August 2022
SNIPPETS is a mini-newsletter designed to bring COAFCC members streamlined, timely information and support.

Upcoming COAFCC Events

Cultural Sensitivity, Humility, and Competence
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

October 28 & 29, 2022
Join us IN PERSON at the University of Denver
--- OR ---
Live via Zoom


April Harris-Britt
Philip Stahl
Ann Gushurst
Wendy Clay Alfredsen
Maha Kamal
Justice Melissa Hart
Monique DuPont

This exciting conference will address and respect our ignorance when representing clients from different cultural backgrounds or belief systems. It is designed to help us battle our own biases, and to enhance our ability to effectively advocate for recognition of our clients’ differing cultural backgrounds and belief systems in family court, while still maintaining a healthy awareness of our own ignorance.

Ezra Hurwitz

Communication and Public Relations Committee Member
Interview by Marlene Bizub
Ezra Hurwitz is the newest member to the COAFCC Communication and Public Relations (CPR) committee.  Ezra grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the oldest of three children.  He has two younger sisters, and his parents divorced when he was 12 years old.  Ezra attended Georgia University for his undergraduate work and worked as an accountant in Washington D.C. before he realized he did not like accounting.  He went back to school, attending Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana, graduating in 2008.

After graduating from law school, Ezra joined the Army as a JAG (Judge Advocate General or uniformed lawyer), where he served for 10 years, spending much of that time in Colorado Springs.  He left active duty in 2018 and joined Knies, Helland and McPherson Law, where he practices family law.  He also joined the Colorado National Guard, where he is the Senior Defense Counsel.  Ezra is also the commander of a unit that represents national guard soldiers in 4 states.

In regard to his personal life, Ezra is married, living on the west side of Colorado Springs.  Ezra’s wife is an assistant principal in the Harrison school district.  He and his wife are a blended family – his wife has two children from a prior marriage and they have one son together, so they live what a lot of his clients do in terms of the challenges of being a blended family.  Ezra is also on the Board of Temple Shalom in Colorado Springs.

Fun facts about Ezra include his effort to run a marathon in all 50 states, having done so in 47 states.  He has only three states left—West Virginia, Maryland, and Hawaii.  He loves to travel with his family, so the marathon endeavor has provided fun travel opportunities for the whole family.  One random fact about Ezra – he enjoys pulling weeds in his front yard, he finds it to be a “very Zen exercise”!
Family Law Roles Spotlight
What is the difference between a Child Legal Representative (CLR)
and a Guardian ad Litem (GAL)?

Cody Christian, JD
As of August of 2022, a CLR and GAL are fundamentally the same role--representing the best interests of the child and advocating to the court what the GAL or CLR believes is in the child’s best interests.  Both a CLR and GAL are attorneys and conduct an investigation into the case by reviewing court filings, meeting with parents, meeting with the child, interviewing people involved in the child’s life, and making other inquiries they deem necessary to investigate.  The investigation depends on the scope of the appointment, and particularly for a GAL, the type of case in which the attorney is appointed.  A CLR is appointed in Domestic Relations (DR) cases that involve allocation of parental responsibilities. These are cases governed by Title 14 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.)  A GAL can be appointed in numerous cases:  Juvenile (JV) dependency and neglect cases; delinquency/criminal cases (JD); Probate (PR) for minor guardianship and conservatorship cases and trust or estates of decedents; paternity cases; mental health; alcohol and drug cases; truancy cases; and cases in which minors are seeking judicial approval for a marriage license.  Most of these cases are governed by Title 19 of the C.R.S.

A CLR is appointed pursuant to C.R.S. § 14-10-116 to represent the best interests of the child
…with respect to the parenting time, the allocation of parental responsibilities, financial support for the child, the child's property, or any other issue related to the child that is identified by the legal representative of the child or the appointing court. The legal representative of the child shall actively participate in all aspects of the case involving the child...
While the legal representative of the child shall ascertain and consider the wishes of the child, the legal representative of the child is not required to adopt the child's wishes in the legal representative of the child's recommendation or advocacy for the child unless such wishes serve the best interests of the child, as described in section 14-10-124.
C.R.S. § 14-10-116(a). 

A CLR does not testify in court, and is not required to submit a report, but may choose to do so.  A CLR can file motions, examine witnesses at a hearing, and argue in closing arguments for a certain outcome.  This can be a more efficient option than a Child and Family Investigator (CFI) or Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (PRE) and can provide an opportunity for an older child to express their views on what they want to happen in a DR case.  A CLR can be any attorney with the knowledge and skill level to be appointed in DR cases, so long as the parties can pay privately for the appointment.  Alternatively, a CLR can be appointed and paid by the state for one or both parents who are indigent.  In those circumstances, the CLR must be a contract attorney or an attorney working for the Colorado Office of the Child’s Representative (OCR). 

A GAL is typically appointed by the court pursuant to Title 19 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, unless the appointment is in a probate or other type of case. A GAL is a contract attorney or an attorney working for the OCR.  The appointment of a GAL is made pursuant to Chief Justice Directive (CJD) 04-06.

