Stefan Otterson
  • Family Law, Arbitration & Mediation, Divorce...
  • Alaska
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Stefan Otterson has lived and practiced law in Anchorage since 1988. Stefan lived and worked in Europe for three years before attending the University of Utah, graduating suma cum laude in 1984. He received both an MBA and Law Degree from the University of Utah schools of Business and Law in 1988. Stefan started out in private commercial legal practice, but joined the Attorney General’s Office in 1990. There he was a child protection and juvenile delinquency prosecutor, and also represented the Divisions of Public Safety, Mental Health, and Medicaid. Since 2000 Stefan has practiced family law in courts all over Southcentral, Southwest and Northwest Alaska. Stefan is also trained in mediation and collaborative law, and has been a mediator for the court system, and a child advocate (guardian ad litem).

Practice Areas
  • Family Law
  • Arbitration & Mediation
  • Divorce
  • Juvenile Law
  • Appeals & Appellate
  • Domestic Violence
Additional Practice Areas
  • Adoption
  • Collaborative Law
  • Collaborative Divorce
  • Child Abuse & Neglect
  • OCS Relative Placement
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
  • French: Written
  • German: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Otterson Law & Mediation, P.C.
University of Utah
MBA (1988)
Honors: Wm & Opal Fields Scholarship
The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
J.D. (1988)
University of Utah
B.A. / English with writing emphasis, German minor (1984)
Honors: Summa Cum Laude
Activities: Graduation speaker, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi
Professional Associations
Alaska State Bar # 8811198
Alaska Association of Collaborative Professionals
- Current
Speaking Engagements
Adoptive Parent Training, Quarterly Adoptive Parent Workshops, Anchorage
Catholic Social Services
Legal portion of adoptive parent training
Adoptive Parent Training, Quarterly Adoptive Parent Workshops, Anchorage
Catholic Social Services
Legal portion of adoptive parent training
Websites & Blogs
Stefan Otterson's Website Profile
Otterson Law & Mediation, P.C. Website
Legal Answers
26 Questions Answered

Q. Hi. My i recently told my ex-gf to move out, and that our daughter stays with me in a stable household.
A: Yes, it is completely legal. Until you get a custody order, you both have equal custodial rights. Hiding from you isn't a good thing, but since she filed for custody, you now have her address and a forum for determining how to arrange custody between the two of you. If you ask for it, the court will normally order equally shared custody until a final determination can be made. If spending half the time with your ex isn't safe, you can ask the court for primary custody, with your ex getting visits that are arranged to be safe. Getting such an order requires pretty strong evidence, though. The best thing would be for you and your ex to work things out with a mediator. (The court may be able to provide one free of charge if you can't afford one. )
Q. If I enroll in college before I turn 18 can my mother remove me from college for any reason
A: This may be a matter of policy at the particular college you pick. In general, until you turn 18 your parents have legal custody of you. This means they have decision making authority, and they are the ones who are supposed to sign admissions paperwork, etc. However, some organizations make exceptions. In many school districts, they have programs that allow runaway kids to register themselves. This is supposed to serve the goal of universal education. Your college may have a similar policy. What they do if your parents contact them and say they disagree with your registration would also be a matter of that particular school's policy, so you should ask the admissions office.
Q. Foster parents rights to adoption what are the legal options?
A: You should first do everything you can to work things out with the social worker. If possible, you should try to get the guardian ad litem to advocate in your favor. If you have no luck with the social worker, go up the chain to his/her supervisor, and on up. OCS has broad discretion to make placement decisions, so you're at a big disadvantage if you have to challenge them in court. If all else fails, you can intervene in the CINA proceeding to file a motion for placement, and ask for a hearing. Also ask for an order that OCS not make any changes pending a decision on your motion. You would have to show that the OCS placement decision is an abuse of discretion. You will probably want legal assistance, as this is a very difficult case to present.
Q. What does "I further allege the following as my affirmation defenses" mean in a divorce answer filing?
A: It probably means the person who wrote the Answer was trying to sound legal. He/she probably meant "affirmative" defenses. Certain types of defenses need to be specifically listed in an Answer. If a party lists them, it just preserves the right to argue them later. However, most of them have nothing to do with the issues you are dealing with in a divorce.
Q. Judge awards property to spouse in divorce.
A: If your former spouse refuses to comply with a requirement of your property division order, you can file a motion to enforce the order. You would file it under the divorce case number.
Q. Hi my sister who is legally age took mostly all of my belongings without permission and packed them up while i was away
A: Although you are family members, neither of you has an obligation to the other that goes beyond what two strangers would have. This isn't a matter of family law. You could report your sister's acts to the police, or you could bring a civil lawsuit yourself. Unless the property value was very high, you would do this in Small Claims Court, which has procedures that are conducive to handling things yourself without a lawyer.
Q. Can I hire a attorney that does unbundling service and then hire that same attorney to be at the hearing or trial?
A: Yes, both those things are possible. That is, they are not prohibited by any ethics rules, etc. However, you would need to ask the particular lawyer whether he/she is willing to move from unbundled assistance to full representation and a court appearance. Some are and some aren't. You should think about whether you want full representation for the duration of the case (which would normally require a large retainer) or just a court appearance at a specific hearing (which usually requires a smaller advance payment).
Q. Can they take my kids because I was going to the battered woman's shelter?
A: No, there must be evidence of abuse or neglect, or failure to protect from abuse at the hands of another. That may or may not be present when a battered woman's shelter is involved. If there has been domestic violence, the question is whether the children have been exposed to it, and whether you have done what you can to protect them from such exposure. Using the shelter is usually a positive sign, as long as you don't go back and forth between the batterer and the shelter, taking the kids back into contact with the batterer.
Q. Does power of attorney override a last will and testament
A: A power of attorney generally ends upon the death of the person who executed it. The will does not come into effect until after the person's death, so in the simplest sense, the power of attorney cannot override the will. However, many things can be done through a power of attorney during the persons life that will affect what assets end up being subject to the will. This is something you would need to discuss with a probate/estate planning attorney.
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Contact & Map
Otterson Law & Mediation, P.C.
425 G St
Anchorage, AK 99501
Telephone: (907) 868-5050