Located in Sierra Vista, Arizona,
A client-focused law office.
When you or a loved one finds themselves in a legal predicament, it's not enough to just trust that justice will prevail or to just accept an attorney's non-individualized advice. Nancy Bourke views the attorney-client relationship as a partnership.
My clients can expect:
- one-on-one, personalized consultations
- prompt, straightforward answers to your legal questions
- all communications to be kept in the strictest confidence
Successes in and outside the courtroom don't just happen. They are the result of individual attention give to each client and each issue. Whether you need to ensure your children's best interests are the top priority in a divorce or custody dispute, or you need guidance through the maze that is the criminal court, Nancy Bourke will provide the time and attention you need to make the most informed decisions possible.
My experience extends to:
- Child Custody
- Modification of Prior Family Law Orders
- Grandparent's Rights
- Orders of Protection
- Injunctions Against Harassment
- Settlement Negotiations
- Criminal Defense
- Early Resolution Court
- Early Termination of Probation
- Restoration of Civil Rights
- Medical Marijuana
4036 La Linda Way Suite C
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635
Not sure if you need legal representation or how to proceed?
Ask a question using the form below or call to schedule a no-obligation consultation. You should not use this form to convey details about your legal matter to me. Under the ethical rules applicable to attorneys, all prospective clients need to know that information sent in this form may not be kept confidential. A check for conflicts of interest regarding the opposing party will need to be conducted before I can agree to consult with you or take on your legal matter.
Call (520) 335–8762 9a – 4p Monday - Friday or use the form below.
No material on this website constitutes legal advice. Attorneys have no ability to give specific advice without communicating directly with clients. Attorneys cannot guarantee legal outcomes. Ms. Bourke is licensed to practice law in Arizona, only. Ms. Bourke can bring out-of-state cases into Arizona only if the case has legitimate ties to Arizona and the client otherwise plans to litigate in Arizona. This set of circumstances often arises in child custody cases. This office is unable to accept pro bono cases at this time.
Divorce and child custody matters constitute a large portion of Ms. Bourke's practice. The following are some questions she is frequently asked by her clients:
1. What should I do if I am expecting divorce or custody papers from my ex or I would like to file them on my own?
First and foremost, leave your children out of the process to the extent possible. No matter how right you are and no matter how wrong the other parent is, your children do not need to be dragged into this crisis. Even young children feel that they are a reflection of each of their parents, so bad-mouthing either parent will feel to the child like you are insulting him or her, even if they cannot articulate that feeling. In the case of domestic violence against your children, protective orders and other issues should be handled outside the children's' presence, in court or otherwise. Children should not be invited to meetings with your attorney unless they have been asked by the lawyer for a specific reason.
If you are reading this, the process of divorce has probably already become difficult, or you expect that it will become difficult. Therefore, you should strive to keep your communication with your spouse as factual as possible and avoid in-person communication. If you stick with email, text, or letters, there will be no doubt what was said when the communications are brought to a judge's attention. Writing rather than talking also naturally slows you down and forces you to think about what you are saying more than when you are speaking. Do not be tempted to bad-mouth your spouse on any social networking sites. If others do, do not encourage them. It may feel good in the moment, but will likely come back to haunt you. Remember that divorces in Arizona are granted on a no-fault basis, so bashing the other party does nothing to help your case, but it can make you look bad to the judge. Anytime you are tempted to say or write anything, picture your voice or written words to have a stamp that says, "Exhibit A."
2. Do I really need an attorney?
Below are links to just some of the considerations you should take into account when litigating in Arizona. Even well-seasoned attorneys practice law because perfection is impossible. However, in most legal situations, you will want someone who dedicates their career to understanding the myriad of statutes, rules, regulations, and ordinances. Lawyers are also intimately familiar with court procedure, mandatory deadlines, and other obscure rules that often dictate the outcome of a case, fairly or not. There are also a limited number of attorneys in Cochise County and the more astute among us use our personal knowledge of the other attorneys involved in the case and even the six superior court judges to get the best possible results for our clients.
Another important consideration is the highly emotional status of most issues by the time they reach the court system. Even attorneys do not represent themselves in court because we know that when freedom, family, or finances are on the line, all the education, training, experience, and reason in the world can still be (and often is) overcome by sentiment.
Not everyone needs an attorney in every situation and sometimes the expense is just not something that can be overcome. However, having a detached and experienced advocate is the safest course in trying to reach long-term goals and getting the best possible results for yourself and your family.
