Eliminate Custody Confusion & Get Answers.

Every parent has a right to parent their child. Know your rights and take a stand for your child with our experienced, tenacious, and compassionate attorneys. Make sure you don’t get stuck with a raw deal in family court and contact 907 Legal today.

 

Award-winning legal representation

Over 50 years of legal expertise in your corner

Proven success in Alaska courtrooms on the Peninsula and beyond

CO-PARENTING AGREEMENTS

ALIMONY

CHILD SUPPORT

PROPERTY DISPUTES

CUSTODY

CONTESTED DIVORCE

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UNCERTAINTY

PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

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UNCERTAINTY

PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

907 Legal has helped thousands of Alaskans fight for custody and for fair treatment in divorce in courtrooms throughout the state. Don’t take a chance on an untested legal team when your rights and freedoms are at stake.

Co-Parenting Agreements

Alimony

Child Support

Property Disputes

Custody

Contested Divorce

Award-winning legal representation

 

Over 50 years of legal expertise in your corner

 

Proven success in Alaska courtrooms on the Peninsula and beyond

I was wrongly accused by a state institution…When representatives of the state institution opted to play hardball, Josh knocked it out of the park.

Amazing service – best lawyers on the Peninsula!

Child Custody Dispute & Agreement FAQs

How much will it cost?

There is no set price for our family law services, as every case is different. 907 Legal bills by the hour, and the complexity of your case will determine the final cost. We take pride in providing straightforward and reasonable attorney fees, so contact us about your case and your specific legal needs and we can give you a ballpark idea of the costs involved.

 

The legal system is complicated, and the fact that you’re going through a divorce means that you probably have a lot on your mind. Forgetting to address an issue such as credit card debt or underestimating the value of an asset can make a huge difference in your divorce proceeding — not to mention your wallet —  and can require future legal action to correct. Our Alaska family law attorneys will make sure all of your bases are covered and that you get the outcome you deserve.

Can't I file everything on my own?

If you are considering filing for divorce, you may be tempted to go it alone and file without an attorney using court-provided documents and information from a book or website. It is understandable to want to do it yourself, but hiring a good divorce attorney is the only sure-fire way to make sure your rights are protected. And if you and your spouse have children, a lawyer’s expertise ensures that your kids’ rights are protected as well.

 

The legal system is complicated, and the fact that you’re going through a divorce means that you probably have a lot on your mind. Forgetting to address an issue such as credit card debt or underestimating the value of an asset can make a huge difference in your divorce proceeding — not to mention your wallet —  and can require future legal action to correct. Our Alaska family law attorneys will make sure all of your bases are covered and that you get the outcome you deserve.

Can I lose custody of my kids?

Possibly. Allegations of domestic violence, a spouse determined to leave the area with the children and a host of other factors may lead to your having limited or no custody of your children. It is incredibly important to fight these allegations and to establish interim custody rights early in the case – our team at 907 Legal can help you navigate these often treacherous waters.

Do I have to pay child support?

It depends, child support in Alaska is governed by Rule 90.3. Whether you have to pay child support and how much you have to pay depends on the custody arrangement, your income, and the other parent’s income. Our attorneys can help give you a close approximation of your potential support obligation at your consultation.

Who makes the shared custody agreement?

If the parties are in agreement or can negotiate an agreement, then the parties are in control and can make their own arrangement. If the parties cannot agree, then the court will get involved and dictate the custody arrangement. Whether the parties agree or the court decides, a highly skilled and experienced attorney will help draft a custody arrangement that maximizes your time with your kids and minimizes your financial obligation to the other party. While the child support guidelines are rigid, small tweaks to the custody arrangement can often have big impacts.

Does shared custody mean I won't pay child support?

Not neccesarily. “Shared custody” does not always mean 50/50 custody, in fact if one parent has the child more than 30% of the time but less than 70% of the time, then the court considers it “shared custody.” Differences in the amount of time the kids spend with each parent and the parents’ income will affect the amount of child support a parent has to pay in a “shared custody” situation. Parenting time and child support calculations, health insurance off-sets, seasonal income, and extended visitation credits are areas where the advice of a highly skilled attorney can prove invaluable. Small differences in monthly support payments can add up to huge savings overtime.

