Wallace & Kling, P.C.
Quality legal services
in a friendly environment

Children's Advocacy

Home

About Us
Nancy Wallace
Celeste Kling


Practice Areas
Mediation
Elder Law
Estate Planning
Probate Admin
Adoption
Child Advocacy
Divorce Issues

Social Security and Medicaid
   
 
Resources
 Office on Aging
 Medicaid FAQ
 Community 
 Mediation

Contact Us



 

Child Advocacy

  An Objective Voice for Children

Celeste Kling has extensive experience as a children's advocate and has worked in this capacity with many hundreds of families over more than two decades as Child and Family Investigator, Children’s Legal Representative, Special Advocate, and Guardian ad LItem.  In addition, she has served on the Colorado Supreme Court Standing Committee for Family Issues (2009 to date) and the Board of the Colorado Office of the Child’s Representative (2000-2008) and has frequently trained attorneys and mental health professionals in this area of the law.  Celeste served on board of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (1988-1991) and has taught family law classes regularly at Colorado State University since 1997.

 Early Neutral Assessment (ENA)

Early Neutral Assessment is a remarkably effective model for parents to use to decide legal issues regarding their children (decision-making, allocation of parental responsibilities, custody, parenting time, moves, etc.). ENA takes place at the Justice Center with a team of two professionals (one male and one female) who are an attorney and a psychologist. Celeste helped bring the ENA model to Larimer County and is one of the original team members in this district. Half a day is devoted to the ENA session and, at the end of these discussions, the parties (and their attorneys, if they are represented by counsel) put their settlement on the record in court before they leave the courthouse.

The results of ENA are overwhelmingly successful, as parents, with guidance and support from neutral, child-focused professionals, work to build a collaborative plan for their children.

Here is a link to the Eighth Judicial District website:

https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/County/Local_Resources.cfm?County_ID=22#https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/County/Local_Resources.cfm?County_ID=22

About halfway down the page, there is a link titled “Early Neutral Assessment – Click for more information”. This will lead you to a nine-minute video about ENA from the judicial officers and court administrators who have worked successfully with the ENA program in Adams County, Colorado over the past few years. Watching the video may answer some questions you may have about the ENA process. ENA is scheduled through the court, and not directly with our office, and parents may request ENA sessions for pre-decree or post-decree matters.


Mediation with Child Input:

Celeste Kling has a very successful mediation practice, which includes many family law issues, as well as non-family law matters.  Usually, family law mediation on topics related to children is conducted by the mediator working directly with the separating or separated parents, or working jointly with the parties and their attorneys.  In some cases, however, the parents believe that the input of their child or children would be a valuable element in the process of reaching a resolution.  In these cases, by stipulation of the parties, Celeste Kling meets individually with each of the children to learn their thoughts and get their input, so that she can bring their perspective back to the mediation table, without the children participating directly in mediation. 

In appropriate cases, this approach has proven to be a very constructive method of giving the children a voice in the parenting plan that is not translated or delivered by one of the parents, and does not put the children on the spot with both parents in an emotional showdown.  In the end, all decisions are made by the mediating parents, but their confidence is buoyed by clarifying what their children’s wishes are as the parents determine their agreements.