California Custody | Brian K. Brandmeyer | CA Divorce | Business Valuation

Brian K. Brandmeyer (1937 – 2016)

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Brian K. Brandmeyer, founding partner of Brandmeyer Gilligan & Dockstader, LLP, has practiced family law in California for more than 40 years.

Brian died peacefully at his home in Palos Verdes on New Year's Day at the age of 78.  He was surrounded by Janice, his devoted wife of 54 years, and his four children: Kent, Terese, Michael and Kevin.

Brian was born in Spokane, Washington but spent his formative years in Fargo, North Dakota where he attended Bishop Shanley High School.  A three sport varsity athlete, he forged his passion for sports and all things competitive on the field of play.  To follow were decades of pick-up basketball, tennis, golf and an encyclopedic grasp of sports statistics that would be the envy of any fan.

He came west and attended both college and law school at Loyola University in Los Angeles, graduating in 1962 to begin a 53 year career as an attorney specializing in Family Law. His commitment to Loyola Law School was life long, as he served on its  Board of Governors and was President of its alumni association.

Brian and Jan lived happily in Palos Verdes where they raised 4 children.  They are now blessed with 11 grandchildren.

After his family, Brian's passion was the practice of law. He built two law firms from the ground up.   With 9 lawyers, the Long Beach firm of Brandmeyer, Gilligan & Dockstader remains one of the preeminent Family Law firms in the region.  Brian was a legal warrior, successfully representing countless clients over the decades and, to nobody's surprise, Brian never retired, last going into the office on December 23, 2015.

All who knew Brian immediately felt his warmth, egalitarian nature and kind human touch. He woke up every morning happy, optimistic and ready to make the world a better place.  If the measure of a man is how well he lived, Brian squeezed every last drop out of life.

To honor Brian's memory, in lieu of flowers contributions can be made to Providence Trinity Care Hospice Foundation 5315 Torrance Blvd. Torrance CA 90503 or ALS Association- Golden West Chapter PO Box 565 Agoura Hills CA 91376.

Mr. Brandmeyer received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola Marymount University, and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles.

Honors and Awards
Mr. Brandmeyer had been named a Southern California Super Lawyer since 2009 and was AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Professional Activities
Mr. Brandmeyer was a member of the Board of Overseers of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He was a member of the Board of Trustees at Loyola Law School and served as the president of the Alumni Association at Loyola Law School from 1988-1989. He had also participated in and led numerous community and professional organizations.

Representative Cases
In re the Marriage of Cross (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 1143

Published Opinion
In re Marriage of Metzger (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 1441

Brandmeyer Gilligan & Dockstader was recently successful in defending an appeal which challenged the constitutionality of the appointment of minor’s counsel in contested custody cases.   Only a small percentage of family law cases are appealed and approximately 9% of those cases actually wind up as a published decision. read more

Published Opinion
In a published opinion, Brandmeyer Gilligan & Dockstader, LLP was recently successful in defending an appeal which challenged the constitutionality of the appointment of minor's counsel in contested custody cases. California law allows a trial judge in a family law case to appoint minor's counsel – an attorney for the children – to represent the children's interests particularly when the parents are engaged in a highly contested custody battle. The use of minor's counsel in addition to child custody evaluations is often helpful to court in making determinations as to the children's best interests and how custody of children should be shared. In this case, the father opposed the appointment of minor's counsel and argued that such an appointment would violate his constitutional rights as a parent. The appellate court rejected the father's arguments and agreed with Brandmeyer Gilligan & Dockstader that the role of minor's counsel is to provide the court with information and does not preclude the parties from informing the court as to their opinion of the minor's best interests. The court observed that a parent's rights are not unlimited and there are instances where the state has a duty to make decisions regarding a child's best interests, even if a parent objects. The case will now continue in the trial court with the participation of minor's counsel to assist the court in reaching a proper custody decision.

