J. Ryann Peyton
As Special Counsel for The Harris Law Firm, J. Ryann Peyton is a highly accomplished family law attorney representing clients on intricate domestic matters involving divorce, the allocation of parental rights, and post decree issues.
In 2014, Ryann Peyton was named the Gary McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer by the Colorado Bar Association, and was voted a "Rising Star" by Colorado Super Lawyer. The same year, Ms. Peyton was a Denver Business Journal “40 under 40” nominee, and received 2014's Top 10 Attorney Award from the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys. In 2010, Ryann was named an Up and Coming Attorney by Law Week Colorado, and was recognized by AVVO as a Top Rated Family Law Attorney.
Ms. Peyton has an LLM in Taxation and has successfully represented divorcing clients who are facing ongoing tax implications of property division.Ms. Peyton is also a current member of the Board of Directors and the former President of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association, and focuses much of her family law practice on working with the LGBT community. As a plaintiff in the Colorado marriage equality litigation brought earlier this year, she has become the firm’s spokeswoman for all matters associated with the ongoing litigation and legislation for same-sex marriage and is available for comment on the following issues:
- Out of State Same-Sex Marriages: These marriages which were previously deemed to be civil unions are now recognized as valid marriages by the state of Colorado.
- Divorce: With the recognition of same-sex marriage comes the availability for same-sex divorce. Colorado District Courts should be prepared to legally dissolve same-sex marriages performed in Colorado and other states.
- Civil Unions: The Colorado Legislature will need to decide what to do with couples who obtained Colorado civil unions and want to convert those civil unions into marriages. For now, a civil union is not the same as a marriage and parties wishing to be married need to obtain a marriage license.
- Parenting Issues: With civil unions, the legislature changed the presumption of legal parentage to include children born into civil unions. The statutory language will likely need to change again to include a presumption of legal parentage for children born into same-sex marriages. Additionally, step parent adoptions will need to become available to married same-sex spouses.
- Common Law Marriage: Presumably, same-sex couples can take advantage of Colorado’s common law marriage statutes. This will mark the first time in Colorado history that common law marriage is available to same-sex couples.
- Taxes: Married same-sex couples will now be able to take advantage of the numerous tax benefits provided to married spouses under state and federal tax law.
About Ryann Peyton
I’m a Colorado native, although you’d never know it as I spent the majority of my life travelling from place to place with my family. Every new school taught me how to relate to people as individuals, which is how I found my way into family law.
As a child of divorced parents, I recognize the challenges that stem from family systems change. I chose to pursue a legal career in domestic relations law in order to help guide families through change, teach families how to avoid relationship breakdown, and create paradigms to keep families together.
I returned to Colorado in 2000 as a Division I lacrosse player at the University of Denver. As a lifelong athlete, I’ve learned the meaning of the words discipline, commitment, and excellence. Off the field, I earned a B.A. in Psychology as well as the University of Denver’s Shaklee-Trowill Research Award for my work in trauma and stress studies.
My family settled in Minneapolis and I traveled home to complete by legal studies at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. While in law school I took advantage of every opportunity I could to work with families in a state of transition.
As a law clerk with the Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project, I obtained protective orders for women struggling with domestic abuse. I also worked with women seeking asylum and other immigration refuge under the Violence Against Women Act. My commitment to working in underserved communities resulted in over 500 hours of public service during my law school career.
Families come in many shapes and sizes and I pride myself on understanding the needs of even the most non-traditional families. I advocate for creative problem solving and preventative legal strategies. I’ve created and drafted innovative prenuptial agreements and domestic partnership agreements to plan, protect, and preserve the future of several non-traditional families.
I believe it is important to not only have the emotional commitment to family law, but the economic commitment as well. After law school, I returned to the University of Denver to complete my LLM in Taxation. The division of joint finances, property, and other assets can have a lasting effect after a divorce is final. The emotional toll of divorce is difficult enough without worrying about the ongoing tax implications of property division. My taxation background allows me to spot potential financial issues before they become a problem.