Kristi Anderson Wells

Top rated Family Law attorney in Denver, Colorado

Wells Family Law PC
Kristi Anderson Wells
Wells Family Law PC

Practice Areas: Family Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution; view more

Licensed in Colorado since: 2007

Education: University of Washington School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2015 - 2024

Wells Family Law PC

1660 Lincoln Street
Suite 1525
Denver, CO 80264 Visit website

Details

Kristi Anderson Wells represents clients in Denver, Colorado, as well as in the surrounding areas and mountain towns. She focuses her practice on high asset and complex family law cases with an emphasis on stock options, restricted stock, executive compensation, retirement assets, business valuation issues, trusts, premarital agreements and other financial matters in divorce.   

Ms. Wells earned a Bachelor of Arts and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington, where she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. After receiving her Juris Doctor with Honors from the University of Washington School of Law in 1997, Ms. Wells went on to earn a Master of Laws in Taxation from the same school in 1998.

Bringing compassionate representation to her practice, Ms. Wells helps families resolve matters through collaboration, mediation and, when appropriate, litigation. She relies on more than 20 years of experience to help families reach mutually agreeable resolutions, and she aggressively protects clients' rights when necessary. For her successes, Ms. Wells has been selected as a Colorado Super Lawyer each year since 2015, Top 50 Women in 2016, 2020-2023, Top 100 Super Lawyers 2021-2023, has been selected as a Best Lawyer in America, is AV rated, holds an Avvo "Superb" rating and NPR has featured her as a tax commentator.

A published author and experienced presenter, Ms. Wells serves as Vice-Chair of the Colorado Bar Association's Family Law Section Executive Council, is a Fellow of the Academy of Collaborative Divorce Professionals, is a past President of the Board of Colorado Collaborative Divorce Professionals, and is a member of both the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the American Bar Association.  Ms. Wells' book, The Executive Compensation Handbook: Stock Option Awards, Restricted Stock Grants, Cash Bonuses, Incentives, and Other Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation in Divorce, was published by the American Bar Association in 2018.  Ms. Wells formerly served as Secretary of the Board of the Colorado Judicial Institute.

Practice areas

Family Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution

Focus areas

Alimony & Spousal Support, Child Support, Custody & Visitation, Dissolution, Divorce, Marital Property, Mediation & Collaborative Law, Same Sex Family Law

