Mr. Colten was born in New York City and has been a long-time resident of Virginia. After serving as Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney in Fairfax County for two years, Mr. Colten entered private practice in Northern Virginia. He was a founding member and principal of Surovell, Jackson, Colten & Dugan, P.C. and its predecessor and successor firms, prior to forming Colten | Watson | Vincent Law Group P.C.
In 1965, Mr. Colten received his B.S. with a major in sociology from American University. He graduated with honors from the National Law Center at George Washington University in 1972. Mr. Colten was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1972. He is licensed to practice in all state trial and appellate courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Having dealt at a grass roots level with problems uniquely affecting the family during seven years of employment as a counselor and supervisor at the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court prior to and during law school attendance, and as a prosecuting attorney following his admission to the Bar, Mr. Colten has heavily concentrated his practice in the area of Family Law. His prominence in the field has been recognized through his inclusion in listings of top domestic relations lawyers in the area, including The Best Lawyers in America, Washingtonian Magazine, and both the Virginia and Washington, D.C. metropolitan area editions of Super Lawyers magazine. He has also been named by BestofUS.com to its list of Best Professional Service Providers in the U.S. He has received Martindale Hubbell's top rating of AV. Mr. Colten's practice also extends to general civil litigation and commercial matters.
A strong proponent of community service, Mr. Colten has for many years served the legal profession and the community through his support of, and participation in, national, state and local professional and community service organizations and endeavors. He has served as a Commissioner in Chancery in the Fairfax County Circuit Court since 1972 and has been a Conciliator and Neutral Case Evaluator for equitable distribution cases in Virginia's Nineteenth Judicial District from 1996 to present. He was a Substitute Judge of the Fairfax County General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts from 1976 to 1988 and serves, on occasion, as a Circuit Court Judge Pro Tempore by judicial appointment.
Mirroring a personal commitment to integrity and the maintenance of high ethical standards in the practice of law, Mr. Colten has, over the years, served with numerous state and local entities whose function it is to further those goals within the legal profession. At the state Bar level, Mr. Colten served two terms on the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board, on which he currently serves on senior status, and has recently concluded his term on the Judicial Nominations Committee. From 1995-1997, he was a member of the state Bar's Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline, and he served two prior terms and has recently been re-elected as a representative of the Nineteenth Judicial District on the Virginia Bar Council, the state Bar's governing body. From 1978 to 1981, he served on the Fairfax County Grievance Committee, which he chaired for two years; he was also a member of the state Bar's Tenth District Grievance Committee for three years. Mr. Colten has served on the Fairfax County Bar's Professionalism, Judicial Nominations and Public Service Committees. Mr. Colten was a director of the Fairfax County Legal Aid Society from 1976 to 1979 and has, since 1996, served as a director of Legal Services of Northern Virginia. He was a director of the Fairfax County Bar Association from 1981 to 1994. He is currently a member of the American Bar Association, the Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Trial Lawyer's Association, the Fairfax Bar Association, and other professional organizations.