Our very own warrior princess, Kristen Hofheimer, passed away Friday, January 18th, 2019, after a long struggle with breast cancer.
If you knew Kristen, consider yourself lucky. She was a truly exceptional human being, and a fantastic family law attorney – one of the best in the state of Virginia, particularly when it came to handling complicated custody cases. She was kind, empathetic, and completely impossible to ruffle.
She was the former managing partner of Hofheimer Family Law Firm, and a visionary when it came to providing women with the information and inspiration needed to survive (and thrive!) through their family law cases. She founded our popular Girl’s Night Out group as an opportunity for women going through a divorce or custody case to connect with other similarly situated women in a fun, social atmosphere (all completely paid for by the firm!). She created our Custody Bootcamp for Moms seminar program so that Virginia moms could learn all about what it takes to represent yourself at the juvenile court level in a custody and visitation case. She – literally – wrote the book on Virginia custody and visitation cases in her easy-to-read, super informative “The Woman’s Custody Survival Guide.”
As an attorney, she was top notch. There’s no doubt that she was one of the best in Virginia, and that you’d be hard pressed to find a superior mind. Kristen was a former Barrister with the Hoffman-I’anson American Inns of Court, former State Liaison for American Inns of Court, a member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, President of the Family Law Organization of Greater Hampton Roads, was a member of the Virginia Beach Bar Association’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court’s Bar/Bench Liaison Committee, and was named in 2008 & 2009 Super Lawyers as one of Virginia’s Rising Stars. In short, her career was illustrious.
But she was so much more than that. It’s difficult to find words to convey the totality of a person, but it’s also impossible not to at least try. To me, personally, she was the woman who gave me my big break professionally, as a brand new attorney straight out of law school. She was always kind, encouraging, helpful, and more than willing to sit down and troubleshoot any issue I might be having.
She was the darling middle daughter of her parents, Charlie and Diane Hofheimer, a husband and wife attorney/paralegal team who founded the firm (along with partner Jack Ferrebee) and helped Kristen find her platform. During their time in practice, Charlie and Diane worked with Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads (now known as Champions for Children), and inspired Kristen to work with moms facing terrible custody cases. In fact, the three were featured in a documentary, Small Justice: Little Justice in America’s Courts, for their work with protective moms.
She was the wife of Missy ‘the Missile’ Giove, a world champion downhill biker racer. In the last several years of her life, Kristen and Missy traveled extensively together, camping, hiking, and sightseeing (often with their Pomeranian, Dash, and their cat, Maybe). Kristen even requested that Missy compete in the 2015 Windham World Cup, the world downhill biking championship, after her diagnosis so that Kristen could see her win one more time. Without any training, and on a borrowed bike, Missy qualified. At the Championship, she placed 16th, all in an effort to help inspire Kristen. (She would have placed higher – in fact, she had the third fastest time at one point, but crashed in a qualifying race.) “We kinda went through some things that maybe she’d like to do in life, you know, and one was to see me race a World Cup,” Missy said. “I was like, ‘really?’ I was like, ‘OK!’”
Her son, Shay, recently married his childhood sweetheart, Morgan, and, in March of 2018, had Kristen’s first grandson, Nova. Shay is Kristen’s only child, and they shared an incredibly close bond. In fact, after Kristen’s cancer diagnosis, the entire family – Charlie, Diane, Missy, Shay, and Morgan (who was pregnant at the time) moved down to Burnsville, North Carolina to “Hofheimer Holler” to be near Kristen’s brother, R.D., and his two children, Mackenzie and Chase.
Kristen also loved MixxedFit, a hip hop style dance fitness class, and found a second family in the tight knit group of women she encountered there. Even while undergoing extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Kristen continued attending MixxedFit classes regularly.
Kristen also loved music (particularly Ani DiFranco), horses and horseback riding, the beach, karaoke, Game of Thrones (and specifically Daenerys Targaryen, the “mother of dragons”), and dancing.
As an attorney, friend, daughter, sister, mother, and wife, Kristen will be missed.