The GAL advocates for the child’s best interests, including the child’s health, safety, and well-being.  The GAL can file motions and seek court orders that are in the child’s best interests.  There are times the court must appoint a GAL, and there are other times that the court may appoint a GAL.  The court must appoint an OCR attorney as a GAL in Dependency and Neglect cases.  The court may appoint a GAL in a paternity proceeding.  The GAL may disclose the child’s wishes to the court, but is independent from all other parties, and is to act in the child’s best interests in the GAL’s expert opinion.  The State of Colorado is required to pay for the GAL in Dependency and Neglect cases, and in some other cases as well.  However, in paternity cases, the parties may have to pay the GAL themselves if they are not indigent. 

Under the well-known case of L.A.N. v. L.M.B., 292 P.3d 942 (Colo. 2013), the GAL or CLR may hold the child’s psychotherapist-patient privilege.
The OCR Website includes explanations of the multiple types of cases/proceedings for an OCR appointment.

The authority for OCR mandatory appointments, which is accurate in 2022, can be found here.  Note these will be changing in 2023. 

Beginning January 9, 2023, the role of GAL in Title 19 cases will change pursuant to House Bill (HB) 22-1038 Right to Counsel for Youth.  At age 12, the child will have a client-directed Counsel for Youth appointed to provide specialized legal representation unless the child has diminished capacity, then a GAL may also be appointed.  This means that children aged 12 and older will have the ability to direct their counsel, and that counsel will have to be very well-versed in explaining the law and the options available to the child.  Counsel for Youth will help guide children to make well-reasoned decisions that will be in their best interests.

Katie Hays

(The one in red)
Vice President of COAFCC | Co-Editor of SNIPPETS
Questions posed by April Freier
The best way to get to know someone a bit better?  Ask them a couple of random questions, of course!  

Let me introduce you all to Katie...


What's your "why"?

I am from a small town in Kansas, and lived in the same house from the time I was born until I left for college.  My parents were married almost 50 years, until my dad passed away a few years ago.  I got married the week before I started law school, 27 years ago, and my husband and I still like each other.  My mom lives in an apartment at my house.  Family, and friends who are like family, mean pretty much everything to me.  Being honest, reliable, and working hard are my core values.  I will never take for granted the beauty that surrounds us in Colorado. 

What is your favorite way to spend a day off?

Thrifting and going to my firm’s cabin to hike and relax.  Oh wait, I guess I should say I like to spend the day with my family, but those of us with families and full-time jobs know that’s not really true!

What was the last thing you read?

I am about to finish The Hornet’s Nest, a novel about the revolutionary war by Jimmy Carter.  I picked it up at a thrift store.  I like to read classics and books with a historical bent.  My husband and I are also accumulating a LOT of books on things like flowers, birds, mushrooms, and minerals/gold panning, for our forays around the cabin. 

How would your friends or family describe you for this piece?

I think my friends would say I am loyal and pretty unflappable.  I think my family would say I can be a task master, but fun.  My daughter is starting college and my son is in high school, so hopefully they would also realize that I make a lot of things happen for our family. 

What is something you hope people will remember about you?

I hope they will remember that I cared about them, that I loved my husband and my family, that I cooked a mean mac and cheese, and that I was really good at family Halloween costumes.  (Our best examples were Alice in Wonderland, Despicable Me, and  Spaceballs.)

What career highlight are you most proud of?

At this point it is more of an accumulation than a highlight.  I think I have finally reached the age (ugg) that I am pretty adept at my job, and can help my clients and other attorneys in ways that hopefully heal versus hurt. 

What is something you wish people knew about you that would make everyone's life easier?

This is an interesting question, because we are usually asked to name something people don’t know about us, but not in conjunction with how that would make life easier.  I guess I would say that I wish people knew that my job is stressful, and I don’t want to think about it or talk about it when I am out trying to have fun and relax. 

The Colorado Supreme Court has ordered its Advisory Committee on the Practice of Law to develop an implementation plan for the licensure of legal paraprofessionals to provide services in certain family law matters. 

Find more information about the report and plan here: (click on the implementation plan link for more background). 

A presentation from the Modern Law Practice Initiative can be found here:

Public Comments are being requested, and are due September 14, 2022.  More information about that is here: 

We will have more information about Licensed Legal Paraprofessionals in the next edition of Snippets. 
The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) have issued a joint statement on parent-child contact problems, which includes 6 main considerations.  Find the joint statement here


COAFCC Recorded Webinars

We are excited to announce that you can NOW purchase previously recorded webinars and conferences right on our website.  

It will be like you never missed a thing!

As we work to create dynamic programming for our upcoming year, WE want to know what YOU want to learn about. 

What topics should we cover?  What speakers should we invite to present? What do you want to hear about from our local judges?


Tell us what you want. (What you really, really want.)

Email your ideas to April and she'll get them to the smart folks who make those things happen.
We are working to create a new and improved website for COAFCC.


Tell us what you want to see.

Upcoming AFCC Events
15th Symposium on Child Custody
From a Full House to Parenting Apart

November 10-12, 2022
Las Vegas, NV

AFCC 60th Anniversary Conference

May 31 - June 3, 2023
Los Angeles, CA


Scholarships Available

COAFCC has a scholarship fund to help those in need.  Both full and partial scholarships are available to all online programming.  Check out the simple online application process. 

And keep in mind, AFCC also has a number of scholarships available for their educational programs. 


Remember - you can't win if you don't play!  

We welcome your feedback and ideas.  Please feel free to reach out to either of the SNIPPETS editors, or the Administrative Assistant, at any time!


Katie Hays
Tiah Terranova
COAFCC Administrative Assistant:
April Freier

Contact Us...Really!!
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