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Practice Area Overview

Fairfield Lawyers
Your Goals and Our Expertise.
You will benefit from our team approach, whatever your legal need. If your problem falls outside our areas of expertise, we can refer you to experienced counsel in that field of law. If we are not the best firm to address your particular legal problem, we will help you find the attorney or firm that is.
Call us at (707) 422-7300 to schedule your consultation. Click on the links below to learn more about the many areas we can help you in any of these legal matters:
If you have a Family Law matter, things are stressful enough. You need an attorney who will make it better. When emotions are running high, we will help you keep a cool head and look for the most effective solution. We have seen too many families emotionally and financially devastated in Family Court. Our goal is to avoid that whenever possible. Whether your case is just starting or is already underway, we can help.
More and more cases involve parties who now live in other states or parts of California. This creates added complexities in a case. We have extensive experience in dealing with out of state and out-of-area clients.
You may also need help if you are representing yourself in Family Court. We understand not everyone can afford an attorney. We have low-cost ways for you to hire an attorney to help you with only certain aspects of your case. Call and ask for an “Affordable Options” consultation with one of our experienced Family Law attorneys.
Our Experience and Expertise includes the following:
  • Divorce
  • Non-Marital Relationships (Paternity Cases)
  • Domestic Unions
  • Child Custody and Child Support
  • Spousal Support (Alimony)
  • Domestic Violence Protective Orders (Restraining Orders)
  • Grandparent Rights
  • Attorney for the Child
  • Step-parent Adoptions
  • Modifications of Prior Orders
  • Property and Pensions
Any civil (non-criminal) legal matter can be complex and overwhelming. You need skilled, experienced legal help. As always, we try to utilize methods of negotiation and settlement. If those mechanisms are exhausted, we are skilled and experienced courtroom advocates. After we help you solve the problem, we can also help you avoid future problems. The following are examples of civil issues we have experience in:
  • Contracts. Contracts form the core of nearly every business relationship. If you are involved in a contract dispute, we will work with you to quickly identify the key issues, sort out the obligations of the parties, and find the most direct path to resolution.
  • Construction. We represent contractors, subcontractors, property owners, and design professionals in disputes over services, materialmen's liens, non-payment claims, construction defect claims, and breach-of-contract claims.
  • Real Estate. We handle virtually any problem that can arise in commercial or residential real estate: landlord-tenant disputes, evictions, boundary-line disputes, distressed properties, and much more – and we have done it for more than 34 years.
  • Debt Collection and Debtor Defense. We represent business owners and individuals in money disputes. We can help you – whether you are the collector or the debtor.
  • Civil Harassment. Neighbors, acquaintances, colleagues, family members – when you are being harassed or are being unfairly accused of it, we can help. These matters can be resolved without costly court battles more often than you might think.
If you are the executor of a will or responsible for an estate, you have a duty to handle the affairs of the estate in a proper legal manner. Your responsibilities are more complex than you may realize and the law requires you to fulfill those duties with the highest level of care. We know what is expected of you and can help you conscientiously carry out your duties. If disputes arise, we can help resolve them. Call us to learn more about your duty to:
  • Notify the heirs.
  • Inventory and appraise estate assets.
  • Pay estate debts.
  • Sell estate assets.
  • Pay estate taxes.
  • Distribute property and assets to heirs.
  • Handle challenges to the estate.
Some estates do not require a probate proceeding and can be handled in a more informal way. If you are an heir to an estate – or feel you have been improperly left out of a will, we can help resolve the problem, often without the expense of going to court over the dispute.
Guardianship. A “guardianship of the person” is established to protect the well-being of children under the age of 18 if the parent is not able or willing to care for a child. A “guardianship of the estate” protects a child’s property and often is required if a child is the beneficiary under a will or trust.
Perhaps you are a worried friend or relative, concerned that a child’s parent is not properly caring for the child. Perhaps the parent of a child has asked you to take custody of the child. Talk to us about the right and wrong way to try to help a child in need of care.
If you are a parent who needs temporary help with your child, talk to us before you agree to a guardianship. There are consequences you may not predict.
Finally, if you are a parent who feels a guardianship already in place is no longer best for your child, talk to us about steps to take before you attempt to terminate the guardianship, particularly if you have reason to believe the Guardian will be reluctant to agree.
Conservatorship. A conservatorship can be established to make personal, financial and medical decisions for an elderly or incapacitated loved one, such as a parent or an adult child with disabilities. We know this is often a painful decision and a difficult time for a family. We can help. Call us for a consultation at our office or at the hospital or facility caring for your loved one.
Mediation and Arbitration. As legal proceedings become more complicated and expensive, more cost-effective solutions should be explored. In recent years, mediation and arbitration (collectively called Alternative Dispute Resolution – ADR) has been favored. John M. Coyle is a certified mediator and has had extensive experience in representing parties in a mediation environment.
Arbitration is the process of having the case heard and decided outside of court in a setting that is less formal than a trial. An arbitrator is appointed by the court or agreed to by the parties and acts as a judge to hear the evidence and decide the case. In some cases, the arbitration decision is final and in others the parties can reject it and seek a trial in court. This is usually a far cheaper way to resolve a dispute than going to trial. John M. Coyle has experience as an arbitrator and in representing people in arbitrations.

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