How do I get full custody of my kids?

This is an incredibly fact specific question as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving full-custody. The court will, however, award full-custody in certain circumstances. A highly skilled attorney can help bring the necessary facts to light and illustrate to the court why full custody is in your child’s best interest.

Father's Rights?

Under the current laws, fathers’ have the same rights as mothers. Some Judges however are stuck in the old ways – a highly skilled lawyer familiar with the current state of the law can help you avoid biased judges and assert your rights as a father.

Can I get full custody of my kids?

Maybe. This is an incredibly fact specific question as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving full-custody. The court will, however, award full-custody in certain circumstances. A highly skilled attorney can help bring the necessary facts to light and illustrate to the court why full custody is in your child’s best interest.

Does being a dad hurt me in my custody fight?

No! Under the current laws, fathers’ have the same rights as mothers. Some Judges however are stuck in the old ways – a highly skilled lawyer familiar with the current state of the law can help you avoid biased judges and assert your rights as a father.

HOW DO COURTS DETERMINE WHO GETS CUSTODY OF CHILDREN IN A DIVORCE?

If the parents cannot agree on custody of their child, the courts decide custody based on “the best interests of the child.” Determining the child’s best interests involves many factors, some of which are:

 

  • History of domestic violence
  • Wishes of each parent
  • Quality of the relationship between the child and each parent
  • Health – both mental and physical – of each parent and the child
  • Willingness of each parent to support and facilitate the child’s ongoing relationship with the other parent
  • Whether either parent has been providing the majority of the child’s care up to this point
  • The ability of each parent to provide a stable, loving environment

 

But the reality of determining who gets custody is never simple. Considering that your custody case is probably the most important case you’ll ever face in your life, you may want to consider talking to an attorney with substantial family court experience. Because even if you think the bulleted points above are all in your favor, you don’t want to leave anything to chance when it comes to your kids.

HOW IS CHILD SUPPORT DETERMINED IN A DIVORCE OR CHILD SUPPORT CASE?

In Alaska, child support is determined by Civil Court Rule 90.3. A good starting point for child support information is the Alaska Department of Revenue, Child Support Services Division (CSSD). From the CSSD website, this is generally how child support is calculated:

 

Child Support is calculated according to Court Civil Rule 90.3. You may access Civil Rule 90.3 by clicking on the left side of CSSD’s homepage. When someone has primary physical custody, the payments are based on what the noncustodial parent earns. Primary physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child resides at least 70% of the time. That court rule says that the noncustodial parent of one child should pay 20% of his or her adjusted income to support one child. Adjusted income means earning after deductions for taxes, union dues, retirement deductions and other mandatory deductions.

 

For example, if the noncustodial parent’s adjusted income is $1000 per month and that parent has one child, her monthly support obligation would be $200. If she has two children, the percentage of adjusted income for child support would increase to 27%. For three children the obligation percentage would increase to 33% and it would continue to increase by 3% per child thereafter.

 

The calculations differ when there is shared or divided custody. Shared custody means that a parent has physical custody at least thirty percent of the year, while divided custody involves multiple children and means that each parent has primary physical custody of at least one child of the relationship.

Think your spouse holds all the card?

You have rights. We’ll make sure they are protected.

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Our attorneys have a broad range of skills and expertise. With a combined 50 years of legal experience, you can be sure you’re getting the best legal advice in Alaska.

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Peter R. Ehrhardt

Attorney at Law

Peter graduated from the University of Minnesota law school in 1980. He moved to Alaska the same year and began working for a small personal injury firm in Bethel. He founded 907 Legal to meet growing demand on the Kenai Peninsula.

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Katie A. Elsner

Attorney at Law

After graduating cum laude from Northwestern Law, Katie continued developing her practice at the Miami Dade Public Defender’s Office and then with Alaska Legal Services and as a contract attorney on the Peninsula.