  • 90% Family Law
  • 10% Alternative Dispute Resolution

First Admitted: 1997, Washington

Professional Webpage: https://wellsfamilylawcolorado.com/kristiwells/

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Presentor: A Brief Summary of Taxation of ISOs and Nonquals (Presented at the University of Washington School of Law, Spring, 2003)
  • This two-part article discusses executive compensation issues in Colorado dissolution of marriage proceedings. Part 1 set forth a multi-step process for characterizing and dividing stock rights such as options, restricted stock, restricted stock units, performance-based awards, and nonqualified deferred compensation. This part 2 addresses limitations on dividing executive compensation awards, looks at tax issues to be aware of when the awards are divided, and analyzes whether the awards are income for support purposes., Author, A Primer on Executive Compensation in a Colorado Divorce – Part 2, The Colorado Lawyer, Attorneys, Valuation Experts, 2022
  • This two-part article discusses executive compensation issues in Colorado dissolution of marriage proceedings. This part 1 covers the multistep process for characterizing and dividing executive compensation., Author, A Primer on Executive Compensation in a Colorado Divorce – Part 1, The Colorado Lawyer, Attorneys, Valuation Experts, 2022
  • Participated in drafting and editing Bench Bar Book Chapter on Executive Compensation., Contributor and Editor, Bench Bar Book, Chapter 25 on Executive Compensation, Colorado Bar Association Family Law Section, Domestic Relations Attorneys And Judges, 2021
  • Presentation regarding portrayals of divorce in popular media., Co-presenter, Breaking up is Hard to Do: How Movies Shape Our Ideas About Divorce, Metropolitan Denver Interdisciplinary Committee Luncheon, Domestic Relations Attorneys, Mental Health Professionals, 2020
  • Presentation regarding proper preparation and participation in domestic relations mediation., Co-presenter, Don't Get Caught With Your Pants Down: Preparing for a Successful Mediation, Colorado Bar Association Family Law Institute, Domestic Relations Attorneys, 2020
  • Presentation regarding complex tax issues arising in dissolution of marriage cases., Co-presenter, Don't Worry, Be Happy: A family Lawyer's Guide to Tax Return Illumination, American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers Advance Family Law Institute (December 2019), Domestic Relations, Tax, 2019
  • Commentator: Complex Taxes (National Public Radio broadcast, Morning Edition, April 15, 2002) 
  • Advanced Tax Issues in Divorce, Speaker, Advanced Tax Issues in Divorce, Colorado Bar Association Family Law Institute, 2015
  • Commentator: New Tax Law (National Public Radio broadcast, Morning Edition, August 21, 2001)
  • Commentator: Estate Tax - the Mysterious Disappearing Repeal of the Estate Tax (National Public Radio broadcast, Morning Edition, June 7, 2001)
  • Article on benefits issues, Author, Benefits Issues Arise When Same-Sex Relationships End, The Colorado Lawyer, Colorado Bar Association, 2013
  • Commentator: Tax Time Commentary -- An Ode to the Code (National Public Radio broadcast, Morning Edition, April 16, 2001)
  • Presentation on Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, Co-Author, Supreme Court Ruling on DOMA Raises More Questions Than It Answers for Colorado Families, CBA CLE Legal Connections, Colorado Bar Association, 2013
  • Implementing a Domestic Partner Benefits Program, Maine Business and Employment Law (Northern New England Publishers, Inc., Naples, Maine), January, 2001
  • Presentation on employee benefits in divorce, Speaker, Divorce: Classifying, Valuing and Dividing Executive Employment Benefits, Strafford Family Law Webinar, 2013
  • Domestic Partner Benefits: Legal Issues, Maine Business and Employment Law (Northern New England Law Publishers, Inc., Naples, Maine), December, 2000
  • Presentation on attorney fees in divorce, Speaker, Attorney Fees in Family Law, Colorado Bar Association Family Law Institute, Colorado Bar Association, 2013
  • Providing a practical guide to understanding, negotiating and dividing assets in the category of executive compensation in divorce. A clearly written roadmap, this book helps you avoid the common pitfalls associated with these complex assets and allows you to explain these issues to your clients., Author, The Executive Compensation Handbook: Stock Option Awards, Restricted Stock Grants, Cash Bonuses, Incentives, and Other Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation in Divorce, American Bar Association, 2018
  • Presentation on the duty to confer in divorce, Speaker, The Duty to Confer, Colorado Bar Association Family Law Institute, Colorado Bar Association, 2013
  • Addressed the novel issues that can arise in a divorce involving a marijuana business including: Navigating the various municipal, county, state and federal rules and laws; Issues in appointing a receiver over a marijuana business; Methods of obtaining discovery; How federal tax returns are different in a marijuana business; Valuation issues in a largely cash business; Parenting issues in an MJ divorce; and Drafting Considerations, Speaker, Rocky Mountain High: Navigating the Marijuana Divorce Without Losing Your Mind, Colorado Bar Association, Family Law Section, 2018
  • Presentation on same-sex breakups, Speaker, Same Sex Issues in Family Law: When it Isn't "Husband and Wife", MDIC March Luncheon, Metro Denver Interdisciplinary Committee, 2013
  • Presentation on dividing executive compensation in divorce, Speaker, Unveiling the Mysteries of Dividing Executive Compensation, Stock Rights and Severance in Divorce, Colorado Bar Association Family Law Institute, Colorado Bar Association, 2012
  • Moderated judge's panel on business valuations in divorce, Moderator, Judges Panel on Business Valuations in Divorce, CBA Family Law Section February Meeting, Colorado Bar Association, 2012
  • Presentation on dividing deferred compensation in divorce, Speaker, Spoils of War: Dividing Deferred Compensation in Divorce, CBA CLE 2011 Spring Family Law Update, Colorado Bar Association, 2011
  • Trial Preparation and Practice, co-presented with John Tatlock, Colorado Bar Association, 2014 Fall Family Law Update, October 31, 2014, Speaker, Trial Preparation and Practice, Colorado Bar Association, Family Law Section, 2014
  • Note/Comment, The Uncertain Scope of Sovereign Immunity in Washington AfterSavage v. State, 71 Wash. L. Rev. 1069 (1996)
Educational Background:
  • University of Washington School of Law, LL.M., Federal Taxation, 1998
  • University of Washington School of Law, Juris Doctor, with Honors, 1997
  • University of Washington, B.A., Journalism, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1994
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Colorado Judicial Institute Board Member, 2019 - 2022, 2019
  • Colorado Judicial Institute, Secretary of the Board
  • Colorado Bar Association Family Law Section
  • Colorado Collaborative Divorce Professionals, Board of Directors
  • Former Secretary on the Board of Directors, Western Pension & Benefits Conference
  • American Bar Association, Family Law Section, Alternative Families and Taxation Committees, 2021
  • Metro Denver Interdisciplinary Committee
  • Colorado Bar Foundation Fellow, 2012 to Present
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • American Bar Association
  • Colorado Bar Association Family Law Section Executive Council Member, 2015 - Present, 2023
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Metro Volunteer Lawyers, Providing Pro Bono Services since 2010, 2021
Honors/Awards:
  • 2014-Present, Superb Rated Attorney, AVVO, 2023
  • 2016, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, Top 50 Women Attorneys Colorado, Colorado SuperLawyers Magazine
  • Top 100 Super Lawyer Colorado, Super Lawyers Magazine, 2023
  • 2014-Present, Martindale Hubbell AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell, 2023
  • Colorado Super Lawyer, 2015 - Present, Colorado SuperLawyers Magazine, 2023
  • Washington Bar Review Contributing Editor, 1997
  • "Kristi Anderson Wells: From Ford Model to Family Law", The Docket, February 24, 2014
  • Client Distinction Award, Martindale Hubbell, 2013
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1994
  • 2014-Present, Fellow, Academy of Collaborative Divorce Professionals, 2022

These comments were made by fellow attorneys during the annual nomination process.

“Kristi is a powerhouse.”

“Very knowledgeable regarding business issues in the family law arena, and an excellent negotiator.”

“Kristi is awesome.”

“Kristi Wells brings a unique background to family law, having practiced in other areas of the law prior to her current practice. She is smart, communicates well and is totally reliable.”

Office location for Kristi Anderson Wells

1660 Lincoln Street
Suite 1525
Denver, CO 80264

Phone: 303-309-1077

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