San Diego Certified Family Law Specialists (CFLS)

What is a California “certified” legal specialist in family law?

A certified legal specialist is an expert in a particular field of law in California.  Attorneys may advertise or identify themselves as “certified” specialists in California only if they are certified either by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, or an organization whose certification program has been accredited by the State Bar (such an organization must have requirements for certification that are at least equal to those of the State Bar’s program).  California attorneys who are certified as divorce and family law specialists must have taken and passed a written examination in their specialty field, demonstrated a very high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfilled ongoing education requirements, and been favorably recommended by the attorney’s peers and judges familiar with their work.

As of 1/1/09, there are only about 1,100 certified specialists in the family law area in the entire State of California and 161 family law specialists in San Diego County.

What makes Certified Family Law Specialists special?

While many family law attorneys are wonderful lawyers and skilled litigators, clients that hire a Certified Family Law Specialist know for sure that they are hiring an expert in divorce and other family law matters.  Many attorneys practice in multiple areas of law and by doing so there is no possible way they will fully comprehend the nuances and intricacies of family law.  Our partners have been successfully handling divorce cases for over ten years, they are considered two of the few such experts in San Diego County, and they still learn new information.  Because our partners have so much experience in family law, they are better able to help our clients strategize to succeed in their cases.

What practice areas is a Certified Family Law Specialist considered an expert?

The State Bar identifies family law as the practice of law dealing with all aspects of the California Family Code and including, but not limited to, the following: taxation issues incident to family law practice; contempt; enforcement proceedings; mediation and/or negotiation of family law disputes; psychological and counseling aspects of family law; family law writ and appellate practice; post-marital agreements; non-marital domestic relationships; child custody in any forum; and public enforcement of child support.  Legal specialists in family law must prove significant, actual experience in the following areas:

  • Restraining orders/domestic violence proceedings;
  • Spousal support;
  • Modification of support;
  • Division of community property;
  • Confirmation of separate property;
  • Dissolution of marriage/divorce, legal separation, or nullity of marriage litigation;
  • Custody of children
  • Child support;
  • Taxation issues incident to dissolution of marriage;
  • Contempt and/or enforcement proceedings;
  • Mediation and/or negotiation of family law disputes; and
  • Psychological aspects of dissolution of marriage.

In addition to the requisite experience requirements, a certified family law specialist must participate in a significant amount of education and training, and must pass a difficult written examination.  For a direct link to the State Bar website containing the formal requirements to become a certified family law specialist, click here.