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Kristen Meredith Gates

Family Attorney at Vista, CA

5.0   13 reviews
  • Licensed for 15 years
    State CA
    Acquired 2008
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Kristen

Learn Kristen’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Child custody

  2. Child support

  3. Divorce and separation

  4. Domestic violence

  5. Family
    Divorce, legal separation, child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, domestic violence restraining orders, property division, adoption

It is my goal for my clients to know that I have been honest with them, that I have worked hard for them, and that I genuinely care what happens to them and their families.  If I can educate them about the legal process along the way, even better.   

Prior to law school, I worked in a medical malpractice, personal injury, and family law office while obtaining my paralegal certification.  Interacting with clients who were going through such a traumatic time in thier lives, both physically and emotionally, motivated me to pick an area of the law where I felt I could actually help people.  I understand that family law is a necessary evil, but with the right guidance and competent representation, the process can be a little less painful. 

During law school, I worked in the family law mediation clinic.  I believe every case should at least explore the possibility of reaching an agreement amicably, but if necessary, I have no problem flipping the switch and aggressively advocating for my clients.  I am comfortable in the courtroom and you'll feel confident knowing I have your best interests in mind.   

After working as a law clerk at an older, established local law firm in civil litigation defense, I soon realized that the big firm approach was not my style.  You're going to have personalized attention and deal directly with me- not be shifted off to a paralegal or legal assistant.  After graduation and passing the bar, I worked in family law, civil litigation and bankruptcy with my father, who has been practicing almost 40 years. 

I then gained valuable experience as a staff attorney for the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee for the next five years.  Even though I appeared on thousands of cases and was the examiner of hundreds of creditor meetings, I missed family law and client interaction, so here I am. 

In my free time, I love to spend time with my family, travel, watch sports, ride horses, play softball, scuba dive, work on art projects.  Anything else you'd like to know, just ask!



