About Us

About Calabrese Budner

Calabrese Budner is the go-to family law firm for clients who expect more than the predictable, standard routine at the courthouse. With a mission to provide clients enlightened counsel and effective solutions that promote healing, growth and dignity, Calabrese Budner lawyers have extensive training and experience in collaborative divorce. 

Carla Calabrese is one of only four Dallas lawyers to earn the Master Credential in collaborative divorce. When litigation is necessary, Dawn Budner brings a pedigree built on years of trial practice with an elite civil law firm. In every case, the Calabrese Budner team will leverage the conflict resolution tools and sophisticated forward-thinking model that make collaborative divorce the better approach for families. Because compelling leadership means more than a loud voice.

Carla Calabrese

Partner of Calabrese Budner, LLP

For more than 20 years, Carla M. Calabrese has successfully represented clients in every area of family law. What sets Carla apart is her balance of tenacity and level-headedness and her big firm training at Dallas-based Haynes & Boone, LLP. Carla is highly adept at Emotionally Intelligent Lawyering™, including reading and understanding people’s emotions –– essential skills for a successful family lawyer. Decisive and possessing a rigorous work ethic, Carla goes to bat for her clients. She unrelentingly pursues her client’s goals, yet does not lose sight of the fact that over-zealous representation damages clients and their families.

Carla has handled hundreds of cases involving divorce, complex property issues, child custody, paternity, child support, nuptial agreements, modifications of the parent-child relationship, grandparents’ rights, assisted reproductive technology including surrogacy and gestational arrangements, and adoption.

Recognized as one of the The Best Lawyers in America®, Woodward White, Inc. (2008-2018), Texas Super Lawyer, Thomson Reuters (2003-2018), Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Thomson Reuters (2004, 2006, 2010), Top 5 Exceptional Collaborative Practitioners in Texas by the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas (2009), and one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine (2003, 2007, 2008, 2010-2012, 2014-2017), she regularly speaks and educates on family law. In March 2017, Carla earned a Master Credential in collaborative divorce from Collaborative Divorce Texas, a distinction bestowed upon on only five lawyers in Dallas.

Tapping into her passion for helping people, Carla founded Hope International Adoption and Humanitarian Aid Agency, a non-profit organization that facilitates adoptions for foreign-born and orphaned children. She also founded A Cradle of Hope Adoption Center, a domestic adoption center. She is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Assisted Reproduction Technology Attorneys. An adoptive parent herself, Carla brings invaluable insight to her adoption clients. She is married and has two children.

If you have family law issues that you would like to discuss with Carla, you can email her at carla@calabresebudner.com.

Dawn Budner

Partner of Calabrese Budner, LLP

Dawn Ryan Budner combines over 20 years of comprehensive litigation practice with a passion for making a difference in the lives of her clients. As an equity partner with Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, Dawn achieved notable verdicts in the state and federal courts. Dawn’s business litigation background provides a unique skill set that benefits her clients in divorce cases involving complex property and business issues.

Dedicated to Emotionally Intelligent Lawyering™, Dawn is also trained in collaborative divorce, which employs a customized team approach to guide the parties toward interest-based solutions that are not available at the courthouse. Even in litigation, clients benefit from Dawn’s training and application of collaborative tools wherever possible to elevate the process and improve outcomes.

Dawn graduated in the top 2% of her class at the University of Texas Law School, earning the honors of Chancellor and Order of the Coif, and serving as an Articles Editor on the Texas Law Review. After law school, Dawn served as a briefing attorney to the former Chief Judge of the Western District of Texas.

Throughout her career, Dawn has provided hundreds of hours of pro bono legal services, many in family cases. In 2008, Dawn and her husband founded the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance, which provides competitive policy debate programs serving over 1,000 Dallas public school students every year. Dawn also serves on the board for The Wezmore Project, created by SMU Opera alum Eddie Coker to help kids develop emotional wholeness.

Dawn’s peers recognized her talent and experience when naming her a “Rising Star” and “Super Lawyer” in the Texas Monthly magazine polls. In 2017, Dawn was selected “10 Best in Client Satisfaction” by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, “Top 5%” of America’s Most Honored Professionals by the American Registry, and “Family Law Top 10” by Attorney and Practice Magazine.