General Information

Year founded: 1982
This is the year the firm (or its earliest predecessor entity) was founded.
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Overview

Content is provided by the firm.

Walzer Melcher & Yoda LLP is one of the most respected family law firms in California. We have a national reputation for providing the highest level of service to our clients. Peter M. Walzer and Christopher C. Melcher have each served as Chair of The State Bar of California Family Law Section (FlexCom), which currently has over 3,800 members, making it the largest family law organization in California. Mr. Walzer and Mr. Melcher are also Fellows of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), an organization of the top divorce attorneys in the country. Mr. Walzer and Mr. Melcher have published over 100 articles and books, and have presented over 200 seminars to other family lawyers across the country, on California divorce law and premarital agreement practice.

Walzer Melcher & Yoda LLP has handled some of the largest divorce cases and premarital agreements in California. We have represented extremely wealthy individuals, such as business owners, celebrities, and executives. Through years of experience handling these types of cases, we understand how to protect businesses and other property holdings in a divorce. We also have in depth knowledge of tax laws relating to divorce. We are committed to resolving divorce cases by settlement. When that cannot be achieved, we provide strong and effective representation at trial. The firm is a nine lawyer team, all of whom are dedicated to the practice of California family law. We bring in additional attorneys as independent contractors when needed for specialized knowledge in areas such as the division of retirement plans or industry-specific issues.

We are a Los Angeles based law firm located in Woodland Hills, California. We appear in Los Angeles Superior Court and Ventura Superior Court for litigated divorce cases at the trial court level. If your matter is pending in another California trial court, we will be happy to give you a referral to a local attorney. We handle family law appeals and writs in all of the Courts of Appeal in California. We prepare premarital agreements under California law for clients all over the world. For instance, we assist non-California residents prepare a premarital agreement if the parties plan to live in California during marriage.

We use the best practices in the legal industry to handle your matter efficiently and maintain your confidential information. We have quietly represented high-profile clients in divorce and premarital agreements in Los Angeles by using techniques to avoid media attention.

Firm News

Rankings

Walzer Melcher & Yoda LLP is metro ranked in 2 practice areas. Best Law Firms rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process.

Read how Best Law Firms ranks firms

Metro Rankings

Los Angeles
Tier 1 for Family Law
Tier 3 for Appellate Practice

Rankings

Regional Rankings

Los Angeles
Tier 1 for Family Law
Tier 3 for Appellate Practice

Practice Areas

The below are areas of legal specialty volunteered by the firm and do not designate a specialty in which a Best Law Firms ranking is held.
  • Family Law

Individuals Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America®

Walzer Melcher & Yoda LLP has 3 lawyers recognized for individual performance in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. By receiving this Best Lawyers recognition from their peers for their professional excellence, these lawyers made Walzer Melcher & Yoda LLP eligible for evaluation for Best Law Firms rankings. For almost two decades, Best Lawyers has awarded these singular accolades, making them the foundation of our Best Law Firms awards. Read more about our Best Lawyers process here.
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Demographics

Partners
Male: 3
Female: 2
Asian: 1
White / Caucasian: 4
Associates
Male: 1
Female: 2
Asian: 1
Hispanic / Latinx: 1
White / Caucasian: 1
Attorney Management / Department Heads
Female: 1
White / Caucasian: 1
Paralegals
Male: 1
Female: 3
Hispanic / Latinx: 1
White / Caucasian: 3
Non-Legal Employees
Male: 1
Female: 2
Asian: 1
Multi-Racial: 2

Awards

Awards are self-reported by firms and are not verified by the Best Law Firms rankings.
  • Chambers and Partners 2018-2022 High Net Worth Leading Firm