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Josh B. Cooley

Attorney at Law

Josh shaped his practice in Miami, where in his first year he received the Statewide Public Defender College Best Advocate Award. In less than five years, he moved from the Juvenile and Misdemeanor Crimes Divisions to being an “A” Felony Attorney.


Phone: (907) 283-2876
Fax: (907) 283-2896
Email: peter@907legal.com

Peter R. Ehrhardt

Peter Ehrhardt, Attorney at Law, graduated from the University of Minnesota law school in 1980. He moved to Alaska that same year and began working for a small personal injury firm in Bethel, Alaska. In 1983, Mr. Ehrhardt moved to Sitka, Alaska, and worked for a small general practice firm there. In 1984, Mr. Ehrhardt moved to Kenai, Alaska, where he resides today.

In 2002, Peter started a Kenai law firm to meet growing demand on the Kenai Peninsula. Since then, the office has expanded to include three local attorneys committed to providing honest, accommodating, and timely service throughout the Kenai Peninsula. Peter continues to fight for his clients’ rights and support the staff to this day.


Phone: (907) 283-2876
Fax: (907) 283-2896
Email: katie@907legal.com

Katie A. Elsner

Katie completed her undergraduate education in 2004 at New York University where she graduated cum laude. Katie then went on to the prestigious Northwestern University School of Law. It was here that Katie learned, while working on death penalty cases, that the client is the most important focus in each and every case.

After graduating cum laude from Northwestern Law, she continued developing her practice at the Miami Dade Public Defender’s Office. During her five years in Miami, she represented thousands of adult and juvenile clients charged with misdemeanor offenses, like DUI and assault, to life felonies, including homicide and sexual assault. She was a founding member of the Task Force on Forensic Litigation and received national attention when she was featured on an episode of the A&E TV show ‘After the First 48’ where she successfully convinced a judge to dismiss her client’s murder case.

Having grown up in the mountains of Colorado, Katie ultimately decided to leave Miami for the scenery and seasons for which Alaska is so well known. Since arriving in the Kenai area, she has worked for Alaska Legal Services, where she expanded her practice to include civil litigation in areas such as divorce and custody, child in need of aid, probate, protective proceedings and estates and later provided the same services as a contract attorney at Walton, Theiler & Winegarden. From attacking eye-witness identifications and the forensic sciences to resolving a family dispute, Katie is adept at litigating the particular issues involved in your criminal or civil case. With experience trying dozens of jury and non-jury trials, negotiating hundreds of case resolutions, and taking thousands of depositions, Katie is a vigorous advocate who will fight for you.


Phone: (907) 283-2876
Fax: (907) 283-2896
Email: josh@907legal.com

Josh B. Cooley

Josh Cooley, Attorney at Law, graduated from the The George Washington University Law Center in Washington, D.C. While in Law School, Mr. Cooley fell in love with criminal defense and Alaska while interning at the Alaska Public Defender Office here in Kenai.

Immediately after graduating, however, Mr. Cooley set out to shape his criminal defense and litigation practice in one of the biggest and busiest markets in the country: Miami. In his first year, he received the Statewide Public Defender College Best Advocate Award. In less than five years, Mr. Cooley moved from the Juvenile and Misdemeanor Crimes Divisions to being an “A” Felony Attorney handling only murder, attempted murder, armed robbery with a firearm, and “capital” sexual battery cases. Those first four years of Mr. Cooley’s practice helped shape him into the seasoned, aggressive, and strategic litigator that he is today.

Mr. Cooley has conducted over 1,000 depositions and defended more than 50 cases at trial. Mr. Cooley has defended clients charged with crimes including: murder, attempted murder, DUI, armed robbery, theft, burglary, home invasion robbery, mortgage fraud, possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, fleeing and eluding, drug possession, distribution, and trafficking, assault, sexual assault, and all manner of domestic violence allegations. While in Miami, Mr. Cooley was a founding member of the “Task Force on Forensic Litigation,” and conducted presentations and training to attorneys on how to defend against weapons and drug charges.