Only a small percentage of family law cases are appealed and approximately 9% of those cases actually wind up as a published decision. When a case such as this is formally published its holding can be cited as legal authority by other courts and lawyers. The use of published decisions as a precedent to be followed by other courts is a fundamental aspect of the common law legal system used in the United States and England.


"I have been in the Family Law court system for 10 years in a very contentious high profile/high asset divorce from a well known attorney who has been able to work the legal system and stonewall financial production, among other things, from day 1. Brian and his team reviewed my case and what needed to be done and actually did it! For the first time in 10 years we have traction on this case because the team knows the law, understands the case, is able to articulate the issues in the briefs and has the guts and ability to stand before the judge and convincingly argue my plight in a meaningful way. Brian's paralegal, Joi is ALWAYS pleasant, helpful, understanding, professional and very knowledgable. Truly a breath of fresh air! If Brian is in court and unavailable, I have no problem relaying my questions to her to pass on to counsel.

Brian also carefully listened to my unusual situation and immediately gathered his team to work together to see what they could do to address my position....and they did!

We still have a long way to go in large part because of former counsel's oversights and lack of follow through, but we are on our way. I have already recommended Brian to a friend!

I'm finally able to see an end to this case and look forward to celebrating the conclusion."

- Deborah R.

"Brian represented me in my divorce. I found his advice to be very practical and the entire process was extremely efficient. He returned my calls promptly. I always felt he had my best interests at heart. Brain was forthright and aggressive when the situation called for it but always directed the process toward reaching a resolution."

- Mrs. H.

"Brian is extremely intelligent, skilled and knowledgeable lawyer in the field of family law. He provides a high level of experience that has helped me through my most challenging times. Brian offered me a level of comfort as I watched him represent me in court and outsmart opposing counsel on all aspects of my case; like I was one of his own children. That's the way Brian fought for me…like I was one of his own kids. I highly recommend Brian to anyone looking for a Family attorney. You will not be disappointed."

- Melanie

Back to Team Brian K. Brandmeyer John J. Gilligan Janet E. Dockstader Wendy K. Tse Janine M. Frisco Michael Sarris Janine M. Frisco Michael Sarris

Brian K. Brandmeyer | California Family Law: Divorce, Custody, Business Valuation

More Testimonials

"Mr. Brandmeyer and his staff have been guiding me through a very complicated divorce. Everyone, including Brian, Linda and Wendy have been kind, flexible and responsive. I would highly recommend this firm!"

- Elizabeth

“Brian Brandmeyer and his impressive legal team at BGD provided tremendous support, advice and encouragement for our family throughout all the highs and lows of this challenging divorce process. The team met regularly with me to review documents, discuss strategies and to give emotional encouragement. They were always available to answer any question or assess any situation, and most important of all, they helped give me perspective and a great sense of knowing that I found the perfect legal team. I couldn’t have done it without their wisdom and extensive experience. Thanks for everything."

- Everett G.

“I’ve hired several attorneys over the years. Brian Brandmeyer is the best of a very elite group of attorneys at Brandmeyer Gilligan & Dockstader. This firm consistently gets great results due to the early innovative and aggressive work of Brian and his team. My case involved a contentious child custody situation that was extremely difficult. Brian’s continued support and guidance meant the world to me. Our family has been able to move forward in our lives and we are forever grateful.”

- Angie K.

"Brian Brandmeyer restored my faith in the legal system. He is a wonderful, caring, compassionate, yet forceful person who looks out for his clients and his staff is always willing to answer any and all questions and to make a person feel at ease with the entire procedure during this stressful time in one's life.."

- Nina N.

"Brian Brandmeyer is an extremely knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney. This is reflected in his educational background. In addition, Brian has the charisma and drive needed in a lawyer that goes to trial. At our hearing, he was direct and pointed out only the relevant material in order to make the hearing efficient and more affordable. Brian is a talented attorney who cares about his clients. I highly recommend him."

- Mr. Y.