Law Offices of Kristen M. Gates
380 S. Melrose Drive
Suite 348
Vista, CA, 92081

Family lawyers nearby


5.0 / 5.0
  13 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by Grant | December 29, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Exceptional Legal Expertise and Compassionate Advocacy
As a client of Kristen's legal practice for 3 years, I had the profound experience of witnessing her exceptional legal expertise and unwavering dedication firsthand. Kristen was instrumental in successfully navigating my complex and emotional legal journey. If you're looking for a family law lawyer, look no further. Kristen checks all the boxes: Professionalism and Expertise: Kristen's in-depth knowledge of family law is evident in every aspect of her practice. She approaches each case with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring no stone is left unturned. Her ability to strategize and anticipate potential challenges is remarkable, providing a sense of security and confidence. Empathy and Compassion: What truly sets Kristen apart is her genuine empathy and compassion. She understands the emotional nuances of family law cases and provides support that goes beyond legal advice. Her reassuring presence and kind words have been a source of comfort in times of uncertainty. Advocacy and Determination: Kristen is a fierce advocate for her clients. She fought relentlessly to ensure that my daughter's best interests were at the forefront of every decision. Her determination and advocacy skills are exemplary, making her a formidable presence in any legal setting. Communication and Support: Throughout the process, Kristen maintained clear and consistent communication, keeping me informed and involved. Her ability to explain complex legal concepts in understandable terms was incredibly helpful. She was always available to address my concerns and offer guidance. Cost and Value: One of the most remarkable aspects of Kristen's practice is her commitment to providing exceptional legal services at a very reasonable cost. Her pricing structure is transparent and fair, making top-quality legal representation accessible. This aspect of her service is especially commendable, reflecting her dedication to justice and client well-being without imposing excessive financial burdens. Thanks to Kristen's efforts my family is happier than ever. The outcome of our case has had a life-changing impact, and I attribute this success largely to Kristen's legal prowess and dedication. I wholeheartedly recommend Kristen's legal services to anyone facing family law challenges. Her blend of professional excellence, empathetic approach, and unwavering commitment to her client's well-being sets her apart as an outstanding attorney.
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Posted by Weston | March 9, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
You won’t regret hiring Kristen
I can’t recommend Kristen enough. She is the perfect combination of empathetic and professionally assertive. She is knowledgeable, reliable and very communicative. My case (which we won) required a ton of work from Kristen...this was the toughest year of my life and words can’t explain how much Kristen has helped me and my family. I highly highly recommend her.
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Posted by Brooke | March 20, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Untouchable Attorney!!
So when it shows “practice areas” for which area of law Kristen practices, it should state 100% in each area. She puts 100% in every case and into every detail! Kristen is a 2nd generation attorney and actively utilizes that knowledge and experience to help her clients get what is in their family’s best interest. This woman is highly intelligent, uncommonly ethical, diligent and above all she practices with a huge heart-in Family Law that is essential! In my particular case I have gone through 3 prior attorney’s that had no ability to handle the horribly unethical (and when it comes down to it, completely bizarre) practices of my ex-husband’s attorney. (Hewitt vs Boyer out of the Vista Court if you’d like to access the public information on who he is represented by). Kristen came in cold to a high high high-conflict case TWO YEARS in the making. Totally under the radar she took my case by storm, totally shut down my ex’s attorney (oh how satisfying that has been to watch!) and skillfully gaines our judge’s respect and therefore, ear. Don’t mistake Kristen’s soft demeanor for a weakness, I’ve seen her in action and she is no joke in court!! Kristen continues to fight hard for my girls and I every day in this case and there is NO way we would have gotten this far without her! My daughters and I owe the well-being of our family to Kristen! If you need someone who will genuinely HEAR you, go above and beyond to gain the best outcome for your family, CALL KRISTEN!! She is not looking to “win” for her ego (unlike my ex’s attorney) but she fights hard for what’s best for your family! THANK YOU KRISTEN M GATES!!!
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Posted by anonymous | December 1, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Very passionate and professional about family law!!!
Ms. Gates represented me on a temporary restraining order she was prepared and passionate about my case She takes her job incredibly serious and understands how sensitive these situations can be that involve children. My parents showed up and both thought she was amazing. Ms. Gates is a straight shooter and gives you her honest opinion. She is also incredible in the courtroom I recommend her to anyone looking for an experienced honest family law attorney.
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Posted by Cristyn | June 22, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Service! Highly recommend!
Ms. Gates was incredibly helpful, knowledgeable and timely. Well versed in family law. My specific case was not highly involved but she still treated it with high priority. I would highly recommend her services to anyone with family law needs.
Posted by Richard | May 15, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Kristen Gates Knows Family Law!
Ms. Gates is an exceptional attorney. She has represented me for a number of years and her knowledge in Family Law has been very advantageous to me. Ms. Gates has always been able to answer all of my questions and has presented me with information in the subject matter that I didn't know to ask. She has also been very timely with her work and responding to me via email. I will most definitely keep her on retainer for any Family Law matters that I may encounter in the future. I Highly recommend Ms. Gates to represent you in court. I am confident she will get you the best outcome under the law!
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Posted by Ashley | March 17, 2017
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Very Helpful, Knowledgable & Caring!
I called this attorney for a consultation . She was very kind, knowledgeable and, most importantly understanding.. She provided me with excellent ideas and strategies that she would use in my case. She offered her services to me, as well as spent the time to understand little details in my complex case. Out of the attorneys I've used in the past, which has been more than 10, she was by far the one I've felt most comfortable with during consultation. I would highly recommend her, and will be using her in the future when needed!
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Posted by Rob Scott | March 3, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Competitive go-getter
Coming from someone who is going through my second divorce and custody dispute while using 5 lawyers. Kristen is amazing! She came very prepared and wasn't afraid to take any stance that she believed was right. Highly recommend!
Posted by anonymous | March 2, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Wow! Really took the time to understand my case!
Ms. Gates was extremely professional and took the time to understand my case which was very complex. She was always promptly returning emails with any questions I had which I found comforting with all I was going through. If you need an attorney with the answer she is it and she knows when to stand firm. A++++
Posted by Leonard | January 28, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The best money I could have ever spent. Priceless!!!!!!
I called Ms Gates and we talked. She seen me the next day and she made feel very comfortable with my child custody. I hired Gates 5 minutes after talking with her. I went from supervision visits with my 5 year old son to 50/50 joint legal Phisicle custody. Ms gates got what I wanted and personly kept in contact with me. Voice calls texts day or night and even on weekends. Through my years if legal issues with my children I've never ever been treated better and the advice was priceless!!!!!! She ROCKS!!!! Thank you Miss Gates
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Posted by Jennifer | January 19, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Professional*Results* Value*
Kristen was quick to respond. Flexible in her consultation times & won my case using her years of experience and professional reasoning. Great mediator and communicator! Highly recommended! Caring and compassionate.
Posted by Sheree | December 20, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent Representation
I have had the pleasure of working very closely with Ms. Gates for several years. Not only has she provided me with invaluable guidance in personal matters, but she has also assisted several of my clients with their legal matters. She is straight forward and honest and always has her clients' best interests at heart. I have the utmost confidence her abilities as a lawyer and highly recommend her services to others.
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Posted by Jessica | March 20, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Loved the service
Was very good at listening to my concerns and needs. She was very promt on getting things filed. Prices were very reasonable. I would recommend her to others who need help with family law.
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 7.9 (Very Good)

