Hon. Catherine A. Gallagher (Ret.)

T: 408-288-2240
F: 408-295-5267
Family Law

Hon. Catherine A. Gallagher (Ret.) is a full time neutral with JAMS and has mediated hundreds of family law disputes. She has experience in all aspects of dispute resolution, which she developed while serving in every division of the Court. Her tenure as a family law judge provided her with insight to successfully deal with the emotional factors that create obstacles to settlement. As a neutral, she applies that knowledge to bring efficient and effective resolution to family law matters. She is available to assist in all family law matters including mediation or settlement conferences before filing in Superior Court, traditional ADR assistance as well as providing effective case management by developing a plan for the orderly progress of the litigation, streamlining the dissolution process, and resolving discovery disputes. She also serves as mediator, settlement facilitator, or Judge pro tem as requested by counsel to address the needs of the parties. 

Read counsel comments about Judge Gallagher’s skills and style as a neutral.

Representative Matters

  • Resolved many cases involving characterization of Community and Separate Property including tracing of assets, transmutation issues, and reimbursement claims
  • Experienced with valuation and classification of income and assets including a variety of real estate holdings, employee stock purchase plans, and stock options 
  • Resolved dispute between owner/spouses of Subchapter S corporation and worked towards structuring the transaction to prevent IRS audit
  • Mediated time share issues with children.  Experience working with mental health professionals where age-appropriate, comprehensive child custody orders were needed
  • Knowledgeable about spousal and child support issues including support in self-employed or fluctuating income situations and disabled or unemployed spouses. Handled cases imputing income and employment feasibility evaluations
  • Resolved dissolution of professional athlete and former spouse with issues involving retirement plan and “early disability benefits”
  • Settled breach of fiduciary claims, including claims of theft and mismanagement of community property
  • Interpreted enforceability of pre-nuptial and marital settlement agreements
  • Settled disputes regarding payment of expenses of higher education costs for adult children
  • Resolved child custody orders for severely disabled adult child of parties
  • Supervised sale of undeveloped property with very undesirable terrain -selected real estate agents, received bids, worked out terms of sale and finalized transaction
  • Settled conservatorship dispute between parents of special needs child who was approaching adulthood and alternated living with both parents; set framework for educational and life plan
  • Resolved issues in dissolution of “extraordinary high earner” including issues of apportionment of extracurricular activities, payment for items such as care of the children’s horses and college expenses
  • For last 30 years, involved in prevention of Domestic Violence and evaluation of claims of abuse to children and family members and extensive experience with mental health issues

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Woman of Influence, Silicon Valley Business Journal, 2014
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2008
  • Michael Patiky Miller Luminary Award, Silicon Valley Bar Association, 2007
  • Honoree, Saint Thomas More Society, 2007
  • Honoree, Women Lawyer Committee of the Santa Clara Bar Association, 2006
  • Lecturer, University of Santa Clara, Trial Practice Techniques, 2007
  • Professor, University of Santa Clara, Paralegal Institute, Securities Regulation, 1984-1991
  • Bar Examination Grader, State Bar of California, San Francisco, California, 1978-1979
  • Member, California Judges Association, 1984 to present (Executive Board member, 2003-2006)
  • Board Member, Sentencing Alternate Program, 1984-2004 (former President and officer)
  • Board of Directors, National Association of Alcohol and Drug Dependency, 1986-1991
  • Board Representative from the District Attorney’s Office, WOMA (The Women’s Alliance to prevent Domestic Violence), 1979-1983
  • Member, National Association of Women Judges; Lifetime member of California Women Lawyers; Santa Clara Bar Association
  • "Committed to Closing," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, July 29, 2011

Background and Education

  • Judge, Superior Court, County of Santa Clara, 1989-2009
    • Presiding Judge, 2007-2008
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 2005-2006
  • Judge, Municipal Court, County of Santa Clara, 1984-1989
  • Deputy District Attorney, County of Santa Clara, 1979-1984
  • Special Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office, San Francisco, California 1979-1981 
  • Staff Attorney, Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement, Washington D.C. (1975-1977) and San Francisco, California (1977-1979)
  • Law clerk, Honorable Joseph M.F. Ryan, Jr. Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (1974-1975) 
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1974
  • B.A., St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, 1971


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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