Peter’s Cases of Note

EXXON VS. BAKER

Peter was a member of the plaintiffs’ trial team which obtained a $5 billion verdict in the Exxon Valdez litigation. For his work on that case, Mr. Ehrhardt, as a member of the trial team, received the 1995 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, a national organization of trial lawyers.

GLACIER BAY

Peter was co-council in Re: Glacier Bay, a class action arising out of a 1987 oil spill in upper Cook Inlet which resulted in a $51 million settlement.

SITKA PULP MILL

Peter and a very small team of lawyers aggressively researched and challenged the odds to win the fight against the pollution causing factory in the early 90’s.

Katie’s Cases of Note

STATE V. SOSA-PALMA

Mr. Sosa-Palma was accused of murdering his brother. If convicted, he would have spent the rest of his life in prison. By challenging and attacking the forensic, medical, and crime scene evidence, Katie was able to successfully convince the judge that, despite the State’s theory of the case, Mr. Sosa-Palma was acting in self-defense. When the Judge granted Mr. Sosa-Palma’s request for immunity under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, Mr. Sosa-Palma’s murder charge was dismissed and he was released from jail.

STATE V. RANDALL

Successfully challenged a CSSD administrative child support order leading to the reversal of tens of thousands of accrued child support arrearages, invalidating an administrative driver’s license suspension for non-payment of support and securing a dismissal of criminal charges for driving while his license was suspended.

MERRILL V. MERRILL

Prevailed on a theory of equitable rescission at trial resulting in the client keeping sole possession of all of the property acquired during the marriage without having to divide anything with his former spouse.

STATE V. WASHINGTON, ET AL

Challenged the constitutionality of Florida’s controlled substance laws and obtained a court order on behalf of over 30 defendants finding the statutory scheme unconstitutional and dismissing their cases. Although a stay was entered and the trial court reversed on appeal, the cases were able to resolve with negotiated resolutions that avoided felony convictions and lengthy prisons sentences for the defendants.

Josh’s Cases of Note

STATE V. T.D. (2016)

T.D., a juvenile, was charged with multiple sexual assault charges carrying mandatory minimum penalties upwards of 20 years per charge. Mr. Cooley was able, through the use of an expert and pretrial management, to provide substantial mitigating evidence to the District Attorney. In the end, T.D.’s case was handled in juvenile court and he was placed on probation, avoiding a lengthy adult prison sentence and a lifetime of sex offender registration.

STATE V. HYATT (2014)

Hyatt was charged with assaulting his wife with a kitchen knife. Mr. Cooley vigorously prepared the case for trial and presented his defense through cross examination of the State witnesses. At the conclusion of the State’s evidence Mr. Cooley was able to convince the Judge that no reasonable juror could find Mr. Hyatt guilty and the Judge dismissed the case.

The State, upset at having the assault thrown out, then sought to charge Mr. Hyatt with a DUI from an accident nearly a year prior. Mr. Cooley prepared legal briefing and filed it with the Court, arguing that too much time had passed to pursue the DUI. The State was eventually forced to dismiss the DUI as well.

STATE V. HENSEL (2014)

Hensel was charged with Felony Driving Under the Influence after being contacted in the driver seat of a truck stuck in the snow near Kasilof: he faced a minimum sentence of 3 years. At a pretrial hearing, Mr. Cooley was able to elicit testimony from the officer that conflicted with his prior reports and helped to show that Mr. Hensel had not in fact been driving or in physical control of the truck. Mr. Cooley was able to use these newly uncovered facts to convince the District Attorney to drop the charges.

STATE V. WHITAKER (2012)

Whitaker was charged with two counts of Murder in the shooting death of two individuals outside of a Chili’s restaurant in Miami. Through the use of expert witnesses and tireless preparation, Mr. Cooley was able to present evidence at a pretrial hearing that Whitaker had acted in self-defense. The Trial Court refused to grant Whitaker immunity from prosecution, but the Court of Appeals was persuaded by the evidence Cooley put forth in the hearing and granted Whitaker immunity from prosecution.