Litigation, Negotiation, and Mediation-Arbitration
Silverman, Decaria & Kattelman, Chtd., is a Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registered of Preeminent Lawyers firm. The firm was established by Gary R. Silverman and Mary Anne Decaria in 1985. Michael V. Kattelman joined the firm in 1998. Dixie R. Grossman and Alex Morey joined the firm in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
What we do:
-Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Cohabitation Agreements
-Post-Divorce Modifications In Custody & Visitation
-Post-Divorce Changes In Alimony Or Child Support
-Adoptions & Termination of Parental Rights
-Collection Of Unpaid Alimony And Child Support
-Personal Injury and Torts
-General Appellate Work
6140 Plumas St., Ste. 200
Reno NV 89519
MATTERS TOUCHING ON FAMILIES
We will review any problem or question you may have relating to family relations.
I was born in 1945 and lived in Kansas City until I was 12, when my parents moved to Las Vegas. I completed high school in Las Vegas and then attended the University of Nevada in Reno. I have lived in Reno since 1968, with a hiatus while I attended the University of Colorado, School of Law in Boulder, went through Infantry Officers Basic Course at Ft. Benning, and served as an Assistant District Attorney in Humboldt County, Nevada.
I was admitted to the Bar in 1970. For the last 20 years I have devoted myself entirely to family law. Before that I had a general practice, emphasizing civil litigation, business law and personal injury. While a deputy district attorney in Humboldt County, I tried a murder case. When the last of the Dalkon Shield cases were resolved, I began to practice only divorce law. I have been President of the Washoe County Bar Association; twice Chair of the Family Law Section of the State Bar. The firm has three times been Pro Bono Firm of the Year as selected by Volunteer Lawyers.
I am a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, where I serve as Parliamentarian in 2009-2010 and a Member, of the Executive Committee for 2009-2010. I served on the committee that authorized the Bounds of Advocacy and The Client Handbook. I was Treasurer of the Academy's Foundation. I served as Chair of the Nevada chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
I am one of the hundred members of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers.
I was elected by my peers to Best Lawyers in America.
Currently, I am Trustee Emeritus at Sage Ridge School, and in the past have served as Trustee.
I have four children: Aaron, David, Noah and Leah. Aaron is a painting contractor in Reno who has climbed extensively throughout the West and on Baffin Island. David owns two restaurants in Reno with a partner (Silver Peak) and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Noah has a degree in automotive engineering and is the co-founder of the Reno Bike Project. Leah is a graduate of the U. of Texas, where she was a scholarship athlete in crew. She was a champion squash player in high school.
Life experience: I lettered in boxing at the University of Nevada and boxed for the U.S. team in the 1973 Maccabiah games in Israel. I oversaw an apartment complex for a year while in law school. I was President of the UNR Senate and Temple Emanu-el (twice). I have been a construction worker, a Keno writer and a waiter. My hobbies are reading, cycling and, well, reading.
Approach to the practice? Here are the rules I follow:
The idea is to solve problems, not simply try cases or make motions or draft pleadings. Litigation is usually not the answer to most problems, though no one in the firm is afraid of the courtroom. A courtroom is, under most circumstances, a bad place to resolve complex human problems.
Alternative dispute resolution (mediation and, sometimes, arbitration) is a valid, viable alternative to trials and should be exploited if appropriate.
The children come first, but parents almost always know what is in their child's best interest.
Nastiness does not equate with effectiveness.
I tell the whole truth and expect my clients to do the same. The firm will only make complete and full disclosure. We are not interested in game-playing, half-truths or in "hiding the ball." A half-truth is a whole lie. We will not abide being lied to by our own clients.
Be judicious about the litigation process. Cost is an important factor--you can put your kids through college...or mine. Some, often much, of the cost of a divorce is in your control.
I want to determine what is fair in any particular case and seek to reach agreement in that range; if that is not possible, the case should be tried after exploring mediation.
It is our job to get the case over with as quickly and inexpensively as possible, consistent with a fair result for my client. A divorce effectively brings life to a halt and the time it takes to resolve a case should be as short as possible.
University of Colorado
Many years ago, I elected to limit my practice to primarily family law. This was a conscious decision on my part and not one born of necessity. At the time we narrowed our practice to family law, Gary Silverman and I enjoyed a thriving general practice. We handled a diverse assortment of civil matters including personal injury, medical malpractice, contracts, mechanic's liens, construction law, collection law, wills, estates, guardianships and the like.
Family law, however, holds special appeal and I find it to be the most personally satisfying area of practice for two reasons. First, I enjoy working closely with people. It is the one area of law where I may be a positive influence at one of the most emotionally trying events in a person's life: The end of a marriage.
A good lawyer will zealously represent her client's interests without unnecessarily increasing or engendering animosity. A poor lawyer will mistake aggression for effective advocacy. Intelligent representation, thorough understanding of the applicable law and of the facts of the case, combined with common sense and compassion are what make a good family lawyer. Those are the qualities I strive for.
