At JAG, we offer exceptional customer service and a comprehensive, tailored approach to complex family law matters, including dedicated and competent representation through all phases of the marital dissolution process, post-judgment modifications, and contested custody and visitation matters.
Melissa has committed her legal career to supporting clients in complex family law matters. She is experienced in counseling clients through every stage of the marital dissolution process, including mediation, pre-trial litigation, settlement, evidentiary hearings and long-cause trials. Melissa also works closely with clients in post-judgment matters, including enforcement and modifications.
Melissa is passionate about family law and is dedicated to finding solutions that best protect her clients’ interests. She understands the strain that litigation can place upon families and is committed to reducing the emotional impact of these cases on clients and their children. Melissa strikes a balance between zealous advocacy and empathetic, no-nonsense representation. She is experienced in complex, high net-worth dissolution matters including property division, working collaboratively with financial experts and vocational evaluators to negotiate and craft settlement agreements that keep parties out of the courtroom if possible.
Melissa has handled family cases in 11 different California counties. She began her career in the San Francisco Bay Area before returning to her native Orange County. While representing clients in Silicon Valley, Melissa worked with business owners, start-up founders, CEOs, venture capitalists, software engineers, attorneys, military personnel, and stay-at-home parents. Melissa handles high-asset cases involving property characterization, stock option and restricted stock unit apportionment, business valuation, real estate, and other nuanced financial issues. She has experience with determination of child and spousal support. Melissa has also handled a variety of child custody and visitation matters, including contested “move-away” cases in various counties.
Melissa has successfully obtained and defended against domestic violence restraining orders for her clients. Like all family law matters, Melissa handles these cases with the utmost respect and discretion.
Melissa’s practice is limited to Orange County, where is a member of the Orange County Bar Association. She was named a SuperLawyers Rising Star in 2019, 2020, and 2021, an award conferred upon the top 2.5% of up-and-coming attorneys in California following nominations, independent research, and peer evaluation.
Melissa is also a Founding Member of the American Academy for Certified Financial Litigators (AACFL), an organization dedicated to divorce financial education. A Founding Member is an individual who has been recognized by the AACFL as a leader in AACFL's mission of enhancing the family law community through advanced financial education. These individuals have been carefully selected by local Advisory Board members due to their exemplary reputation, integrity and dedication to being leaders in the education of the financial aspects of divorce.
Melissa received her Juris Doctorate degree from Santa Clara University School of Law, where she founded the Family Law Society and served as President of the organization. She was a Board Member and Oralist for the Honors Moot Court External program. Melissa also externed for Associate Justice Mihara with the Sixth District Court of Appeal and for the Honorable Judge Duong with the Santa Clara County Family Law Division.
Melissa received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Rhetoric from University of California at Berkeley. During her time at Berkeley, Melissa competed with the NCAA Division I Women's Water Polo Team.
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Recognition for Professional Involvement||Lawyer Legion||2020|
|Senior Managing Family Law Attorney||Johnson Attorneys Group||2019 - Present|
|Associate Attorney||Farzad & Ochoa Family Law Attorneys, LLP||2019 - 2019|
|Litigation Attorney||Cordell & Cordell||2017 - 2019|
|Associate Attorney||Van Voorhis & Sosna, LLP||2016 - 2017|
|Associate Attorney||Lakin Spears LLP||2014 - 2016|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|American Academy of Certified Financial Litigators (AACFL)||Associate Member||2021 - Present|
|California Lawyers Association||Member||2020 - Present|
|California Lawyers Association, Family Law Section||Member||2020 - Present|
|American Bar Association||Member||2020 - Present|
|American Bar Association, Family Law Section||Member||2020 - Present|
|Orange County Women Lawyers Association||Member||2020 - Present|
|California Lawyers Association - Racial Justice Working Group||Member||2020 - Present|
|American Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section||Member||2020 - Present|
|Southern California Mediation Association||Member||2020 - Present|
|Orange County Bar Association||Member||2019 - Present|
|Orange County Bar Association, Family Law Section||Member||2019 - Present|
|State Bar of California, Family Law Section||Member||2014 - Present|
|San Mateo County Bar Association||Member||2015 - 2019|
|San Francisco County Bar Association||Member||2015 - 2018|
|Santa Clara County Bar Association||Member||2013 - 2015|
|SCU Family Law Society||President||2013 - 2014|
|Family Law News (California State Bar Family Law Section)||Pandemic Provisions – Do Force Majeure Clauses Have a Place in Custody and Visitation Agreements?||2020|
|Santa Clara Univ SOL||JD - Juris Doctor||2014|
|Univ of California Berkeley||BA - Bachelor of Arts||2008|
|SCU Family Law Society & EQ | SCU Joint Meeting||Family Law & LGBTQ+ Crossover Issues||2018|
|Office of Academic & Bar Success||Preparing for the California Bar Exam||2016|
|SCU Family Law Society Panel Discussion||What to Expect as a New Family Law Associate||2015|
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