Law Offices of Kristi Cotton Spence

Law Offices of Kristi Cotton Spence

Kristi Cotton Spence is a Certified Family Law Specialist with over 30 years of experience in all areas of family law both as a litigator and as a mediator.

Firm Overview

A 20-year fellow of the
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), Kristi has considerable experience with both routine
and highly complex financial and custody matters.

Dissolution (Divorce)

Marital and Property Settlement Agreements
Property Identification, Valuation and Division
Child Custody Agreements and Visitation
Spousal, Child, and Family Support

Prenuptial, Postnuptial, and Cohabitation Agreements

Stepparent and Adult Adoptions

Paternity Actions

Expert Witness and appointment as Guardian Ad Litem

Main Office

Main Office
1777 Borel Place, Suite 204
San Mateo, CA 94402




An alternative to traditional litigation, mediation allows divorcing couples to avoid the time, cost, uncertainty and adversarial posturing of the court system.

Mediation allows for careful consideration of the clients' concerns and objectives and provides an opportunity for creative and personalized solutions. The process may include the use of tax, accounting, pension, real estate, and custody experts and, where requested, reviewing counsel.

In mediation, Kristi, acting as a neutral facilitator, helps clients reach a legally binding settlement of all issues in their case as well as assistance in completing all court filings, agreement documentation, and implementation paperwork.


Kristi also represents individual clients in negotiated prenuptial, cohabitation and postnuptial agreements and in stepparent and adult adoptions.

Dissolution (divorce) agreements and all forms of prenuptial, cohabitation, and postnuptial agreements are negotiated consistent with the rights and obligations of both parties under the laws of the State of California.

Kristi has also acted as an expert witness in family law matters, as guardian ad litem for children and adults, and as a stipulated attorney for children.

Kristi Cotton Spence

Law Offices of Kristi Cotton Spence

Admitted to Practice - California State Bar 1981
Stanford Law School, JD, 1981
Stanford University, BS, 1963

Family Law Experience
Law Office of Kristi Cotton Spence, 2004 to present
Partner, Berra Spence, 1993 - 2004
Carr, McClellan, Ingersoll, Thompson and Horn, 1981 1993, Partner from 1986

Certified Family Law Specialist, California Board of Legal Specialization 1994 - present
Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 1995 - present
President, San Mateo County Bar Association 1997
Chair, Family Law Section of the San Mateo County Bar Association 1986
President, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County 1987-1989

Lawyer of the Year: Family Law Mediation Specialist for San Francisco Area 2015
The Best Lawyers in America every year 1995 to present
Super Lawyers 2005 to present, including Top Lawyers in Northern California 2009 to present
San Mateo County Bar Association William Nagle Jr. Award 2012
San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame 2000
National Bar Register of Pre-eminent Lawyers
AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell awarded for highest level of legal expertise and ethical standards

Selected Community Service
Crystal Springs Uplands School Board of Trustees: Life Trustee
Pacific School of Religion Board of Trustees: 1985-1993, 1999-2009
San Mateo Library Foundation Board of Directors: 2002-2006
President Northern California Association of Adoption Agencies: 1976-1978
Children's Home Society Adoption Board

Office Staff
~ Brooksley Wylie, Attorney. JD Stanford Law School 1991, BA Duke University 1986. Brooksley consults regarding stock option analysis and other complex financial instruments.
~ Melissa Stewart, Legal Assistant. Melissa assists clients with the gathering of information necessary to proceed with a mediation including forms, documents, and the preparation of pleadings.
~ Cheryl Burnett, Administrative Assistant.


Stanford Law School
Juris Doctorate,