Stewart W. Gagnon

Of Counsel
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Houston
United States
T:+1 713 651 5603
Houston
United States
T:+1 713 651 5603
Stewart W. Gagnon

Stewart W. Gagnon

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Biography

Stewart Gagnon is committed to helping clients address difficult family issues like custody disputes and division of property. Head of the Family Law Practice Group, Stewart provides experienced counsel to clients experiencing challenging emotional and financial circumstances.

Stewart began his career in the Houston office mailroom in 1971 during his second week in law school.  He joined full-time in 1974 and became a partner in 1989. He has been certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Family Law since 1980, and is recognized as a leader and innovative attorney in the area of family law in Texas.

This firm is the only major Texas-based law firm that maintains an active family law practice.  Stewart has built the Family Law Practice Group into a team of talented attorneys and staff who provide experienced consultation and representation to clients in Texas and other states as needed.

Stewart's clients include executives, business professionals, doctors, attorneys, community leaders, professional athletes, public officials and their spouses.

He has represented clients in over 65 jury trials involving contested custody and/or property issues and has prepared more than 300 pre-marital agreements.


Professional experience

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JD, South Texas College of Law, 1974
BA, Political Science, University of Houston, 1971

Stewart was admitted to practice law in Texas in 1974. He also is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

  • Texas State Bar

His representation includes:

  • Successful representation of a female client in a contested trial in obtaining the first court award of spousal maintenance (alimony) in Texas
  • Obtaining a monetary judgment on behalf of a woman for the harassment she suffered from her husband during their divorce
  • Successful representation of a professional football player in establishing his paternity rights and then receiving custody of his four-year-old son
  • Representation of an executive of a multi-national corporation and obtaining favorable results regarding the value and division of stock options and retirement benefits
  • Representation of a senior executive regarding the value and tax effects of various forms of employment benefits
  • Representation of a father who objected to medicating his son to obtain primary custody
  • Public Service Award,  South Texas College of Law Alumni Association, 2008
  • James B. Sales Pro Bono Leadership Award, Houston Bar Foundation, 2012
  • Ken Fuller Pro Bono Award, State Bar of Texas Family Law Section, 2011
  • Houston's Top Family Lawyer, H-Texas magazine, 2005 - 2007
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, 1995 - 2020
  • Texas Super Lawyer, Family Law, Thomson Reuters, 2003 - 2019
  • Texas Top Rated Lawyer, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, 2012 - 2014
  • Top 100 Houston Super Lawyer, family law, Thomson Reuters, 2012
  • Big Shoes Award, for being an irreplaceable volunteer, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, 2014
  • Dan R. Price Award for Outstanding Contributions to Family Law in the State of Texas, Texas Bar Foundation, 1994
  • Emily C. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award, Texas Access to Justice Commission, 2013
  • Frank J. Scurlock Award for Outstanding Voluntary Legal Services to the Poor, State Bar of Texas, 1999
  • Volunteer of the Year, Houston Bar Association, 2002
  • President's Award in Recognition of Outstanding Contributions, Houston Bar Association, 2002
  • Citation of Merit for Outstanding Individual Contribution, Houston Bar Association, 1996
  • President's Award for Outstanding Service, Houston Bar Association, 1988
  • The Best Lawyers in Houston, Houston City magazine, 1998, 2004 - 2005
  • ABA John Minor Wisdom Public Service & Professionalism Award, American Bar Association, 2004
  • ABA Family Law Pro Bono Award, American Bar Association, 2014
  • Ann Clark Snell Award, Women's Advocacy Project, 2004
  • International Directory of Distinguished Leadership
  • Presidential Citation in Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to the Establishment of the Pro Se Clinic in Harris County, Houston Bar Association, 1998
  • Who's Who Among Rising Young Americans, Marquis
  • Who's Who in America, Marquis
  • Who's Who in American Government & Politics, Marquis
  • Who's Who in American Law, Marquis
  • Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America, Marquis
  • Who's Who in Emerging Young Leaders in America, Marquis
  • Who's Who in Texas, Marquis
  • Who's Who in Texas Today, Marquis
  • Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Marquis
  • Who's Who in the United States, Marquis
  • Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century, International Biographical Centre, 2000
  • Impact Player, Texas Lawyer, 2012
  • Mentor Award  Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law, Inns of Court, 2014
  • Recipient of Above & Beyond Award, Lone Star Legal Aid, 2014

Stewart has authored more than 200 articles and presented more than 350 speeches or seminars on various family law topics.

