the time, but I know now that all of them served to make me a better family law attorney. I gained an understanding not only of divorce, but also custody, and matters related specifically to military divorce. These events have made me the knowledgeable and caring attorney I am today.
Today, my children are grown, thriving and establishing careers of their own. I am enjoying raising three beautiful stepchildren and experiencing the joys of raising a family again. Our family enjoys anything water related- boating, swimming, and floating in the lazy river! We cook together and plan trips together. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, the salt cave, barre classes, and planning the next fun family event.
I look forward to getting to know you and helping you and your family through whatever legal challenges you may be experiencing.