Everybody has a special talent, a skill that gives them satisfaction and pleasure. Some are tap dancers, some are prize fighters. I am neither. I help people solve problems.
Over my 30 years of experience in resolving legal conflicts, I have learned and practiced problem-solving techniques that benefit and satisfy both parties without losing sight of my clients' needs and feelings.
My foundation for this approach comes from my 20 years in the Army. During my five years as an enlisted man, I served as an ombudsman for the residents of lower-enlisted housing areas. The next 15 years I served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG), negotiating claims against the Army. Over that time, I successfully resolved disputes both grand and small, from claims brought by US and foreign civilians and local governments (as well as other national governments) against the United States down to neighbor-to-neighbor arguments over parking spaces.
Since 1993, after I retired from the Army, I have restricted my practice to family law, predominantly in Montgomery County, Maryland. First as a solo practitioner and now in partnership with my daughter, Prudence Upton, at Avery & Upton, I have handled hundreds of divorce, child custody, child support, visitation and other family issues, most often bringing them to resolution without the need for a trial.
I am certified as a mediator in both general civil matters and family law, focusing on property and child-related issues. I serve as a facilitator for the Family Law Division of the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
All of these experiences orient me toward Collaborative Practice. In this process, my clients resolve their own problems with their "other parties." They do this with my help and that of experts in personal finances, child psychology and marriage counseling. Clients who have participated in this process are relieved to work together with their former partners rather than have a result imposed upon them by the judicial system.
I am admitted to practice before the Supreme Court (1984), Supreme Court of Kentucky (1976), Court of Appeals of Maryland (1992), and the DC Court of Appeals (1993). I am also admitted before the various US military appeals courts and the Court of Veterans Appeals. I am also a member of the Bar of the Republic of Korea.
Every year I take several courses, workshops and seminars to learn new skills and sharpen old ones.
I serve as Past President of the Collaborative Dispute Resolution Professionals, Inc. (CDRP), and as a trainer for the Collaborative Practice Training Institute. I am a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Maryland Collaborative Practice Council. I am also involved in the tri-state collaborative coordination group. I am a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association, the DC Bar, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, the Federal Bar and the Bar Association of Montgomery County.
Areas of Practice
- 100% Family Law
- Collaborative Practice
- Child Support
- Visitation Rights
- Military Divorce
- Marital Agreements
- Marital Property Law
- Marital Property Settlements
- Name Changes
- Post Divorce Modification
- Spousal Support
- Basic Collaborative Law Training, Blue Ridge Legal Aid/CPTI, October 24, 2008 - October 25, 2008
- Multidisciplinary Collaborative Training, Collaborative Practice Training Institute/MICPEL, May 20, 2009 - May 22, 2009
- Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice Team Training, Collaborative Practice Training Institute, March 4, 2010 - March 6, 2010
- Issues in Military Divorce
- 30-Hour Interest-Based Negotiations and Skills Training for the Collaborative Practitioner, Collaborative Practice Training Institute, September 11, 2011 - September 14, 2011
- Doctors do it - why don't lawyers; Informed Consent and Collaborative Practice, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, October 30, 2011
- MSBA Fundamentals of Retirement and Pension Orders - Military Portion - 2013
- Multidisciplinary Collaborative Training, Maryland Administrative Office of Courts/CPTI, 2011 - 2014
Past Employment Positions
- Military Service - US Army, Major, July 29, 1971 - September 1, 1991
- Trainer, Collaborative Practice Training Institute
Adjunct Professor, Carey School of Law, University of Maryland — Co-teach the first class on Collaborative Law and Practice offered by the law school.
Publications — "Specific Child Custody and Support Considerations in Military Family Law Cases," in Strategies for Military Family Law (Aspartore, 2012)