His publications include:

  • "Going Above the Guidelines for Child Support and Providing for Special Needs and Disabled Children," 33rd Annual Advanced Family Law Course, August 6-9, 2007
  • "Effective Strategies for Reaching Parenting Plan Agreements," 2006 Parenting Plan Conference – The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, October 2006
  • "Be A Team Player: Working and Managing 'The Team'", 30th Advanced Family Law Course, August 2004
  • "Third Party Custody: Where Are We and Where Are We Going (A View From Down South And A Peak At The Nation)," November 2003
  • "Statutory and Common Law Reimbursement: How to Use It," 28th Annual Advanced Family Law Course, Dallas, August 2002
  • "Economic Contribution Claims," University of Houston Law Foundation, June 2002
  • Contributor, "Expert Witness Manual," Family Law Section, State Bar of Texas, 2001
  • Co-Author, "A Legislative Update Family Law Changes," Family Law Conference for the General Practitioner and the Legal Assistant, South Texas College of Law, February 2000
  • "A Predicates Manual," Family Law Section, State Bar of Texas, 2000
  • Co-Author, "Texas Practice Guide - Family Law," West Group, 2000 (Revised 2008)
  • Co-Author, "Alimony in Mediation," Family Law Mediation Training Seminar, CLE Program, South Texas College of Law, October 1998
  • Co-author, "Medicine for the Mind (A Workshop on Depression and its Cures)," State Bar Advanced Family Law Course, August 1998
  • "Reimbursement and Tracing: The Bread and Butter to a Gourmet Family Law Case," Baylor Law Review, 1997

Stewart's speeches include:

  • "Tracing, Reimbursement and Economic Contribution Claims in Brokerage Accounts," State Bar of Texas – New Frontiers in Marital Property Law, October 2007
  • "Protective Orders," South Texas College of Law Family Law Conference, 2007
  • "Going Above the Guidelines for Child Support and Providing for Special Needs and Disabled Children," 33rd Annual Advanced Family Law Course, August 6-9, 2007
  • "Family Violence," Texas Center for the Judiciary College for New Judges Conference, 2006
  • "The Conflicts Between the New Statutory and Common Law Reimbursement," State Bar of Texas – New Frontiers in Marital Property Law, October 2006
  • "All You Need to Know About Protective Orders," 32nd Annual Advanced Family Law Course, August 2006
  • "Protective Orders and Temporary Orders," Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program Seminar, 2006
  • "The Need and Use of Protective Orders in the 21st Century," State Bar - 29th Annual Marriage Dissolution Course, April 2006
  • "For the Public Good: Representing Clients Through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program," 2006 Family Law Conference for the General Practitioner and the Paralegal – South Texas College of Law, March 2006
  • "Valuation Discounts for Closely Held Companies," New Frontiers in Marital Property Law, State Bar of Texas Scottsdale, Arizona October 2005
  • "You've Earned Them, Now Go Get Them: Collecting Attorneys' Fees," Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law Inns of Court, April 2005
  • "Be A Team Player: Working and Managing 'The Team,'" 30th Advanced Family Law Course, August 2004
  • "A New Standard for Protective Orders," West Texas Judges & Commissioners Conference, Midland, Texas, March 2004
  • "Lost in the Sea of Discovery," Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law Inns of Court, March 2004
  • "Third Party Custody: Where Are We and Where Are We Going (A View From Down South And A Peak At The Nation)," American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Annual Meeting, November 2003
  • "Handling Debts in a Divorce," Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Center, October 2003
  • "Legislative Update in Family/Probate Court," Houston Bar Association, September 2003
  • "Economic Contribution and Reimbursement," 29th Annual Advanced Family Law Course, August 2003
  • "Representing Extended Family and Non-Family Members (Parental Presumptions, Post-Troxel Grandparents)," August 2003
  • "Evaluating QDRO/Representing the Company in an Executive's Divorce," 2nd Annual Advanced In-House Counsel Course, August 2003
  • "Building Blocks of Evidence," Texas Bar CLE, April 2003
  • "Statutory and Common Law Reimbursement: How to Use It," 28th Annual Advanced Family Law Course, Dallas, August 2002
  • "Why Lawyers Lie," Houston Bar Association, August 2002
  • "Economic Contribution Claims," University of Houston Law Foundation, June 2002
  • "Trial Demonstration: Direct and Cross-Examination of a Legal Expert Regarding the Reasonableness and Necessity of Attorneys' Fees," Advanced Expert Witness Course II, Houston, February 2002
  • "The Persuasive Presentation of Parental Alienation Syndrome," Texas Academy of Family Law Specialist Trial Institute, Cancun, Mexico, January 2002
  • "Oh Where, Oh Where, Have Your Equitable Interests Gone," Advanced Family Law Drafting Course, State Bar of Texas, Houston, December 2001
  • "Developing Trial Strategies for the Complicated Property Case," New Frontiers in Marital Property Law, State Bar of Texas, Santa Fe, October 2001
  • "Interdisciplinary Issues in Probate and Family Law: When Good Planning Goes Bad," 25th Annual Advanced Estate Planning and Probate Course, State Bar of Texas, June 2001
  • "Child Abuse Hearing Demonstration," 24th Annual Marriage Dissolution Institute, State Bar of Texas, May 2001
  • "To Move or Not to Move - The Question of the Next Millennium," 4th Annual Family Law Institute, Houston Bar Association, March 2001
  • "Relocation of Children: Legal Issues and Mental Health Evidence," The Expert Witnesses Series, State Bar of Texas, April 2000
  • The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Fellow
  • American Bar Association
    • Family Law Section
  • Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inns of Court, President (1998 - 2000)
  • Gulf Coast Family Law Specialists Association, President (1986 - 1987)
  • Lone Star Legal Aid, Board of Directors (2000 - present)
  • Gulf Coast Legal Foundation, Chairman (1988 - 1991)
  • Houston Bar Association
    • Family Law Section, President (1990 -1991)
  • Houston Bar Foundation, Sustaining Life Fellow
    • Chairman (2009)
  • Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program, Chairperson (1987 - 1988, 2001 - 2002); Interim Executive Director (2001)
  • Pro Se Advice Room for the Family Court System, Founder
  • Pro Se Family Law Clinic and Family Law Drafting Clinic, Founder
  • Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, President (1988 - 1989)
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Sustaining Life Fellow
  • State Bar of Texas
    • Section Representative to the Board of Directors (2009 - 2012)
    • Family Law Section
      • Family Law Council (1988 - 2002)
      • Legislative Committee, Chair (1990 - 2000)
      • Family Code Revision Committee, Chair (1994 - 2000)
  • Supreme Court of Texas Advisory Task Force on Child Support Guidelines (1988 - 2000)
    • Sub-committee on Visitation, Chair (1992 - 1999)
  • Supreme Court of Texas Gender Bias Reform Implementation Committee (2003)
  • Supreme Court Protective Order Task Force, Chairman (2003 - present)
  • Texas Access to Justice Commission
    • Self-represented Litigators Committee (2010 - present)
  • Women's Advocacy Project, Board Member (2004 - 2008)
  • Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families (2007 - 2014) 
  • Supreme Court Uniform Forms Task Force, Chair (2011 - present)
  • Certified in Family Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization (1981)
  • Boy Scouts of America
    • Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 642 (1969 - present)
    • Sam Houston Area Council, Board of Directors (1990 - present); Executive Committee (2005 - present) 
    • National Jamboree Assistant Scoutmaster (2001, 2005, 2010)
    • National Jamboree Chairman (Local Council)
    • Sam Houston Area Council Camping Chairman (2006 - 2010)
    • Sam Houston Area Council High Advance Chairman (2010 - present)
    • Recipient: the Eagle Scout with 3 Palms, National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award, the Boy Scouts of America District Award of Merit, Boy Scouts of America Family Award, Presbyterian Church God and Service to Youth Award
  • Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, a prominent city-wide program that creates scholarships for many Texas young people, Life Member; Corporate Sponsor
  • Legal Advisory Committee
  • Commercial Exhibits Committee
  • World Championship Bar-B-Que Cook
  • Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, Elder (1989 - present)
  • Spring Branch Friends of Education
  • Spring Branch Memorial Sports Association, Coach (1988 - 2005)
  • South Texas College of Law Board of Directors (2013 - present)