3. Can I hire you for just a portion of my custody case?
Our firm does offer "limited scope representation agreements" in some situations. A limited scope agreement might be particularly useful if there is only one distinct issue where you need professional assistance. For example, you might want us to represent you only for purposes of a contempt petition that you got served after your divorce became final. Or you may need help only with getting necessary paperwork or "disclosure" from your ex so that you can determine for yourself whether you should settle rather than proceed to trial. Whether a limited scope agreement makes sense in your case will require discussion at a consultation. The benefit of a limited scope agreement is that our fees will no longer accumulate once the representation is complete on your limited issue. On the other hand, many clients find they need assistance with many issues other than what they originally thought. In that situation, entering a full representation agreement for the entire case after you have already entered a limited scope representation agreement may take precious time away from pressing legal issues.
4. What is a parenting coordinator?
Parenting coordination is a hybrid psychological-legal process. When I act as a parenting coordinator, I am not acting as either a psychologist or a lawyer. However, I do help create, implement, modify, and mediate parenting plans, I help parents at impasse, I educate parents about child development, proper communication, and conflict resolution, I manage co-parenting relationships, I coordinate others who are important in the children's lives, like teachers and counselors, I help parents negotiate and facilitate resolution of disputes, and I make decisions that are binding unless and until the Court intervenes.
The goal of parenting coordination is to facilitate an effective and sustainable co-parenting relationship. The day-to-day work of parenting coordination can take many forms, such as educating the co-parents, facilitating resolution of disputes, monitoring parental access to the children, ensuring that the court orders are being followed, monitoring the children's adjustment to the parental split, and monitoring all participants' safety.
A parenting coordinator is usually appointed by the court, at the request of one or both parents. In Arizona, parenting coordinators are bound by Rule 74 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, which can be found below.
5. How much do you charge for family law cases?
For family law cases, our firm charges $250/hour. This is usually a more fair type of fee than a flat fee because a client knows exactly on what his or her money is being spent via monthly billing statements. Our rates are typically $50-75 per hour below that of other local firms performing the same work. Almost all other local firms charge an hourly fee for work performed by legal assistants and paralegals, but our firm does not. Not charging for time spent by assistants and bundling attorney's work into large time periods (rather than more frequently addressing non-urgent concerns) allows our clients to spend less money overall than they would elsewhere.
Hourly fee agreements require an up-front payment (an "advance deposit") for anticipated services. It is almost always impossible to guess at the outset of a case how much time will ultimately be spent by the attorney. This results in a client refund of a portion of the advance deposit at the conclusion of your case if your advance deposit turned out to be too high. It results in a replenishment of your account being required as the case is still pending if your advance deposit turned out to be too low. We only keep hourly fees that are actually earned.
In exchange for our low hourly rates, clients are required to sign a formal fee agreement. That agreement and other initial paperwork - as well as the agreed-upon advance deposit payment - must be received and processed before we begin working on a client's case.
5. What would your former clients say about you?
"I truly appreciate your quick professional, experienced, savvy response to my self-inflicted ordeal. By following your exact advice as well as your knowledge and communication skills with the prosecuting attorney who was then very understanding and fair. I could have received a sentence up to 7 years.
I was very fortunate to be given your name as a referral. I also would like to thank you at this time for your successful representation with my neighbor's divorce case. Thanks for understanding our financial situation. You are the hardest working dedicated attorney for each and every one of your clients."
"I have hired Nancy Bourke on several occasions. Nancy handled a child custody case for my husband. She did an incredible job for us. She listened to what we wanted and was not afraid to tell us what we wanted was really not in the best interest of the child. She set reasonable expectations and is totally a go-getter!
Nancy also handled a dispute with my employer. If you find yourself in a situation where you need an attorney, you cannot go wrong by having Nancy in your corner!!"
Court administration / contact information for Cochise County:
Court filing fees for Cochise County cases:
To view a specific case already started anywhere in Arizona (except those considered non-public):
https://apps.supremecourt.az.gov/publicaccess/ (updated weekly)
Arizona state laws:
Rule 74 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure (parenting coordinators):
Nancy Bourke started her legal career at the Cochise County Legal Defender's Office, defending individuals from felony charges. She has conducted jury trials, appeared in front of judges throughout the state, and practiced at the appellate level. If you are being investigated for a crime or criminal charges have been filed against you, please remember the following:
* Talk to an attorney immediately. Demand to talk to an attorney whether or not law enforcement invites you to do so.
* Do not talk to anyone else about your case, especially law enforcement. This includes friends, family members, postings on social media, and others who were charged in your case.
* It is your responsibility to know and appear for all court dates. It is critical that you appear on time for all hearings.
* Do not feel embarrassed or ashamed. Good people are charged with criminal offenses all the time. You have the absolute right to defend yourself and should provide your attorney with all the facts so your attorney is not surprised during negotiations or trial. Hiding information from your lawyer is the best way to pay a high price for what happened.
Ms. Bourke is experienced in these matters and is very familiar with the judges in Cochise County. Meeting with her is the best way to begin the process of putting your life back in order.
In the meantime, if you are stopped by the police keep the following in mind.
