Welcome to Port Gardner Law Group

Port Gardner Law Group professionals are accessible and responsive to your needs in your divorce or other family law matters. Despite decades of experience in litigation (or perhaps because of it), we emphasize working with the other party to achieve out-of-court resolution of your disputes. This approach promotes your input into decisions that will affect your new life, the durability of your agreements, and you and your family's confidentiality.

Our priority is to help families working through a divorce or separation move through the process as respectfully and durably as possible. To that end, we offer a range of services – from coaching a client who wants to represent him or herself (with a little help), to working with clients on selective issues (for example, child support and parenting but not property division). We also engage in collaborative problem solving with the other party and his or her attorney and perhaps a neutral financial expert or a coach. We are here to help parties mediate and come to agreement on their disputes. We have extensive experience in all phases of litigation, but our philosophy is to offer litigation services only when absolutely necessary. Initial consultations are $275 for one hour.

This process is not your parents’ divorce. We believe in approaching family issues and divorce settlements with respect and good faith negotiation. We pride ourselves on creating a safe environment for all parties that empowers them to identify shared values and move toward a successful resolution.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves.  The process never ends until we die.  And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.  –ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

Co-Parenting in a Pandemic

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Recent News

Port Gardner Law Group founder Cynthia First is quoted in news article about a more civil divorce option. It allows couples to agree on terms of their divorce without going to court. Read Full Article

SPLIT is a deeply personal film made in collaboration with children aged 6-12, exploring the often frightening and always life altering separation of their parents. SPLIT gives us the children’s perspective on divorce… no adults, no experts… just kids speaking the powerful truth of what is on their minds and in their hearts. Their wisdom, candor, and humor will give courage to other children, and encourage parents to make better choices as they move through divorce. View the trailer below.

We have copies available to lend to interested parents.



  • My family law case has taken on a life of its own. Cynthia has been very compassionate. She plays fair, which in my opinion is very important, in a system that can be intimidating and overwhelming.
    Janet, Family Law Client
  • Cynthia knows how to fight for you, and win, but is also realistic about what you can expect and lets you know that up front. She is very grounded and helps keep the client grounded as well, particularly in this very emotional area of law. She will get you the equitable settlement that you deserve!
    Family Law Client,
  • Cynthia was prompt, wise and courteous. During one of the most difficult chapters in my life I feel I was well-represented and well-informed. I'd recommended her.
    John, Divorce Client
  • Cynthia is honest, realistic, supportive, personable, and she really listened to me. Her knowledge and expertise in the law was reassuring. I trusted her guidance 100%. She provided exceptional support and advice in the very emotional, overwhelming, and sometimes frustrating area of divorce. Communication (in person, email, and phone) has been excellent with Cynthia and her staff throughout the entire process. I would highly recommend Cynthia to anyone.
    Lisa, Divorce client
  • Cynthia assisted me in getting custody of my sister who was 11 when my Mom died...her biological father tried to take her just so he wouldnt have to pay child support...well...he picked on the wrong person who got the PERFECT attorney...i could not have asked for better service from anyone else.
    Teresa , Child Custody client



In collaborative practice, each party retains his or her own attorney to represent them in a team approach to solving problems -- without going to court. In fact, if the case cannot be resolved within the team, the parties agree that the attorneys will terminate their representation and the clients are referred to litigation counsel. Collaborative law stresses cooperation over confrontation and resolution over revenge.


When a problem cannot be solved by the attorneys and clients together, we will use an experienced problem solver/mediator to help us come to agreement. In addition, Port Gardner Law Group professionals are often called on to mediate disputes for other attorneys and their clients.


We are available to arbitate decisions for non-clients on issues that cannot be resolved, so that they do not have to go to court.


We reserve the use of litigation - the use of the courts to make decisions for the family - as a last resort for our clients. In general, we do not believe the courtroom is where families should have their new lives formed. Our clients become empowered to make informed decisions at every step, reserving for the courts only those issues that absolutely cannot be solved without legal intervention.