Child Abuse Cases (Juvenile Dependency) (CPS) - Defending innocent parents, representing children, advocating for relative or foster parent placement or adoption. Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) and Legal Separation. Division of Marital Estate (Community Property) - Disclosure Requirements, Characterization, Award of Assets and Assignment of Debts, Use of Family Residence, Temporary Orders for Payment of Community Debts Before Judgment. Child Custody - Joint and Sole Physical Custody, Legal Custody, Parenting Plans, Move- Away Cases. Child Support - Calculation, Determination of Income Available for Support, Cost Reimbursements. Spousal Support (Alimony) - Temporary and Post-Judgment (Modification and Termination Motions), Determination of Marital Standard of Living; Partner Support. Retirement Plan Division - Community Property Determinations; QDRO planning. Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders - Restraining Orders Applications and Defense. Paternity & Maternity Determinations - Uniform Parentage Act (Custody and Support actions involving unmarried parents). Domestic Partnerships - LGBT Issues, Partnership Support. Grandparent, Relative and Step-Parent Rights - Visitation Petitions. Guardianship - Probate Court Proceedings and Defense. Writs and Appeals - Involving Family Law Property and Custody Decisions and Juvenile Dependency Court Decisions.
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Linna P.


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When I look back to the beginning of the divorce case, it felt like a nightmare. My ex-husband wrote up many ridiculously irrational requests, most of them involved taking away more than half of our family savings. These requests made me anxious and I was worried about its effect on my personal life after the divorce.
I was introduced to Frank and his assistant Margo Scott by a friend. After our first meeting, I knew that going to Frank and Margo for help was one of the best decisions I’ve made during this divorce case. Frank and Margo took the pressure off my shoulder immediately by providing professional and thoughtful advice, well organized timeline, as well as heart-warming support. Frank helped me to reject unreasonable requests from my ex-husband and his attorney. Among these, he successfully helped me to secure the house without paying half to my ex-husband.
It’s been a year since my divorce case was resolved. I am pretty calm now and have gained more confidence to move forward in life. I appreciate that fact that Frank, Margo, and their team was on my side and not the other way around.

Genevieve W.


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Dougherty and Associates office staff and attorneys were always a pleasure to see and talk with. I retained Rebeca Christianson from Dougherty and Associates to finalize my custody and divorce during the most difficult time of my life. While divorcing a controlling, manipulating, narcissistic ex-cop, Mrs. Christianson was NEVER intimidated and NEVER wavered. During my emotional moments, Mrs. Christianson was very caring, extremely empathetic, and kept me focused. I never once felt that anyone from this firm was taking advantage of me financially. In fact, I feel that this firm was very honest in what I was going to pay for. If they felt an issue was not going to be worth me spending my money on, they freely expressed that to me. I could not be more grateful to have met and worked with these kind, professional people.

Stephanie B.


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Frank Dougherty has been a great attorney. He puts his all into the cases. I know that I'm lucky to have a great attorney.

Aaron C.


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A Family Attorney of Integrity

Frank Dougherty and his entire staff helped me through a very difficult custody battle situation with my ex-wife involving my youngest son. I had worked with two other attorney’s in the past on this same case who had given me false hope, poor follow through and incorrect billing. Needless to say I was very wary about hiring another attorney. I interviewed six attorneys and chose Frank. Not only did I appreciate Frank as an attorney but also holding a PHD in Psychology gives him obvious advantage in the courtroom in understanding family dynamics and being able to come up with creative solutions to complex situations. I found Frank to be honest in the results he felt he could produce, quick on his feet, professional and found him very through from the beginning from beginning to end.

On one occasion Frank was unable to go to the hearing due to a scheduling conflict and had one of the firms attorney’s step in immediately to keep the case moving forward who walked into the court at a moment’s notice with sound knowledge of the case and her role that day. On another occasion Frank prioritized a last minute declaration with his busy schedule to ensure it was processed in a timely manner. The Office Manager was extremely organized and helpful with billing, scheduling court dates and ensuring the entire process ran smoothly.

I was very impressed how the entire staff worked together to making sure that there was not a beat missed. They always got back to me right away with answers to my questions. They also truly cared about me and did everything they could to help me through this tough period of my life. If you looking for the best attorney to represent you in any type of family law case I would highly advise you to go with the best Frank Dougherty.

Da R.


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I am a father who was in a major custody battle for my son. My ex-wife had vicious attorney who was doing his best to aggressively make me look bad and make her look good. I went through 4 attorneys in 2 1/2 years, and none of them could successfully deal her attorney. I was losing ground (and money, and time) in my efforts to have my fair share of custody of my son.

Then I found attorney Frank Dougherty. My custody battle immediately improved as Frank started doing what he is so good at. It was a tremendous relief to see his experience at work. His staff is wonderful and very efficient and effective also. Their team worked with me to put together the large picture and develop a plan to get the custody changes I wanted. They immediately confronted my ex-wife's attorney and he backed off with his false accusations real fast. In fact, she ended up firing him after a few months because he didn't hold a candle to Frank. That in itself was a huge stress relief. Then Frank got to work preparing for a 4 day trial. It was there that his litigating skills really showed. He really knows the law. He is good at presenting the facts in a respectful way. And his execution style was no nonsense. I am definitely glad he was not my opposing attorney.

Frank is a 100% honest attorney. He is not one of those attorneys who will lie and distort facts. He can work with the true facts to get what you want. He helped me and now I have the custody I was hoping for. Trust me, you don't want Frank against you so you better retain him before your ex does.



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One of the very best decisions I ever made in my life was hiring Frank Dougherty to represent me in a bitter custody fight for my young son. Family and friends said I was crazy to pursue custody when I had no chance of success. I had already gone through four attorneys, and was like a boxer on the mat looking up at a nine count. Frank took charge, and the situation changed faster than I could ever have imagined. Frank's background as a psychologist,and frequent expert witness,was invaluable in setting up the case for my being the custodial parent,and ultimately left me with sole legal custody of my son,even after I had moved out of California to Nevada. It was stressful,and we had to fight it out in court but, thankfully,the best interests of my son were served. Having a child is the greatest experience of my life,and I truly believe that I owe my present loving relationship with my son to that one fateful decision to ask Frank to take my seemingly hopeless case. Frank is a very wise man,and I could not recommend him and his office more highly. Counselor Dougherty,thank you!



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Frank is quite simply the best...

Frank is quite simply the best. He has vast experience as an expert witness in child psychology and really knows what is best for the child. He is a remarkably sharp lawyer. I *always* felt that he had my family's best interest at heart. Any time I have a friend facing divorce i recommend him. He quite literally saved my family. Yet even while I owe him everything he has still been more than fair about what he has billed me. I feel strongly enough about this to put my own email in public to give personal recommendations: Ask me anything at jason dot henriksen at gmail dot com. I simply cannot recommend him more strongly. He has my complete faith.



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I have sought legal counsel wi...

I have sought legal counsel with this office for years. Matt, Frank and Lisa have always been friendly, knowledgeable and put me at ease with answers to my questions.

More Business Info

Certified Family Law Specialist Divorce Custody Support Juvenile (CPS) Guardianship
Payment method
all major credit cards
Central Sacramento, Campus Commons
We serve clients throughout all of Northern California, and routinely practice in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and San Joaquin counties.
English, Spanish

Frank E. Dougherty, J.D., Ph.D., C.F.L.S., A.B.P.P.

Attorneys, Child Custody Attorneys, Divorce Attorneys, Family Law Attorneys, Juvenile Law Attorneys
Other Information

Free Consultation: No