Main Location

Contacts

Legal Marketing Director
Gabrielle Hudspeth

Significant Matters

Below are matters chosen by the firm to highlight.
  • Y.R. v. A.F. (2016), 2nd District: Christopher C. Melcher and Steven K. Yoda appealed a child support order involving a famous film director who made over 300,000 dollars per month in income but was only ordered to pay 8,500 dollars in child support. We convinced the Court of Appeal that the trial court made an error in awarding such a low amount of support and had the case sent back for a new hearing.
  • Marriage of Chapman (2016): Steven K. Yoda and Christopher C. Melcher appealed an order requiring a United States service member to pay part of his combat related service pay to his former wife as a division of community property. We convinced the Court of Appeal that the trial court lacked authority to divide that benefit under federal law.
  • Marriage of Moman (2015), 3rd District, pending: Christopher C. Melcher is amicus curiae in this appeal, which raises the issue (1) whether the trial court has statutory authority to strike a timely responsive pleading of a party and enter that party’s default in a family law action for failure to comply with the disclosure requirements of the Family Code , and (2) whether the trial court possesses the inherent authority to impose such a sanction in the absence of express statutory authority.
  • Marriage of Valli (2014) 58 Cal.4th 1396: Christopher C. Melcher and Peter M. Walzer were co-appellate counsel with Garrett C. Dailey on this successful appeal to the California Supreme Court. Chris was the lead trial counsel for Frankie Valli in the underlying divorce action. One of the issues at phase three of the trial was the character, division, and valuation of a life insurance policy Frankie purchased during marriage on his life with community funds. Randy Valli was named the owner of the policy for income tax purposes and argued that the policy was her separate property because it was titled in her name. Frankie countered that the policy was bought during marriage with community property, so it is community property. The trial court agreed with Husband and awarded the policy to Husband as community property. Randy appealed and convinced the Court of Appeal that the policy was her separate property because it was titled in her name. Frankie petitioned for review and the California Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court properly characterized the policy as community property.
  • Lappe v. Superior Court (2014) 232 Cal.App.4th 774: Christopher C. Melcher served as co-appellate counsel with James M. Donovan, Michael Glenn, Anthony D. Storm in opposing a writ petition filed by Wife regarding mediation confidentiality. Husband and Wife settled the marital dispute in mediation. They prepared and exchanged the required financial disclosures in mediation. Wife later moved to set aside the settlement agreement, claiming lack of disclosure and other grounds. Wife demanded that Husband produce a copy of the disclosures that were prepared in mediation. Husband objected because any documents prepared in the course of mediation are confidential and are not subject to discovery. The trial court agreed with Husband’s position, but the Court of Appeal reversed.
  • Marriage of Kaiman (2015), 2nd District, unpublished: Christopher C. Melcher, Leena S. Hingnikar, and Scott M. Klopert were appellant counsel for Husband. Wife appealed a ruling against her on a breach of fiduciary duty claim. Husband moved to dismiss the appeal because the order she appealed from was not appealable. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.
  • Marriage of Aitchison (2014), 1st District, unpublished: Christopher C. Melcher and Anthony D. Storm were substituted in as appellant counsel for Husband to file a reply brief on his cross-appeal. The case involved the validity of a premarital agreement, which the trial court ruled was invalid. The major issue was whether an award of attorney’s fees to Wife was sufficient. The Court of Appeal affirmed the orders.
  • Marriage of Carlson (2014), 1st District, unpublished: Christopher C. Melcher and Anthony D. Storm were appellate counsel for Husband in opposing Wife’s appeal of an order that her trust income should be counted for purposes of making a support order against her. Wife dismissed eventually her appeal.
  • Marriage of Martin (2014), 1st District, unpublished: Christopher C. Melcher and Shannon Stein were appellate counsel for Husband in opposition to Wife’s appeal of an order allowing withdrawal of funds from a 401k account. Husband filed a motion to dismiss the appeal, and Wife agreed to dismiss the appeal.
  • Maurizio R. v. L.C. (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 616: Christopher C. Melcher and Jennifer M. Riemer were the appellate counsel for Maurizo R., who sought the return of his son who had been kidnapped from Italy by the child’s mother. The trial court denied Maurizio’s application to return the child under The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, finding that there would be a grave risk of harm to the child if returned to Italy. The Court of Appeal disagreed and held that the trial court was required to order the child’s immediate return to Italy, for custody proceedings in that country
  • Blair v. Blair (2011), 2nd District, unpublished: Christopher C. Melcher and Jennifer M. Riemer were appellant counsel for Wife in opposing Husband’s appeal. Husband claimed that the trial court erred when it issued evidentiary sanctions against him for his attorney’s negligent failure to file a witness list and exhibit list for trial, as required by local court rules in effect at that time. The Court of Appeal held that Husband failed to show any prejudice and affirmed the decision.
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