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Gordon Dale Cruse

Divorce and separation Attorney at San Diego, CA

4.3   11 reviews
  • Licensed for 40 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1983
    Active No misconduct found

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

About Gordon

Learn Gordon’s areas of practice.

Practice area
  1. Divorce and separation
    Complex dissolution of marriage and legal separation matters, child custody matters, support matters, property division issues, pension, business, asset valuation and division issues. Divorce Mediation.

    40 years, 1,500 cases


I am in my 36th year of practice. I work in Family Law, divorce matters, and electronic discovery matters. I serve as litigation counsel (traditional lawyers role), as a mediator of Family Law and divorce matters, and as a privately compensated temporary judge where I am the judicial officer making the decisions in the case. I am an expert in e-discovery and serve as a consultant in cases involving electronic discovery.


I am a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Family Lawyers. I am listed in Best Lawyers in America in both Family Law and Family Law Mediation. I am the 2015 Family Law Lawyer of the Year for San Diego County as named by Best Lawyers in America and the 2017 Family Law Mediator of the Year for San Diego County. I have a Super Lawyers designation. I am a Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law. My certification comes from the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. I am listed in the Register of Preeminent Lawyers and my Martindale Hubbell rating is AV, their highest rating. I was made a Diplomate in the American College of Family Trial Lawyers in 2017.


My office staff consists of one associate attorney, a paralegal and a file clerk.




AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating
Top Contributor 2012
Top Contributor

Photos and videos

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Gordon D. Cruse, APLC
402 W Broadway
Suite 900
San Diego, CA, 92101-8508


