Handling family law cases is much like managing a bundle of sticks; there are many varying and competing rights, duties and obligations for all involved, including those of the client, the other party, and any subject children.

There are several phases to family law cases, all of which are very significant; frequently building from one stage to another, and each requiring wisdom in projecting favorably the client’s long-term goals.    

It is the goal of the law office of Dret A. McHatton to accompany the clients through their unique legal process, whether by negotiation or litigation, seeking ultimately, and with zeal, a fair and appropriate resolution for the client.    


Experienced Family Law Representation

In dealing with all aspects of family law, it is important to have a competent and knowledgeable attorney by your side every step of the way. Dret A. McHatton, and his legal team, is experienced and ready to work with you from start to finish. We will get you acknowledged by the court, and ultimately secure the results you want and deserve. We represent our clients assertively in all aspects of family law; including Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation, Annulment, Parentage, Child Custody, Support, Restraining Orders, Adoption, Guardianship, Name Changes, and more. You can trust us for the guidance and information you need to help make the right decisions for you during this very difficult time.

Domestic Breakdown: Your Options

Coping with the breakdown of your marriage or non-marital relationship poses a very difficult and emotional challenge for anyone. It’s a tough time for all involved, and it touches everyone in your life, especially your children. Adding the task of deciphering legal jargon, complex concepts, and technical procedures to your already full-plate is, without a doubt, daunting if not completely overwhelming. Our team is committed to providing our clients with the counsel, guidance and experience to address the legal issues, whether by negotiation or litigation, that will free you to focus more on planning for your and your children’s successful future.

With private consultations and reasonably priced representation, we ensure you get the information you need to usher in the next phase of your family's future.


Safeguarding Children: Making Adoptions and GUARDIANSHIPs Happen

Honest, affordable and aggressive representation is what Dret A. McHatton provides his clients. This includes when it comes to placing children in the care of others (i.e., you). Guardianships and adoptions are two completely different types of cases which are guided by completely different sets of laws, both of which ultimately look to furthering the best interests of children.

Adoptions are permanent, creating in the adopting parent(s) all of the parental rights and obligations as the child’s parents. In adoptions, the birth parents’ rights are permanently severed, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Guardianships are in place to protect minor children for so long as necessary when the child’s parents are not in a place where they can adequately care for their child.


Adoption is a great way to make a difference in a child's life by giving him or her a permanent home and loving parent(s). Although we do not get involved with locating and matching children to prospective adopting parents, we work tirelessly with those prospective parents who have already associated with a child and are looking to secure their rights as a parent or parents.

We know that everyone has their reasons to seek adoption of a child, whether it's to extend their family or simply help a child in need. In all cases adoption is a significant and life-changing event for both the prospective parent(s) and the child. The legal aspects of adoption are tricky and technical. Our experienced team is prepared for the unexpected. Whether contested or uncontested, family placement or unrelated, we are prepared to stand firmly by your side and see you through the process. If you are ready, don’t hesitate to contact our office to get the process started.  


Becoming a legal guardian to a child is very rewarding. It is not a simple process and can prove very emotional for all involved, but rest assured stepping up for a child in need is worth it every time. Dret A. McHatton will guide you through every phase of the guardianship process; from establishing a guardian, to termination proceedings, and everything in between, including establishing, modifying and enforcing visitation orders. Our team is committed to helping you get the absolute best result possible.

Considering Guardianship

If you are considering becoming a legal guardian for a child, make sure you have the right attorney to consult with throughout the process. The Probate court is empowered with approving petitions for guardianship when one or both parents are unable to care for their child. The court will then evaluate you and your home to determine whether you are a suitable guardian for the child or children. The guardian must always act in the best interest of the children, and must make a report to the court on an annual basis.


Emergency/Interim Orders

When warranted due to Domestic Violence, Civil Harassment, child safety, or other pressing concerns, temporary and/or interim orders are frequently issued by the court. This area is ripe for legal gamesmanship. Dret A. McHatton is skilled at pursuing temporary emergency and/or interim orders, and is adept at spotting when such orders may be being abused.


Financial Orders

Our team is knowledgeable and experienced with all aspects of financial orders. Whether establishing, modifying, terminating, or enforcing a child and/or spousal support order, or securing an attorney fee order from another party, do not hesitate to seek the advice of Dret A. McHatton before setting out on your own. (Our team frequently collaborates with California Department of Child Support Services)


Personalized Professional Representation

You can trust our team for the personalized attention and professional representation to ensure you and your children maintain the sense of family and emotional bonds even thorough the transition in the family structure.