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Board Certified in Family Law by TBLS

The family law board certification specialty area was launched in 1975 by the Texas Board of Specialty Certification. At last count, 838 attorneys in Texas are board certified in family law

For purposes of the board certification program in Texas, the term "family law" is defined to involve a wide range of family issues including marriage, divorce proceedings, legal custody and adoption, distribution of assets and ownership of property acquired before and during the marriage. A board certified attorney in family law is expected to understand all aspects of marriage dissolution, including conservatorship, child support, marital property, COBRA and ERISA. 

Lawyers who are board certified as a specialist in family lawhave demonstrated their specialized knowledge of matters involving:

  • the Texas Family Code, Title 1, Title 2, Title 4 and Title 5 (subtitles A, B, and C, Chapter 201 A):
  • Texas Penal Code, Chapter 25 (offenses against the family);
  • the law of homestead and other exempt property; the taxation law of divorce and inter-spousal transactions;
  • torts relevant to family law matters;
  • the trial of cases arising out of the above matters; and
  • appeals arising out of the above matters.

Standards for Certification in Family Law

To become board certified as a family law attorney, the following standards apply:

  • Practice law fulltime for at least 5 years as an active member of the State Bar of Texas;
  • At least 3 years of Family Law experience with a yearly minimum 35% substantial involvement with Family Law matters;
  • Participation in a specific number of contested final trials, court appearances, civil trials, appeals and represented parties in mediation matters;
  • Qualified vetted references from judges and lawyers in the area;
  • Complete 60 hours of TBLS approved continuing legal education in Family Law;
  • Meet all of the TBLS Standards for Attorney Certification; and
  • Pass a comprehensive 6-hour examination in Family Law. 

Exam Specifications for Board Certification in Family Law by TBLS

Topics covered by the exam to become board certified include:

  1. Establishing or contesting the validity of a marriage
  2. Establishing legal and procedural requirements for family law cases including jurisdiction, venue and transfer of cases involving dissolution of marriage and modification as well as Supreme Court cases dealing with the right to marriage
  3. Determining or contesting parentage
  4. Terminating parental rights
  5. Child Support
  6. Conservatorship
  7. Spousal Maintenance
  8. Marital Property
  9. Tax Related Issues
  10. Negotiating and Drafting Settlement Agreements, including but not limited to, agreements between counsel and parties, Rule 11, Mediated Settlement Agreements, Informal Settlement Agreements, and other settlement agreements
  11. Trial of Family Law Cases
  12. Appeals and Bills of Review in Family Law Cases
  13. Protective Orders and Family Violence, including Chapter 25 of the Texas Penal Code concerning offenses against the family
  14. State statutes involving harmful access by computer; Federal and State Wiretapping Act; Unlawful Intercepted, Use and Disclosure of Wire, Oral or Electronic Communications, Unlawful Access to Stored Communications; Breech of Computer Security, including harmful access by computer:
  15. Online Impersonation (Texas Penal Code Section 33.07)
  16. HIPAA, COBRA, and “The Texas Medical Records Privacy Act,” Texas Health & Safety Code, Chapter 181
  17. The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. The ethics questions will involve an array of hypothetical fact situations which will cover several different aspects of ethical issues that arise in the practice of law. The questions will not be limited to the practice of any one specialty area, and consequently, you are advised to be familiar with all provisions of the TDRPC.

Additional Resources

Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists (TAFLS) - Founded in 1984, the TAFLS was created by a group of Board Certified family law attorneys who wanted to work together to improve their skills and increase networking opportunities. The organization was previously known as the "Texas Association of Family Law Specialist Attorneys." Members of joining TAFLS include access to its periodic newsletters that discuss recent developments in case law and other issues important to family law attorneys in Texas. Many of the top board certified family law attorneys in Texas are also leaders within the TAFLS.

Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas - Visit the website of Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. The mission of the Family Law Section is “to promote the highest degree of professionalism, education, fellowship, and excellence in the practice of family law.” The Family Law Section in Texas educates the public through the publication, helps attorneys across the State in their practice, proposes legislation to improve the practice, works with Texas Bar CLE to generate quality CLE seminars. sponsors socials at our CLE events, promotes pro bono representation across Texas through pro bono seminars.

This article was last updated on Thursday, December 12, 2019.