4.3 / 5.0
  11 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by Mark | August 10, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Top Notch Divorce Attorney
Gordon Cruse is an exceptional attorney that has skillfully represented me throughout an 18 month problematic divorce proceeding. His fair and compassionate approach, combined with an unmatched knowledge of the law, makes him without peer. He is, hands down, the best in the business.
Posted by cdpatten07 | February 5, 2015
Spousal support modification
I most strongly recommend Gordon Cruse. His counsel, support, and responsiveness were superb and very effective. Support from his office staff was excellent. I filed a change of circumstances when I found myself unemployed, and Mr. Cruse was able to negotiate a settlement thoroughly to my satisfaction, without the need and expense of a court hearing. I couldn't be happier with his representation!
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Posted by Linda | September 27, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Peace of Mind
Separation and divorce can be ugly, draining, sad and exhausting. Gordon made me see light at the end of the tunnel! Trips to his office were the highlight of one of the worst stages of my life.. professional, yet empathetic; Gordon actually made me see some humor in what could have easily been considered a nightmare! I recommend him highly!
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Posted by anonymous | August 13, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
You will not find a better representative for your case.
I have hired Mr. Cruse for six months now and he has proven invaluable. He came highly recommended and I now understand why. He is at the point of the knowledge and experience ladder. His building, or the one acccross the street has plenty of parking. i am very satisfied with the personal attention and results. My money and time are respected by his firm.
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Posted by Craig | February 26, 2014
Spousal Support Modification
I engaged the services of Gordon Cruse to file a motion to reduce or eliminate spousal support based on my being laid off from my job, and now having no wage income. Gordon did a great job explaining my options, outlining the path and process, indicating possible fees, and making a recommendation I agreed with. He is helpful, very knowledgeable, responsive, and easy to work with. As this motion is just being filed, I will submit another review after a determination is made by the courts.
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Posted by anonymous | February 22, 2014
Assertive No-nonsense Confident
Gordon and his staff are top notch. I have had a very stressful and LONG custody problem and Gordon is FINALLY going to get some resolution for me. He can deal with difficult people and cases and is open to all roads to reconciliation. He it tough when he needs to be and does not get into any drama. I know that when this ends, I will be in a much better place.
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Posted by Michael | February 16, 2014
Michael V.
As a lawyer myself I can say unequivocally that Gordon is a lawyer's lawyer. He helped skillfully navigate me through easily the most difficult time in my life while always maintaining a personal touch and helping me to stay focused on a realistic end goal. Gordon's knowledge in the area of family law is unmatched and he's precisely the person you want guiding you through that area of the law. I actually learned a great deal about interacting with clients while serving as one of Gordon's clients and employ a lot of those skills in my practice now. I regularly refer others to Gordon and always with the very highest personal recommendation.
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Posted by Robert | February 14, 2014
I was referred to Gordon by a fellow lawyer to handle my divorce. i interviewed a number of excellent attorneys before i chose Gordon. My full expectations were met. His brilliance in strategy, his knowledge of the law and his never-wavering care for my well being throughout the painful divorce process allowed to me to always maintain my confidence in achieving the results i had hoped for.
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Posted by anonymous | April 21, 2010
I recommend Gordon Cruse wholeheartedly and without reservation for all divorce and child custody issues!
Mr. Cruse has represented me in a high conflict divorce for the past several years. Throughout this time, he has not only represented me and my concerns both to the Court and with opposing counsel with skill, intelligent strategy, compassion, professionalism and foresight, but he has been consistently responsive to my needs and concerns as a client during a series of difficult and litigatively challenging proceedings. Throughout the process, Mr. Cruse treated my case with particular attention to detail, bringing with him an in-depth knowledge of the law, years of practical experience and an ability to work effectively with other parties to move my matter forward smoothly. Mr. Cruse was a pleasure to work with during an otherwise stressful situation and he conveyed a sense of confidence and calm that helped me approach my own circumstances with more ease and composure than would have otherwise been possible. In addition to his own exceptional direct representation of my matter, Mr. Cruse's office staff has also provided professional, friendly and experienced guidance, extending a broad range of administrative and organizational services to me in preparing documents and declarations as needed by Mr. Cruse and the Court. Mr. Cruse and his staff have been a pleasure to work with and have provided superb legal service. I would recommend Mr. Cruse without reservation to anyone seeking divorce representation that will conducted with personal integrity, legal intelligence and personal kindness.
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Posted by anonymous | February 9, 2014
DO NOT HIRE HIM! I normally do not write reviews about people, but I have to warn everyone out there. The person below my review said it word for word. He does not care about you or your case what so ever. He bills, bills, bills for EVERYTHING. You would expect him to be professional at his prices, but he is extremely rude. He dragged my case out for years and took thousands upon thousands. Im in the middle of my divorce and have to hire another attorney. Divorce is a stressful period and should be handled by someone who isn't going to insult you and take ridiculous amounts of money.
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Posted by anonymous | March 11, 2013
TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE. I'm a professional and I feel completely insulted by how I was treated and financially taken advantage of
This attorney took thousands of dollars of money by dragging out an issue (not involving any other attorneys or individuals) simply to do a calculation that would have taken 30 minutes at most to complete. He simply kept billing me for more time every time I would email or call to find out if he had an answer to an uncomplicated question. I find it offensive that there are individuals like this practicing. It is incredibly unfortunate as it felt more of an assault than the actual divorce. Such a shame as Mr Cruse is a very smart man. I don't know... maybe his practice is struggling and he knew I had $ so he dragged this out. Nonetheless, he lost my respect completely and I have been sure to tell multiple members in the community about this incredibly bad experience. Even if you have money to burn, don't use this attorney.
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  • Hourly Rates $ 525-525 per hour
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 9.2 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • Gordon D. Cruse, APLC
  • 1984 - Present


  • Western State Univ
  • Juris Doctor
  • 1982
  • University of California, San Diego
  • undergraduate
  • 1978

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Marriage of Burtzloff
  • Estate divided child custody to my client.
  • Marriage of Zlotnick
  • Child Custody order for my client


  • International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • 2006 - Present
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • 2002 - Present

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Norby Award
  • San Diego Family Court Judges
  • 1998


  • California State Bar Family Law News
  • Technology in the Law Office, the Battleground of Efficiency vs Ethics
  • 2014

