Sandy Vander Ziel


Sandy Vander Ziel joined DBB Law in 2013 and practices exclusively in family law.

She is a registered collaborative lawyer, mediator and arbitrator, as well as a dispute resolution officer with the Court of King’s Bench. She has practiced in the area of family law at local and national law firms since 2002. Sandy has significant experience with a variety of methods of Alternate Dispute Resolution including Collaborative law, lawyer assisted mediation, arbitration and interest based negotiation. Sandy works in all areas of family law including, but not limited, to separation and divorce, parenting plans, child custody, child and spousal support, matrimonial property, as well as Co-habitation and Pre and Post-nuptial agreements. Sandy has a strong collaborative practice and is known for her in-depth experience with family violence matters and has received training in family violence screening. Sandy is also a Parenting Co-ordinator and is truly passionate about working with families.

Sandy has had extensive experience appearing at the Court of King’s Bench, the Court of Appeal of Alberta, as well as Provincial Family Court, particularly as a child and youth advocate. She has represented children through the Legal Representation for Children and Youth Advocacy Program.

Sandy is committed to working in an atmosphere that promotes healthy parenting relationships post-separation so that the best interests of the children are always protected.

She is the past Chair of the Association of Collaborative Professionals and is a volunteer with the Legal Education Society of Alberta as an instructor and evaluator for the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education program. Sandy is also the past President of the Canadian Bar Association Family Law Section.

Sandy has a passion for community involvement and is the Past Chair of the Calgary Youth Justice Society Board of Directors. During her tenure on the Board, the Sandy Vander Ziel Heart of Change Award was established in her name. In 2016, Sandy was honoured to receive the Women in Law Leadership Award for service to the community.

Sandy is the past President of the Board of Directors for Sonshine Community Services, a second-stage transitional shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence. She is truly passionate about her work with Sonshine and the opening of the first children’s centre in North America, which provides children who have been exposed to and/or have been victims of family violence, with therapeutic intervention to work towards breaking the cycle of violence. Sandy is also on the Board of Directors for the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters and was recently appointed as a member on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Sandy is the President of the Calgary Killarney Artistic Swim Club and in her spare time loves to be in the mountains or on the water with her children, husband and Golden Retriever, Winnie.

Practice Areas

  • Family Law
  • Mediation & Arbitration
  • Collaborative Law
  • Parenting Coordination


  • Member, Alberta Family Mediation Society
  • Member, Law Society of Alberta
  • Family Law Executive (elected 2014), Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, Calgary Bar Association
  • Member, International Association of Collaborative Professionals
  • Past Director, Association of Collaborative Professionals
  • Member, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts


  • University of Alberta, B.A., 1997
  • University of Calgary, J.D., 2000


  • Vander Ziel, S. Co-parenting during the pandemic. Law Blog. 2020.
  • Vander Ziel, S. Things you wanted to know about spousal support, but were afraid to ask.
  • Vander Ziel, S. Understanding the law on spousal support. 2012.
  • Vander Ziel, S. Recent developments of interest to oil and gas lawyers. 2001


  • Women in Law Leadership Award for Service to the Community, All of Alberta
  • Grant McKibben Prize, University of Calgary
  • Gold Key Award, University of Alberta
  • Hilda Wilson Volunteer Recognition Award