The second reason I chose family practice is because of the diversity of issues presented. My cases require of me a broad range of expertise and are always interesting. In any given case, besides needing a complete understanding of community property, custody and support law, I must know accounting and valuation principles, the law of real property, pensions, liens, notes and security, tort, contract, collections, conflicts of laws, jurisdiction, evidence, procedure, discovery and the like. I work with a variety of professionals such as appraisers, accountants, physicians, psychologists, and valuators.
I formerly served as Chair of the State Bar of Nevada Northern Disciplinary Board overseeing the discipline of attorneys in northern Nevada. I am an arbitrator in the Court Appointed Arbitration program in Washoe, Carson and Douglas Counties, hearing many types of cases, and I previously served as a member of the State Bar of Nevada Northern Fee Dispute Panel. I am a mediator.
My bar related efforts have focused on improving the standards of family practice in this state. For six years, I served on the Executive Council of the State Bar of Nevada Family Law Section. I served as Course Director of the Annual Family Law Seminar the section conducts each spring. Under my tutelage, the seminar grew tremendously and now enjoys a statewide and national reputation for providing the highest quality family law education. On a smaller scale, I have organized and moderated quarterly brown bag lunches in Washoe County, offering continuing legal education and interaction between bench and bar, all of which enhances the services to the public provided by court and counsel.
I write a column for the Washoe County Bar Association publication, the "Writ," educating the local bar as to the recent cases and developments in family law. I have contributed articles to the State Bar of Nevada publication, Nevada Lawyer@ and the "Nevada Family Law Report" and have lectured on family law issues. I act as mentor to lawyers, new and old, who have family law questions.
Pro Bono work is a privilege, not an obligation, so I routinely handle Pro Bono cases. Volunteer Lawyers honored Silverman, Decaria & Kattelman as the 1996, 1997 and 2005 firm of the year. I do what I can to help Volunteer Lawyers, including dispensing legal advise on "Make a Difference Day" and speaking at training sessions. I served as President on the Board of Directors of Volunteer Lawyers of Washoe County.
I served on the Nevada Supreme Court Bench/Bar Committee and was also a member of the Supreme Court NRCP 16.2 Committee, which rewrote the rules to conform to family law. I was a member of the Family Court Rules Committee and the 1992 and 1996 Child Support Statute Review Committees. I am a fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, where I serve on the editorial board of the AAML Journal.
I grew up in Ogden, Utah and attended the University of Utah, where I graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English. I went to law school at Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, graduating cum laude in 1981. I moved to Reno, where I worked as a law clerk for the Hon. John W. Barrett, a district court judge in the Second Judicial District Court, Washoe County, Nevada. Gary Silverman and I have practiced law together since 1982.
I became a lawyer because I enjoy working with people of diverse backgrounds and occupations. For several years I worked in the prosecution of white collar crimes. In 1997, I took the opportunity to work as a law clerk to the now retired Honorable Scott Jordan of the Family Division of the Second Judicial District Court, State of Nevada. I am now dedicated almost exclusively to the practice of family law and appellate practice.
Familial relationships, I believe, are the most emotional, complex, joyous and frustrating associations we have. Counseling a client through the legal dynamics of a divorce or child custody litigation requires compassion, common sense, constant communication, integrity, and often a stern hand. I strive to employ each of these traits in the light of fairness and good judgement. Animosity and unnecessary aggression do not make for effective lawyering where your children and assets are concerned. I tell the truth; you may not like to hear it.
The most important part of any case is knowing the facts and the applicable law. This requires attention to the client, experience, and detailed research. We have earned our reputation for presenting cases and the law in an honest and zealous manner. I am proud to be associated with my partners, Gary Silverman and Mary Anne Decaria, two outstanding lawyers who blazed the family law trail in Nevada, and our newest lawyers, Dixie Grossman and Alexander C. Morey.
Nevada is my home state. The Kattelman family owned the land where the Legislative Building now sits, not long after Nevada joined the Union. I am licensed to practice law in Nevada and California. I graduated magna cum laude from the University of the Pacific and received my law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. My first job was emptying the trash and sweeping the floors at Nevada Rubber Stamp Co., the business my parents purchased when I was a child.
My wife, Nicole, is a school psychologist - a very emotionally attuned and intelligent woman. We have two children, Jake and Elise. Our free time is spent in the mountains. I know what it entails to be a co-parent and the importance to children in having a loving relationship with their respective care givers.
I serve on the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Nevada, and as an officer of the Washoe County Bar. I am member of the Nevada Trial Lawyers Legislative Steering Committee; the Washoe County Family Law Bench Bar Committee; and the Committee of Family Law Certification Requirements. I lecture, publish and edit articles for various family law entities. I am committed to making the family law courts work for our community.
University of California, Hastings College of the Law