San Diego County

Craig A. Candelore
Craig A. Candelore

Mr. Candelore is the founding attorney at the Men’s Legal Center, and he has been providing legal help to clients who have needed assistance in the area of family law for close to 30 years. Mr. Candelore earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree from West Point before earning a Master’s degree in System Management from the University of Southern California. Mr. Candelore earned his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, where he graduated Cum Laude.

Mr. Candelore is a Certified Family Law Specialist and a professional mediator trained by National Conflict Resolution Center, San Diego.

Mr. Candelore served in the military, both active and reserves, ultimately earning the rank of Colonel from the United States Army. Mr. Candelore deployed on active duty overseas during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Some of his duty assignments included working as a Regional Senior Law Enforcement and Anti-Terrorist Officer, stateside during and after 9-11; and Iraqi Police Development Project Officer, in Iraq. Mr. Candelore also has served as a translator at the United Nations and enjoys writing books in his spare time.

(619) 234-3838
Francisco Batara
Francisco Batara

Mr. Batara is a native San Diegan. He was raised in Chula Vista and La Mesa and has a passion to help serve his local community. Mr. Batara graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where he interned with the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office and volunteered with the Legal Aid of San Diego’s Unlawful Detainer clinic.

Mr. Batara believes that everyone should have access to the justice system and that all voices should be heard. Mr. Batara’s upbringing and background have given him the desire to help those in need of family law help. He understands firsthand the problems and the toll divorce and custody issues can have on children, for this reason, has dedicated his career to helping families find solutions.

Mr. Batara has a young daughter and is engaged to be married. He is fluent in Spanish, is an avid sports fan, loves the San Diego Padres and Chargers, and enjoys spending quality time with his family.

Gerald Hockstad, Certified Family Law Specialist

Mr. Hokstad has extensive family law and civil experience. He believes that his practice of law should be in pursuit of the truth so that his clients will have a clear conscious in all that they do in the California legal system. When possible Mr. Hokstad advocates mediation. People do have legitimate disagreements and both parties can have very valid reasons for their contentions and claims. The goal of mediation is to facilitate a meeting of the minds resulting in an agreement based on biblical principles and the rule of law.

Mr. Hokstad has been married to his wife for 38 years and they have two adult sons. He likes to relax on the weekends by going fishing. He is an avid world-class fisherman. Mr. Hokstad attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA for his BS, Bethel Theological Seminary for his MA and he received his Juris Doctorate from Western State University.
Scott Neinas
Scott Neinas

Attorney Scott Neinas has been a licensed attorney representing clients in family law matters since 2009.

He graduated from Eastern Michigan University where he majored in Journalism and minored in English Literature.

He worked as an investigative journalist reporter for several years before attending the University of Toledo College of Law.

At University of Toledo College of Law he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was a Law Review editor as well as a member of the Order of the Coif.

While attending law school he served as the intern for U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara.

After graduating law school, Scott went into solo practice outside of Detroit, Michigan, handling family law matters, criminal defense, bankruptcy and other civil litigation before moving to San Diego in 2014.

Because of these areas of practice, he understands the intersection of these areas of practice with family law such as domestic violence defense, Marvin-Marvin claims and bankruptcy.

In the broad family law arena, he was appointed Guardian Ad-Litem for children in the Juvenile court system.

Since moving to California in 2014, his focus has been primarily representing clients in family law.

Attorney Neinas has been admitted to practice law in California, Michigan and Ohio as well as the U.S. Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and the Southern California.

Scott believes in giving back to the community.

Past public service includes being appointed to the Citizens of Monroe Planning Commission and being a past president of the Monroe Kiwanis Chapter in Monroe, Michigan.

He is currently a member of the Oceanside Pacific Kiwanis Club.

Attorney Neinas resides in Oceanside. His hobbies include playing ice hockey, pickleball and body surfing.

Steven Merker
Steven Merker

Mr. Merker, who prefers to be called Steve, grew up in Chicago. He graduated from Southern Illinois University Law School in 1981. Steve has enjoyed the last 35 years practicing law in San Diego. Steve began his career as a solo practitioner with a general practice in civil, criminal, and family law. In 1993, he decided to limit his practice to Family Law and in 1996, he established Merker and McDonald. Before joining Men’s Legal Center in 2016, Mr. Merker also served as a Temporary Judge for the Superior Court, as a Settlement Judge since 2007. He is on the San Diego Family Law Bar Association Alternate Dispute Resolution list for Family Law mediation.

Mr. Merker has been married to his wife, a special education teacher, for almost 18 years. He has two adult children from his first marriage, 5 adult step-children, and 5 grandchildren. Steve spends his free time enjoying the sunny Southern California weather relaxing with family and friends, playing on the beach, and golfing.

Mr. Merker has personally been involved in child custody litigation. He believes in helping parties resolve their matter amicably, reminding the parties to focus on what is in the child’s best interest. If necessary, he can become an aggressive and fiery litigator. Mr. Merker also handles misdemeanor and felony criminal matters.