The California Standards for Certification in Family Law defines family law as the practice of law dealing with all aspects of the California Family Code and including mediation, taxation issues, child custody, enforcement proceedings, and much more. An attorney who has been certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization has demonstrated a high level of experience and proficiency in the field of family law.
In California, the board certification for family law is awarded by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization ("CBLS"). Only attorneys board certified in family law can advertise or identify themselves as "certified specialists" or "board certified" in California for that field.
A certified family law specialist has experience performing the following types of legal matters:
The Rules Governing the State Bar of California Program for Certifying Legal Specialists govern the program requirements and should be read in conjunction with the standards for certification in Family Law.
Among other requirements, the attorneys must pass the legal specialist examination, demonstrate substantial involvement in family law, and complete continuing education requirements in the specialty area.
Attorneys who are certified in Family Law in California must apply for re-certification every five years after the initial certification date.
The California Standards for Certification in Family Law defines family law as the practice of law dealing with all aspects of the California Family Code and including, but not limited to, the following:
The attorney must have five years of experience and demonstrate substantial involvement in the practice of family law. The attorney must also demonstrate actual experience in each of the following areas:
The attorney can often make a prima facie showing of substantial involvement in the area of family law by demonstrating completion of at least four of the following five categories:
Within certain time limits, the attorney must show that he or she has completed not less than 45 hours of educational activities specifically approved for family law as follows:
Association of Certified Family Law Specialists - The ACFLS is a non-profit organization comprised of more than 550 divorce and family law attorneys in California. The only requirement to become a member of the ACFLS is that the attorney is designated as a certified specialist in Family Law by the CBLS, pays the required dues and submits an application. The ACFLS has 550 plus members with chapters for family law attorneys in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and a provisional chapter in Orange County, California.
Family Law Trial Advocacy - The National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (NBLSC) was accredited by the California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) to offer certification in certain areas of law including family law trial advocacy. Many attorneys in California are certified as a specialist by both the CBLS for family law and the NBLSC for family law trial advocacy.