My practice is limited to representing clients regarding issues related to family law, including the following:
- Cohabitation agreements
- Requirements for marriage, including common law marriage
- Marital (prenuptial) agreements
- Legal Separation
- Dissolution of marriage
- Parenting plans
- Classification and division of separate and marital property, including:
- all types of retirement benefits, including military; 401(k); IRAs; pensions
- real estate, residential and commercial
- business/ professional practice valuations
- stocks, stock options, and other investments
- debt allocation
- Spousal maintenance (alimony)
- Child Support and related issues
- Wills and basic estate planning documents
- Estate Administration
The services I provide for each client are determined on a case by case basis and memorialized in a written agreement.
Most clients retain me to handle all aspects of their case, including but not limited to, process management, fact gathering and legal advice, communication with other party or attorney, selection of experts, negotiation, drafting of all agreements, Court and other documents, representation in mediation, settlement conferences and court, and assistance with final transfers.
Colorado law also provides that an attorney may represent a client on a limited basis if the services to be provided are described in the initial representation agreement. For example, a representation agreement could limit my services to one or more of the following:
- Advice and assistance with managing the legal process
- Assisting with the preparation or review of court documents
- Representation at mediation
- Representation at temporary or final hearing
- Review and advice regarding an agreement
There are a number of considerations that need to be discussed prior to entering into to such an arrangement.
I represent clients in the following dispute resolution models:
Court. A legal action must be filed to obtain a divorce or legal separation. Judges decide issues and enter orders based on evidence and arguments presented in Court when the parties can't resolve the issues themselves. Many issues related to separation and divorce aren't resolved by a Judge because the parties reach agreements prior to a court hearing. Spouses can reach agreements between themselves or by using one of the dispute resolution models referenced below.
Settlement Conferences. A Settlement Conference is a meeting between the parties that may also include one or both attorneys involved. Typically settlement conferences do not include a mediator, but may include a financial or other professional, if beneficial. Settlement conferences are a chance for the parties to work toward agreements and determine any disputed areas without the added cost of a mediator or Court expenses. Settlement conferences can be held more than once during the divorce/legal separation process, as needed, and can be used to negotiate interim or final orders issues.
Mediation. Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process where a trained neutral facilitator helps spouses negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution that meets as many of both of their needs as possible. The mediator provides general information, helps identify issues to be resolved and helps parties evaluate and reach final resolutions. A mediator can't advocate for either party and does not have the authority to decide any remaining disputed issues. Parties may have their attorneys present during the mediation sessions(s); or they may participate in the process without attorneys. Mediation is a confidential process and the information discussed during mediation is not disclosed even to a judge. Divorcing spouses in El Paso County must complete at least one good faith mediation session before they proceed with a final orders hearing in front of a judge. It's often helpful to schedule mediation early in your case before positions become polarized. Even if an agreement can't be reached regarding all issues, resolving even some of the issues will help move your case forward and minimize cost and stress. In El Paso County, it is common for spouses to be in separate rooms and the mediator to shuttle back and forth. Although common, this is not a requirement. There are many mediators in our community and their experience, knowledge and training vary greatly. It is critical that you and your spouse select a mediator that has the expertise necessary to handle your case. Many of the questions for selecting an attorney listed on the More Information section of this site also apply to the selection for a mediator.
Arbitration. Arbitration is a process where a neutral party, the Arbiter, is selected by the parties and counsel to decide any issues that the parties submit for resolution. In essence, the Arbiter is a "private judge." The selection and authority of the Arbiter, the issues to be resolved, and the process to be followed are defined by a written agreement entered into at the beginning of the process. In El Paso County, the process is typically less formal than a Court proceeding and is often combined with mediation. (i.e. mediation-arbitration). In this process, the neutral facilitator tries to help the spouses resolve all issues via mediation. If they are unsuccessful, any remaining issues are decided by the neutral facilitator in his/her role as Arbiter. This process of arbitration, or mediation-arbitration, offers a number of benefits. Like mediation, it is a private process and can be scheduled on a date and time convenient for the parties. Spouses, usually with the help of their attorneys, can select the person who will serve as Arbiter and therefore will know for sure who will decide the issues in their case if they are unsuccessful. Usually, the Arbiter is an attorney or retired judge who has significant experience with family law cases and the type of issues in the specific case at hand. Parties have an opportunity to talk directly to the Arbiter, rather than through formal testimony required in Court proceedings. Anyone considering arbitration as part of their dispute resolution process should be aware that arbitration results in a final decision with very limited grounds for review by a Court.