Note Regarding Graham.Law Teaching At CLE’s
The attorneys at Graham.Law consider it a duty, and an honor, to give back to the legal community. We have taught a variety of legal issues at over 30 CLEs sponsored by the Colorado Bar Association, the courts, local bar associations, and other non-profits. If you would like Carl to present, contact Carl directly at (719) 630-1123. But please note that due to time constraints, while we are usually happy to help out with non-profits, we are unable to participate in for-profit conferences put on by private companies.
What Are Colorado Family Court Facilitators?
You’ve heard the phrase “it takes a village”? That is true of Colorado family courts. While the district court judges are the most visible & powerful manifestation of the legal system, behind the scenes (and occasionally in front) are a host of extraordinary individuals who help the system function smoothly.
Family Court Facilitators are one example of this team. Each judicial district in the state has at least one court facilitator (see the index by district here), and in our own 4th Judicial District (covering El Paso and Teller Counties) we have five of them. Out of a building full of staff, they are important enough to be listed on the court personnel page, along with the judges and magistrates.
Speaking for El Paso County, the facilitators make the system work. They play an active role in cases, from conducting most Initial Status Conferences, to reviewing files for completeness prior to the court signing off on a decree of dissolution. And a bunch of stuff in-between that I don’t even know about!
Self-Represented Litigant Coordinators
Known as “Sherlocks”, the Self-Represented Litigant Coordinators are the face of Colorado’s efforts to expand access to our family court system, and make it friendlier to normal people trying to navigate the rules without counsel. Statewide, they help almost 200,000 people annually – in El Paso County, Lisa & Jasmine’s duties include helping people with forms, answering questions about the system, and running the weekly pro se clinics where attorneys (including those at Graham.Law) volunteer their services by answering people’s legal questions.
Facilitator & Litigant Coordinator Conference
Lawyers need training – in addition to keeping current with our reading, we attend numerous conferences (called CLE’s, short for Continuing Legal Education) annually, as well as teaching at them.
Similarly, it would be impossible for the Colorado courts to provide these valuable services without training the people who actually do them. And while their role is not to provide legal advice, they have to have an awareness of legal issues to provide guidance on sworn financial statements, or even to know where to send people.
That’s where training conferences come in. This year, the facilitators and Sherlocks held a 2-day statewide conference at the beautiful Penrose House Conference Center in Colorado Springs. And I was honored to be asked to speak on issues they will encounter assisting military families.
The challenge was that the diverse audience of more than 60 included both attorneys and lay people, with varying degrees of experience and knowledge. Some of them had likely never seen a military case, while in El Paso County, the facilitators and Sherlocks help our military community daily.
I gave a 90-minute presentation, Military Parties in Family Law Cases (okay, I admit that my titles are not the most creative, but hopefully the content is more gripping). Topics covered included the procedural (jurisdiction, service of process, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act), and the substantive (military retirement, VA disability, and military parenting issues). Click here to see the full outline with attachments.