My goal is to make your divorce or other family dispute as respectful and dignified as possible. Family disputes are stressful and often expensive, but they should not wreck your life. In fact, they can open the way to a better, more peaceful future for you and your family. I have over thirty years of experience in family law, and this gives me the tools to help you find ways to resolve your problems in the best way possible.
Effective resolution of disputes often requires getting help from other professionals or resources in the community. You might need a family counselor, a business valuation expert, or help understanding your Social Security benefits. I use my wealth of contacts in the community to find you the best help for your situation. Not every family problem is a legal problem, and not every problem should be solved by a lawyer. I can help you navigate the resources available to you.
I am dedicated to the collaborative model for resolving divorce and family matters. I was the founding co-chair of Alaska Association of Collaborative Professionals, the organization that brought the collaborative divorce process to Alaska. It is probably safe to say that I have handled as many collaborative divorces as any lawyer in Alaska. This work is my passion because it works for you, the client. I feel so much better knowing I am helping to preserve my client’s dignity, privacy, and peace of mind.
I received my law degree from U.C. Davis King Hall School of Law in 1980, and clerked for the Alaska Supreme Court and for Betty Binns Fletcher on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. I co-own of a boutique firm, Mendel Colbert & Associates, Inc. I served six years on the Alaska Bar Board of Governors. I sit on the National Center for Lesbian Rights National Family Law Advisory Council, an invitation-only group of experienced family lawyers from across the country. I have presented numerous trainings to lawyers and to the public on family law, ethics, and the law of same-sex relationships.
I look forward to helping you.
I am glad that you have found your way to the website of the Alaska Association of Collaborative Professionals. You can find additional helpful information at www.collaborativepractice.com.
Collaborative law provides an excellent alternative approach to addressing divorce, child custody and other family disputes that are traditionally handled by the legal system. Divorce is an emotional process, and it can be emotionally, legally and financially overwhelming. If not handled well, it can be stressful or even damaging to your children.
Working through the collaborative process allows you to actively participate in shaping your own future, whether you are working with me or with other collaborative professionals that you will find on this website. Collaborative team members will help you to identify what is most important for you, in a respectful, supportive process that will spare you from the cost and uncertainty of ongoing legal battles.
I have 32 years of experience, working almost exclusively in the areas of divorce, child custody and adoption. I handle both trial court matters and appeals.