If you are driving when stopped, you are obligated to provide your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. However, do not answer questions the officer asks you, even if they do not seem to be investigating you. Do not give consent to search your car under any circumstances, even if the officer says he is going to get a warrant if you don't give consent. Let the officer get the warrant if he or she wants to, but do not make it easy for the officer to search you or your vehicle. That only helps their case. Do not give consent even if you have nothing to hide. You do have to get out of your car if you are commanded to, but you should ask if you are under arrest if you are told to get out. Again, do not answer questions whether you are under arrest or not. Do not voluntarily give the officer any information, even if it seems being honest or cooperative will help you avoid arrest.
Once your documents are returned to you, leave the scene immediately. If the officer hands you your documents and then starts asking questions, or asks you to wait while he gets a dog to sniff the vehicle, again ask if you are under arrest. If the answer is no, you are free to leave, no matter how casual or how urgent the officer's questions seem and no matter how quickly the dog can get there. The officer is conducting a criminal investigation against you, but you have no obligation to allow the investigation to occur and no reason to comply with the invasion if you have already been handed back your documents, which indicates the stop has been completed.
If you are told that you are under arrest, you still should not say anything, but you should not resist the officer's placing cuffs on you and otherwise taking physical control of you, as doing so may lead to additional criminal charges.
When under arrest for a DUI in Arizona, you must submit to testing once arrested, or you will have your license suspended for one year. However, that testing should be limited to MVD's use, not used in criminal proceedings If you do submit to testing, it will likely include, among other tests, a breath test. If you refuse it after being arrested, you will automatically lose your license for one year, even if you had nothing at all in your system when you refused. If you are arrested for a DUI, you should ask for two things immediately: 1)to call your lawyer, and 2)to be given the ability to make arrangements for an independent blood test with an independent blood draw (if a blood draw was conducted).
If you are not in a car when stopped, you may be asked questions by an officer who is doing a field investigation after being called to a scene. In this situation, it may be even more tempting to answer questions, as you may not think that it is you who is being investigated (and it may not be). However, you still should not answer questions, even if you consider yourself to be an impartial witness. Ask if you are under arrest and if you are not, you are free to leave and give a statement at a later time, when things have become more calm. Remember: even if you are arrested, you never have to speak to the police, border patrol, the DEA, FBI, or any other police agency and it is usually not in your best interests to do so. Even if you think you could talk yourself out of charges, remember that the police can report what you said in any way that they would like. It is true that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
When the police and prosecutor decide to bring charges against a person, they have the burden to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. They must convince the judge or jury with enough evidence to meet that threshold. The reason clients should not say anything is because if they do, they may end up adding to the evidence and helping the other side to reach the level of beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, defendants are not required to put on a defense, so there is usually no reason to add to the conversation the prosecutor is having with the judge or jury. If you add anything, you are most likely adding to the stack of evidence against you because the prosecution will be free to use your words in any manner they see fit. Talking does not helping your case, as you have nothing to prove.
There are several ways one can be charged with Driving Under the Influence in Arizona. Most people know that driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is illegal. Many, however, are surprised to learn that somebody could be charged and convicted of a DUI with having a much smaller BAC. Driving "while impaired to the slightest degree" is a form of DUI in Arizona where all that the State needs to prove is that an alcohol or drug concentration in your body impairs your ability to drive. There is no minimum amount or concentration of drug or alcohol that needs to be in your system and no definition of what does or does not constitute impairment. From the moment your vehicle is stopped, or you are being questioned in the case of an accident, police are conducting an investigation against you. This investigation doesn't just focus on field sobriety test and preliminary breath test machines. It also involves what an officer can smell on your breath, your appearance, your posture, how well you can hand the officer your documents upon command, what the officer sees in the car, what answers you give the officer, as well as how you give them.
Nancy Bourke, Esq.
I grew up in Baltimore, MD in a humble family setting. I graduated from Loyola University Maryland (Loyola College at the time) with a major in psychology and minor in French.
In college, I learned of the sentencing disparities between criminal defendants of different races and, even more starkly, when the victims were of different races. This disturbed me enough to attend law school, but I was also still interested in psychology. I went on to earn both my master's and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology and also completed law school at night. The best way to demonstrate the wide variety of clients I have served is to refer you to my resume.
I graduated the dual-degree program in 2007 and completed my post-doctoral clinical psychology hours while living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before moving to Arizona in 2008 to begin my career as an attorney. I listen to and understand my clients and what they are going through better than other attorneys. I believe that is not only due to my extensive education and training in psychology, but also because I have had to deal with difficult situations of my own and understand intimately what it is like to be in crisis and in need.
I moved to Cochise County in 2008. I lived briefly in Brewery Gulch, then moved to Naco. I now live in Sierra Vista close to the office. I have two children.