“If you’re in a situation fraught with conflict and emotion, complicated with children in the mix, I strongly suggest you work with Chris Jeffers. I started working with Chris over a year ago, and I continue to work with him today. His calm demeanor and grasp of the law is impressive. He has the ability to focus on what’s important and not get bogged down in extraneous issues, which often come up in my high conflict case. He’s been fantastic at parsing through the smoke of confrontation and conflict – to stay focused on standing up for my child’s rights, as well as my own. I’ve been in court with Chris several times, and I’ve always been impressed with his ability to quickly assess a fluid situation and address any issue that comes up with confidence and authority. If you’re looking for a lawyer to help you through a difficult situation – my experience with Chris tells me you may have found one.”
Years ago, a client told me that I was the third lawyer she met with. The first focused only on how she and her ex should try to get along together, and compromise everything. The next sternly lectured that she should take the toughest most aggressive approach possible and take the ex for everything he was worth.
At the end of our meeting, she said to me “You’ve talked about both possible approaches, and leaving the decision up to me, and that feels right to me”.
This represents my goal of to serve all clients. It is important to remember in family law that the survivors have to live on the battlefield. There are times, such protecting children from clear harm, when the only choice is to fight as hard possible. On the other hand, most children will grow up with 2 parents involved in their lives and one of my main goals is to help parents develop a nurturing co-parenting relationship to the extent possible. “How will this decision or strategy impact our children?” is the priority for almost every client conversation.
Financial issues are also very, very important. However, most of us have heard horror stories of divorce cases where the lawyers and experts wound up getting all the money and very little was left over for the parties or their children.
I try to present all options or choices, and let the client decide what is best for them. I try to conduct hard legal battles with a level of courtesy and respect for to all, to the point that we can all talk to each other afterwards. It’s not always possible for people to wind up friends, but using the courtesy we ourselves would like from others produces a functional parenting relationship more often than not. This is what judges expect of lawyers. Doing the right thing is good tactics also. The courts expect honesty and integrity from lawyers and civil behavior from litigants.
In exploring strategies for financial issues, I will always consider and discuss whether a certain legal strategy is cost effective. Final decisions are up to the client- my job is to be a guide, interpreter and a coach. The 25 years of experience, and the respect I have earned from the Boulder community, allow me to serve in this role effectively.
I have years of continuing training and education outside of technical law, in areas such as psychology, finances, and child development, which are integral to obtaining good outcomes in divorce cases. I have a good working relationship with many of the best mental health professionals in Boulder County. This can be crucial, since the choice of an evaluator can largely dictate the results of any given parenting case. Often, divorce cases involve parents who suffer from mental illness or alcohol or drug addiction issues. I have years of experience regarding which of these issues make a difference in the court system and how to present them to a judge for a maximum benefit to the client.
Judges who hear family law cases often discuss frustration with parties who simply want to perpetuate endless “mudslinging” conflict. Judges (who have one of the hardest jobs in the World) want to make informed, fair decisions that are consistent with the law, in the best interest of children. Judges do not make the law, they have to follow the law as written by the State Legislature.
However, the legal framework for divorce issues is complicated and difficult to understand. In most counties, judges may not have backgrounds family law, but may be more familiar with criminal justice, contracts, workers compensation or other types of law. Often it is necessary for lawyers to explain and argue about concepts a judge may be unfamiliar with. This is where legal expertise and experience can have the biggest impact on the successful outcome of a case.
I enjoy and derive a sense of fulfillment from acting as a guide, coach and advocate for clients through some of life’s most difficult and challenging times.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. —Maya Angelou