The Men’s Legal Center
San Diego Family Law Attorneys
The Men’s Legal Center is a law firm comprised of San Diego family law attorneys who understand that the foundation of this type of legal practice is the people. This includes the people on our team and the people we serve. Therefore, we would like to take this opportunity to allow you to get to know the attorneys who have served countless clients in regards to their family law needs.
Craig A. Candelore, CLS-F
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Mr. Candelore is the founding attorney at the Men’s Legal Center, and he has been providing legal help to clients who have needed assistance in the area of family law for close to 30 years. Mr. Candelore earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree from West Point before earning a Master’s degree in System Management from the University of Southern California. Mr. Candelore earned his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, where he graduated Cum Laude.
Mr. Candelore is a Certified Family Law Specialist and a professional mediator trained by National Conflict Resolution Center, San Diego.
Mr. Candelore served in the military, both active and reserves, ultimately earning the rank of Colonel from the United States Army. Mr. Candelore deployed on active duty overseas during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Some of his duty assignments included working as a Regional Senior Law Enforcement and Anti-Terrorist Officer, stateside during and after 9-11; and Iraqi Police Development Project Officer, in Iraq. Mr. Candelore also has served as a translator at the United Nations and enjoys writing books in his spare time.
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Gerald W. Hokstad, CLS-F
Mr. Hokstad has extensive family law and civil experience. He believes that his practice of law should be in pursuit of the truth so that his clients will have a clear conscious in all that they do in the California legal system. When possible Mr. Hokstad advocates mediation. People do have legitimate disagreements and both parties can have very valid reasons for their contentions and claims. The goal of mediation is to facilitate a meeting of the minds resulting in an agreement based on biblical principles and the rule of law.
Mr. Hokstad has been married to his wife for 38 years and they have two adult sons. He likes to relax on the weekends by going fishing. He is an avid world-class fisherman. Mr. Hokstad attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA for his BS, Bethel Theological Seminary for his MA and he received his Juris Doctorate from Western State University.
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Mr. Merker, who prefers to be called Steve, grew up in Chicago. He graduated from Southern Illinois University Law School in 1981. Steve has enjoyed the last 35 years practicing law in San Diego. Steve began his career as a solo practitioner with a general practice in civil, criminal, and family law. In 1993, he decided to limit his practice to Family Law and in 1996, he established Merker and McDonald. Before joining Men’s Legal Center in 2016, Mr. Merker also served as a Temporary Judge for the Superior Court, as a Settlement Judge since 2007. He is on the San Diego Family Law Bar Association Alternate Dispute Resolution list for Family Law mediation.
Mr. Merker has been married to his wife, a special education teacher, for almost 18 years. He has two adult children from his first marriage, 5 adult step-children, and 5 grandchildren. Steve spends his free time enjoying the sunny Southern California weather relaxing with family and friends, playing on the beach, and golfing.
Mr. Merker has personally been involved in child custody litigation. He believes in helping parties resolve their matter amicably, reminding the parties to focus on what is in the child’s best interest. If necessary, he can become an aggressive and fiery litigator. Mr. Merker also handles misdemeanor and felony criminal matters.
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Mr. Batara is a native San Diegan. He was raised in Chula Vista and La Mesa and has a passion to help serve his local community. Mr. Batara graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where he interned with the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office and volunteered with the Legal Aid of San Diego’s Unlawful Detainer clinic.
Mr. Batara believes that everyone should have access to the justice system and that all voices should be heard. Mr. Batara’s upbringing and background have given him the desire to help those in need of family law help. He understands firsthand the problems and the toll divorce and custody issues can have on children, for this reason, has dedicated his career to helping families find solutions.
Mr. Batara has a young daughter and is engaged to be married. He is fluent in Spanish, is an avid sports fan, loves the San Diego Padres and Chargers, and enjoys spending quality time with his family.