Work Experience

  • Owner
  • Law Offices of Kristen M. Gates
  • 2015 - Present
  • Staff Attorney
  • Office of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee
  • 2010 - 2015
  • Attorney
  • Gates Law Office
  • 2008 - 2010


  • San Joaquin College of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2008
  • San Joaquin College of Law
  • Paralegal Certification
  • 2005
  • California St Univ Fresno
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • 2003


  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2017 - Present
  • San Diego North County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2017 - Present
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • Member
  • 2017 - Present
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego
  • Member
  • 2017 - Present
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy
  • Trial Skills
  • 2009 - 2009
  • Central California Bankruptcy Association
  • Member
  • 2009 - 2016
  • Fresno County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2008 - 2018
  • Fresno County Young Lawyers Association
  • Member
  • 2008 - 2017
  • Fresno County Women Lawyers
  • Member
  • 2008 - 2017
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Speaking Engagements

  • Central California Bankruptcy Association Fundamentals Program
  • Key Ingredients for a Successful Consumer Case
  • 2013
  • Central California Bankruptcy Institute
  • What Consumer Attorneys Need to Know About Business Cases
  • 2011

Attorney endorsements

Received (7)
Given (3)
Endorse Kristen
Domestic violence Attorney | May 25
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"Kristen is a true professional. She was my opposing counsel in a couple cases, and I found her to be a zealous advocate for her client; well-prepared, well-organized, and solid arguments. This, and she was a pleasure to work with -- no small feat when litigating domestic violence cases. I have no doubt she is that same calm, cool, collected expert with her clients. I not only endorse this attorney, I actively refer clients to her. She is fantastic."
Family Attorney | Oct 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Kristen truly cares about her clients. She will go above and beyond for you. She understands what people are going through when they are dealing with Family Law issues and she will fight to get you what you are entitled to."
Family Attorney | Aug 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Kristen is straightforward and will not mislead you. She is an amazingly intelligent attorney who is quick witted and knowledgeable."
Unknown Attorney | Jan 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I have known and worked with Ms. Gates for many years and her passion for helping other shines through her work. She is honest and always has the client's best interest in mind."
Family Attorney | Dec 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Hard work and dedication. Miss Gates is a very good attorney."
Family Attorney | Mar 03
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Family Attorney | Jul 26
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer!"
View more endorsements