Speaking Engagements

  • CLE Firm Update
  • E-discovery, The Basics
  • 2015
  • Baltimore Chapter of the AAML
  • E-Discovery & Ethics
  • 2015
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • Technology Tips for Lawyers
  • 2015
  • UCSD Extension Program
  • Technology & Ethics in the Law Office
  • 2014
  • Oregon Family Law Conference
  • E-Discovery in Family Law
  • 2014
  • For Your Eyes Only
  • Technology and Ethics
  • 2014
  • ASU/Arkfeld Advanced E-Discovery Institute
  • E-Discovery In the Small Law Firm
  • 2014
  • Kansas Annual Family Law Institute
  • ESI & E-Discovery In Family Law
  • 2013
  • ASU/Arkfeld E-Discovery Institute
  • E-Discovery in Family Law
  • 2013
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • E-Discovery & Ethics
  • 2013
  • Advanced Family Law Institute
  • E-Discovery In Family Law
  • 2013
  • Family Law College of Trial Advocacy
  • ESI at Trial
  • 2012
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Electronic Discovery in Family Law
  • 2012
  • AICPA 2007 Educational Institute
  • Family Law Workshop for Accountants
  • 2007
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (20)
Given (24)
Endorse Gordon
Divorce and separation Attorney | Nov 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Feb 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Gordon is a top-notch attorney, who can serve as a tough litigator, as well as a great mediator."
Family Attorney | Nov 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Sep 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"This is the best family lawyer in San Diego. Superb litigator if needed. His focus is settlement and minimizing needless cost. Completely trustworthy in every aspect of his practice."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Jan 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Oct 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. He is one of the premier Family Law attorneys in San Diego County."
Family Attorney | Sep 19
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Gordon is one the most highly respected lawyers in the San Diego legal community."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Apr 06
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Attorney Cruse provides thoughtful, educated and experienced answers to the questions provided herein. Attorney Cruse provides a needed service by providing voluntary and free legal assistance to the individuals herein who are in need of immediate legal answers."
Family Attorney | Feb 27
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Gordon Cruse is one of San Diego's most respected lawyers in family law. I have observed his work in a number of situations and I find him to be among the best. He knows the law cold and he knows how to apply the law to a factual situation to the client's advantage. He is articulate and respected in the Courts. He makes a powerful presentation for his clients. I endorse him wholeheartedly."
Family Attorney | Sep 06
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I have known Gordon for many years and have worked with him on cases. Not only is he an excellent attorney but he is always gracious and professional."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Jun 19
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Divorce and separation Attorney | May 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I first met Gordon when I was in law school, while working for another family law attorney. I came to know Gordon, as an extremely passionate and well versed family law attorney. His clients were well protected under his representation."
Family Attorney | Feb 22
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"It is my privilege to unequivocally endorse Gordon Cruse as one of the premier family law attorneys in Southern California. I have known Mr. Cruse for more than twenty years, and in that time, he has been opposing counsel, as well as settlement conference judge and privately retained judicial officer in a variety of complex family law cases. Mr. Cruse demonstrates the highest qualities (professionally, personally and ethically) possessed by a lawyer, and far exceeds the standards imposed by the State Bar as well as the lions share of colleagues in our community. Fair, effective and exceedingly bright, Mr. Cruse is a capable and formidable adversary who typically finds a way to bridge the majority of what appear to be insurmountable obstacles with class and style. He has been unfailing kind and generous with his time whenever I have asked for advice, opinion or direction on any case that did not concern his firm. Mr. Cruse's excellent reputation with bench and bar is well deserved."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Mar 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Family Attorney | Feb 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Family Attorney | Jul 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Family Attorney | Jun 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Gordon mentored me as a new attorney 17 years ago. I remain grateful for his generosity and expertise. I consider Gordon to be an expert, and one whom I would still consult on extraordinarily complex issues. I endorse this lawyer."
Divorce and separation Attorney | May 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
Family Attorney | May 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"If you are looking for a family law attorney who is bright, efficient, fair, respected by all of our judges here in San Diego, and who will work tirelessly to settle your case out of court, while at the same time be capable of litigating your case aggressively if necessary, then attorney Gordon Cruse is an attorney you should definitely consider to represent you."
Family Attorney | Mar 25
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
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