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About Family Law

Family law is a sub-specialty of the practice of law that concentrates on assisting couples with the divorce or separation process. Good attorneys will encourage you to do all you can to save your marriage before embarking on the divorce process; to separate is a decision only you can make with your therapist's help.

A family lawyer, sometimes with the help of other professionals, can help you with your parenting plan ("custody"), help you to equitably divide your property, and provide for financial assistance("spousal support" and "child support") to the person who needs it from the person who is able to provide it.

The practice of family law is defined by the state bar as:

Family law is 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; postmarital agreements; nonmarital domestic relationships; child custody in any forum; and public enforcement of child support.

Adoption, guardianship, probate, wills and trusts, while they are "family matters", are their own sub-concentrations, and you should always look for a specialist to attend to those matters.

About Certified Specialists

Only attorneys certified by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California may represent themselves as Family Law Specialists certified by the State Bar of California, although any attorney may refer to herself or himself as a specialist or as specializing in Family Law. To be certified by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California, an attorney must:

  • Be an active member in good standing of the State Bar of California;

  • Pass a written examination covering California Family Law;

  • Have substantial experience in the field of Family Law;

  • Complete specified approved legal education requirements applicable to the Family Law field; and

  • Be favorably evaluated by judges and other attorneys concerning his or her knowledge, ability and experience in the practice of Family Law.


Certification by the Board of Legal Specialization is for a five year period. Recertification for additional five year periods does not require further examination but does require continuing compliance with other listed standards.

Certification gives lawyers the opportunity to make their experience and practice specialty known to the public and other attorneys. By continued compliance with the listed requirements, a Certified Family Law Specialist maintains and improves his or her knowledge and competence in the Family Law field.

  • I'm an attorney licensed to practice in California

  • I'm a Certified Family Law Specialist

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