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William D. Tingley

Bill has had some incredible sailing excursions, including a trip across the Atlantic Ocean. Nowadays, his favorite trips on the water are when he is surrounded by his grandchildren on "Grandpa Fridays."

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Bill Tingley will never forget the lesson he learned during his first ever competitive swim meet in the 7th grade. It was in Upper Arlington, Ohio, just outside of Columbus, where he grew up. He was in the center lane when the start gun went off. Fifty yards up and back to win.

“So I’m swimming along, and I look over and realize I’m beating the guy next to me,” Bill said, “which I thought was pretty cool. Then as we go into the turn, I see him flip his turn, so I flip mine and I missed the wall. He won and I came in last place.”

What Bill didn't realize until after the race was that the guy next to him was about eight inches taller than him.

“Swim your own race,” Bill said. “It’s not that you don’t recognize what the people around you are doing, but at the end of the day, this is my life — this is my race and I need to swim my own race.”

Bill is the kind of guy who has a saying for everything. He has that unique ability to make sense of everything around him through words of wisdom. It’s a sign that he has found his place in the world, and it derives from a self-awareness that comes from experience and learning from his mistakes.

He was a junior in college when he stopped asking for permission to do things. “My life paradigm switched from what can I do to what can’t I do,” Bill said. He no longer accepted thinking he couldn’t do something. If there was something in life he couldn’t do, life would
have to teach him that through failure, “which is just as important as success,” Bill assured.

When he wanted to know if he could fly airplanes, he flew airplanes. When he wanted to know if he could sail across the ocean, he sailed across the Atlantic.

His mother tended to worry about him when he ventured out alone sailing for days at a time. It kept her up at night to think about the waves and the weather he faced when transiting the Atlantic. Like any good mother, she just wanted Bill to come back home where he was safe, but to Bill, when he is out to sea, he is already there.

“Think of the most comfortable bed you ever slept in. Think of the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen” Bill said describing how it feels to sail. “It provides me with a level of relaxation I can’t find anywhere else. For me, it is home.“

Hurricane Irma destroyed his first boat, a 43 foot Beneteau named Citation. He bought it years prior from an old friend and mentor, Jefferson County Family Court Judge Richard FitzGerald.

It was Judge FitzGerald who persuaded Bill to get into family law early in his career. Back in the early 1990s Family Court was only a project and the legal waters as they pertained to families, were muddy to say the least. Not exactly the ideal pool for a young attorney to jump into, but young Bill had a race to swim nonetheless.

Today at Graydon, Bill mostly fields the family appellate cases that come in. Prior to Graydon he handled the high conflict child custody cases many tend to avoid, but Bill says there is a reason he’s happy to take them on.

“My passion is for children and the protection of their childhoods,” Bill said. “Kids get one childhood. As adults, we can shift gears or change paths any time we want, but kids don’t have that choice. A child in court is a bad thing. A child’s parents in court is the next bad thing,” Bill added.

Appellate work affords Bill the opportunity to participate in the creation of case law, which can help clear some of that muddy water. The clearer the family law water is in Kentucky, the fewer cases go to trial. The fewer trials, the fewer children in court. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Bill added.

Nowadays, Bill likes to get out on the water with his grandchildren. He had plans to take them sailing in the Caribbean in 2020, but the islands have pretty much shut down due to COVID-19. So instead, Bill built his grandchildren a sailboat. He found an old Sunfish, stripped it down, resealed and painted it. He even replaced the hardware and put in new rigging. The kids christened it “Grandpa Fridays” after the day of the week that Bill is most likely to take them out. For now, they sail together on local ponds and reservoirs until Bill helps them discover what they can or can’t do on bigger waters.

Bill Tingley has been practicing family law for over 35 years and has dedicated his career to helping people through complex divorce and child custody proceedings.  Bill received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Asbury University in Wilmore, KY, and his J.D. from Capital University Law School in Columbus, OH.  Bill is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and was the 2019 Chair of the Rules and Comments Subcommittee of the Kentucky Supreme Court’s Standing Committee on Family Court Rules of Procedure and Practice.

With 12 reported cases, Bill has appeared before the Kentucky Supreme Court in 26 family law cases, 6 of which resulted in published opinions, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 165 family law cases, 6 of which resulted in published opinion.  For over 3 decades, he has lectured state-wide, on behalf of the Kentucky Bar Association and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, on a variety of family law topics.  Bill is licensed to practice in Kentucky and will be based in the Firm’s Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky location, concentrating his practice on family law appellate work.