David is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach. It was here that David became a member (and an officer) of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. While he served as an officer, he learned about leadership and management, and he also organized and led fundraising efforts and a blood drive for Red Cross.
David then attended and graduated from California Western School of Law with a Juris Doctorate. During his first year of law school, he worked at a storefront legal clinic which aimed to help members of low-income communities receive legal aid. David later was afforded the opportunity to work as a law clerk in the San Diego firm of Sankary & Sankary, and this experience gave him first-hand experience and insight into working as a trial lawyer.
A valuable addition to the Sullivan Law & Associates team, David is a highly qualified legal professional with decades of experience. His sole area of practice is family law, and he has litigated and settled a wide variety of cases. For 48 years, he was a lead trial attorney on high-conflict family law cases, including high-asset families, closely-held business valuations, contentious child custody claims, relocation disputes, and domestic violence allegations. David has also successfully handled dozens of family law mediations, and he completed the American Institute on Mediation in Beverly Hills.
David has also been appointed by the OC Superior Court to act as Judge Pro-Tem and as Special Master to the Court to adjudicate family law cases in excess of 50 times. As he sat as Judge Pro-Tem for over 20 years, he worked to fully and finally adjudicate family, small claims, and civil cases.
David has been admitted to practice before the California Supreme Court, Federal District Court, 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also been named an AV Preeminent Attorney in the Martindale-Hubbel Law Directory, which is the highest peer rating standard that recognizes attorneys for their legal expertise and ethical standards.
David has also published articles for law journals and served as a featured speaker and panelist at legal symposiums and presentations concerning family law topics. For several years, he served as an adjunct professor and authored course materials for a post-graduate course on the use of forensic accounting in divorce cases.
When he is not working, David enjoys spending time with his wife and best friend, Patty. The couple can often be found golfing, playing tennis, or skiing. During the holidays, David sings Christmas carols at hospitals for veterans and children. David is also an active member of his local community, and over the last 45 years, he has served as a board member, leader, and member within a variety of charitable organizations (i.e. Boards of Directors of The Padrinos of Children’s Hospital of Orange County, the Newport Mesa YMCA, etc.).
David believes that: “The practice of law is a noble profession, and not merely a business enterprise. In mentoring firm associates, [he] stresses that it takes an impeccable, lifelong career to establish an excellent reputation, and only one malfeasance to destroy it.” Because he respects the law and the practice of law as well as his heart to help clients, David is known for being honorable, reliable, and knowledgeable. We are excited to see how he helps clients navigate family law cases involving mediation, special masters, and private judging.
Contact David and our team by calling (949) 565-2793 or reaching out online.
Associations & Memberships
- California State Bar
- Orange County Bar Association (Family Law section)
- U.S. Supreme Court
Professional Publications & Projects
- Adjunct Professor of Law, Goldengate University, Irvine Campus (1992-1999), "Legal, Tax and Valuation Aspects of Marital Dissolutions”
- Panelist, University of California, Los Angeles Center for Legal Psychiatry, "The Role of Mental Health Professionals in Child Custody Litigation”
- Featured Speaker, Orange County Bar-Clergy Symposium on Dissolution, Practice & Procedure.
- Founder and Featured Lecturer, Newport-Mesa YMCA Divorce Recovery Workshop.
- Guest Speaker, Irvine Unified School District, "Preparing for a Future in the Legal Profession”
- Featured Lecturer, Klarin, Martin & Lamb, CPA, Inc. Continuing Education for Accountants, "The Role of the CPA as Forensic and Percipient Witnesses in Domestic Relations Litigation.”
- Featured Lecturer, Orange County Chapter, California Society of Accountants, “What Every Accountant Needs to Know About Dissolution of Marriage.
- Featured Speaker, Orange County Barristers Seminar, “Six Secrets of Family Law Practice”
- Author, Orange County Lawyer, The Family Law Corner “Getting Paid After Being Fired”
- Featured Speaker, National Business Institute, “Obtaining The Best Results For Your Client in a Marital Dissolution: Procedures and Strategies For Effective Settlement and litigation in California”
- Panelist and Presenter, Orange County Bar Association, Family Law Section, “The Role of The Special Master in Alternative Dispute Resolution”
- Panelist and Speaker, Orange County Bar Association, “Tricks of the Trade for Family Lawyers”.
- Presenter and Table Moderator, Orange County Bar Association, Family Law Section,
“The Elkins Commission and the Future of Family Law”
- Guest Instructor, Chapman University School of Law, Trial Practice, “The Family Law Trial” (2009-2010)
- Featured Speaker, Orange County Bar Association, Probate and Trust Section, “How Family Law Rules Concerning Transmutation of Property Affects Probate and Trust Practice”
- Featured Speaker, Orange County Paralegal Association, “How to Successfully Use the Dissomaster Software”
- Guest Lecturer, Irvine Valley College, Paralegal Studies, “How to Successfully Use the Dissomaster Software” (2011-2018)
- Featured Speaker, Orange County Paralegal Association, “Spousal Support and the Family Code §4320 Factors”
- Featured Speaker, University of California, Irvine, Paralegal Studies Program, “How to Successfully Use Child Support Calculation Software”
- Firm Principal, Hughes & Hughes, LLP (previously Hughes & Sullivan)
- Attorney, private practice
- Senior Litigation Association, Novak, Cooper & Wohlgemuth
- Civil & Family Law Litigation Associate, Sankary & Sankary
- California Western School of Law, 1973, Juris Doctorate
- California State University, Long Beach, 1970, B.A.