Certified Specialist, Family Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization


As managing partner for the [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-1″], I use my more than thirty years experience to serve my clients, with a strong emphasis on unraveling the complexities of high net worth marriages and family businesses. I and my associate attorney, Diana L. Leonida, have also been certified by the State of California, Board of Legal Specialization as Family Law Specialists. Certified Family Law Specialists have extensive experience in the areas of California Family Law including divorce, child custody and visitation, property division, domestic partnership agreements, domestic partnership dissolution, child and spousal support, tax consequences, settlement negotiations and trial litigation. Certified Specialists in Family Law have also passed a rigorous written examination, obtained a wealth of experience in family law, fulfilled ongoing education requirements and been favorably evaluated by peers and judges familiar with their work.

My family law practice includes complex or high asset divorce cases with particular emphasis on family business, professional practices and emerging business interests that were conceived during the marriage.

My practice also addresses long term spouse and child support (obligations for the high wage earner) and the (rights of the non-working spouse); post decree efforts to modify or terminate these support obligations; high-conflict custody disputes, including move-aways (both domestic and international); premarital and cohabitation agreements; domestic partnership disputes; contested pre-marital and post marital agreements; contested trusts, estates and comprehensive estate planning.

My firm is staffed with experienced, capable and dedicated legal professionals, committed to providing exceptional legal counsel by making ourselves accessible, offering a clear and understandable road map to our clients’ complex legal issues, and delivering the highest value for dollars spent. My colleagues and I strive to bring warmth into the legal process, maintain an open line of communication and provide service that exceeds expectations.

Whether your case requires litigation, negotiation, collaboration, mediation or a combination of these, I am well-equipped to represent your interests in the areas of:

  • Family Law litigation and support including dissolution of marriage, dissolution of domestic partnership, child custody, support and property disputes
  • Comprehensive Estate Planning
  • Mediation, Arbitration and Private Judging of Family Law Matters
  • Private Judging and Mediation

In addition to my experience as a San Francisco Family Law attorney, I am also a Certified Family Law Mediator, having been trained at Pepperdine School of Law, Strauss School of Alternative Dispute Resolution. I conduct mediation on behalf of parties resolving family law disputes outside the Superior Court. My clients have been pleased with my effective negotiation skills and techniques in family law disputes either through private or court-ordered settlement conferences or through the collaborative divorce model. Additionally, I am a mediator for the San Francisco Superior Court as well as being a Judge Pro-Tempore for the family law motion calendar.

“When irreconcilable differences will have an impact on the family or domestic partnership, I provide a clear direction for resolution by using effective legal remedies to resolve disputes. Thus, when litigation appears to be the only viable alternative, I focus on providing advice and representation in the following areas of the law.”

Child Custody
One of my firm’s strengths is our significant experience in dealing with complex child custody matters, including interstate child custody disputes and contested child custody trials. I also have significant experience and success resolving international child custody disputes.

I take pride in creating cohabitation agreements that take into the account the interests of both parties and their families, and that are enforceable.

High Asset Property Issues – Property Characterization and Distribution
I am also proud of my track record of successfully resolving high asset property issues which I accomplish by focusing on both property characterization and distribution matters. The property division issues I help resolve includes residential real property, bank accounts, stocks, vehicles, business interests, and pension benefits, with an additional focus on tracing community and separate property. Using creative solutions to create a clear roadmap, I am able to untangle the most complex of issues and bring resolution.

Spousal and Child Support Agreements or Litigation
I have also had considerable success in securing sizable spousal support awards for marriages of significant duration. I also have extensive experience in negotiating and litigating child support agreements that are in the best interest of the children and result in high client satisfaction.

Domestic Violence

I have had significant experience in securing restraining orders and creating legal agreements to protect my client against domestic violence.

Premarital and Postnuptial Agreements
I am known for my ability to draft enforceable agreements that take into account the most current case law and thoroughly represent the wishes of my client.

Family Arbitration and Mediation
An Excellent listener and tenacious problem-solver, I have a strong track record in resolving family law cases through a non-adversarial means.

Family Business Law
My peers have recognized my ability to capably solve complex business issues that arise in the context of family law disputes.

Marital Settlement Agreements
A marital settlement agreement is the document that terminates marital property interests. The Family Code of California views the marriage as a partnership and contains a “partnership law” pertaining to married couples. A marital settlement agreement represents an integration of the Family Code into the personal and business affairs of the divorcing parties. The document represents the conclusion of the financial affairs of the marital partners.

As such, the agreement must be thorough and tailored to meet the personal goals and needs of each client. Certain formalities must be observed and the language of the agreement must reflect not only the decisions made by the parties, but also the circumstances surrounding those decisions. The agreement must facilitate closure between the parties and be prepared with care to withstand “attack” after it is executed. Of course, when the parties have children, those important and ongoing interactions must be defined and clarified by the terms of the agreement so that any disputes about the children are minimized. My goal is always to draft an effective agreement that is understandable to the parties and that leaves them both feeling protected and that the dissolution of their marriage is complete.

Paternity actions are either instituted by one of the parents of a child or through the District Attorney’s office under the Uniform Parentage Act. The purpose of these proceedings is to first determine the parentage of the child and then to deal with the important aspects of child custody and child support. Under the Family Code of California, there is a compelling state interest in establishing paternity for all children. Establishing paternity is the first step toward a child support award, which in turn provides children with equal rights and access to the benefits of Social Security, health insurance, survivor benefits, military benefits and inheritance rights.

I am experienced in all aspects of paternity proceedings and provide advocacy when the issue of paternity is being challenged.

Visitation Rights
Often, visitation rights, either by a parent or grandparents, are contested during a divorce process. I am proud of my track record of successfully helping clients get the visitation rights they deserve.