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Attorney Scott Neinas has been a licensed attorney representing clients in family law matters since 2009.
He graduated from Eastern Michigan University where he majored in Journalism and minored in English Literature.
He worked as an investigative journalist reporter for several years before attending the University of Toledo College of Law.
At University of Toledo College of Law he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was a Law Review editor as well as a member of the Order of the Coif.
While attending law school he served as the intern for U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara.
After graduating law school, Scott went into solo practice outside of Detroit, Michigan, handling family law matters, criminal defense, bankruptcy and other civil litigation before moving to San Diego in 2014.
Because of these areas of practice, he understands the intersection of these areas of practice with family law such as domestic violence defense, Marvin-Marvin claims and bankruptcy.
In the broad family law arena, he was appointed Guardian Ad-Litem for children in the Juvenile court system.
Since moving to California in 2014, his focus has been primarily representing clients in family law.
Attorney Neinas has been admitted to practice law in California, Michigan and Ohio as well as the U.S. Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and the Southern California.
Scott believes in giving back to the community.
Past public service includes being appointed to the Citizens of Monroe Planning Commission and being a past president of the Monroe Kiwanis Chapter in Monroe, Michigan.
He is currently a member of the Oceanside Pacific Kiwanis Club.
Attorney Neinas resides in Oceanside. His hobbies include playing ice hockey, pickleball and body surfing.
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Marco Torres has been helping clients as a licensed attorney for over 16 years. Mr. Torres brings a varied skill set to the practice of family law, namely vast expertise in business valuations, taxes, bankruptcy, real estate, and fluency in Spanish. Marco earned his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He then worked in the financial sector while living in San Francisco before earning his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
After law school, Marco gained vast tax experience as an associate with the San Francisco office of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) where he worked closely with partners and clients to address the myriad of tax issues faced by hedge funds, RIC’s (Mutual Funds), REITS and investment partnerships. After PwC, Marco worked six years as in-house counsel for real estate firms specializing in 1031 exchanges. This provides him specialized insight on how to handle real estate within a divorce context. Marco moved on from 1031 exchanges in 2007 and spent 10 years as a solo general practitioner focusing on family law, bankruptcy, civil litigation, and real estate law before joining the Men’s Legal Center. His bankruptcy expertise provides him with the unique ability to assist clients who want a “fresh start” after divorce.
Marco is also a veteran who speaks fondly of military service in the United States Army, both active and reserves, and in the California Army National Guard. Marco was trained as a satellite equipment repair signal corpsman. Mr. Torres deployed during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.
Marco is married and has one son in elementary school. In his free time, he likes to spend time relaxing with his family. His passion is grilling or smoking anything he can find – brisket, ribs, chicken, turkey, cheeses, almonds, and all other types of foods. He reads and writes fluent Spanish. Marco is a California native who appreciates San Diego for its beaches and sunshine.
The San Diego family law attorneys at the Men’s Legal Center help clients with all types of legal matters that relate to family law, including:
- Child Custody and Visitation
- Supervised Visitation issues
- Interstate Child Jurisdiction issues
- International Abduction to include Hague Convention
- Child and Spousal Support, Initial and Modification
- Assessment of Income (unemployed/under-employed) and Vocational Evaluations
- Complex Asset and Debt Valuation and Division
- Business Valuations
- Real Property Issues
- Separate Property Tracing
- Pension Valuation
- Military Divorce Specific Issues to include Jurisdiction, Pay, Retirement
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Presentation in Department of Child Support Services (DCSS)
- Property Division
- DCSS Representation
- Complex Marital Litigation
- Domestic Violence
- Estate Planning
- Wills & Trusts
How San Diego Family Law Attorneys Can Help
If you are facing the prospect of ending a marriage or any other family law-related issue, you need to seek the help of the San Diego family law attorneys at the Men’s Legal Center as soon as possible. Contact the firm now to schedule an initial consultation so that you can be sure that your rights are being protected.