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Board Certified Specialist in Family Law in Arizona

The standards for certification of lawyers specializing in family law was lasted revised on January 1, 2013. In accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization (BLS) established by the Arizona Board of Governors, the Arizona BLS prescribes the following standards and requirements for certification of lawyers specializing in family law in Arizona.

The Family Law Advisory Commission ("FLAC") of the BLS makes recommendations in setting these objective standards. Earning board specialty certification in family law is not a requirement for family law attorneys in Arizona. Additionally, attorneys who have earned this certification are not restricted to practicing only in this specialty field of law.


General Requirements for Certification in Family Law

Before an Arizona family law attorney can become a certified specialist, the attorney must meet the following general requirements:

  • being an active member in good standing of the State Bar of Arizona;
  • completing the appropriate BLS application;
  • furnishing any additional information that may be required by the BLS or the Family Law Advisory Commission;
  • complying with all applicable Rules and Regulations of the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization; and
  • paying any application and testing fees as may be prescribed by the BLS.

Additional Requirements for Certification in Family Law

In addition to the general requirements, in order to become a certified specialist in family law, the attorney must:

  • have practiced law continuously for a minimum of seven years with five years experience practicing Family Law within the State of Arizona during the specified period of time;
  • have engaged in legal services in the field of Family Law for 70% of the time during a full-time practice;
  • showing substantial involvement in Family Law Matters.
Family Law Matters for purposes of specialty certification generally include:
  • "Dissolution of marriage, legal separation, and annulment of marriage;
  • Custody and parenting time of children, including dependency, adoption, and termination of parental rights;
  • Child support;
  • Spousal maintenance;
  • Modification of child support/spousal maintenance;
  • Identifying separate and community property, and division of community property;
  • Taxation issues incidental to dissolution or separation;
  • Contempt and/or enforcement proceedings;
  • Mediation or negotiation of family disputes, and resolution of Family Law matters through alternate dispute resolutions;
  • Special actions and appeals from Family Law matters;
  • Problems of the non-matrimonial family;
  • Problems of domestic violence; [and]
  • Paternity."

The attorney must demonstrate substantial involvement in the field of Family Law by listing all hearings within the past 24 months in which the applicant acted as lead counsel. The term hearing includes "orders to appear, evidentiary proceedings on orders of protection, trials, or other evidentiary proceedings whereby one or more issues are decided by the Court." Other task requirements apply.


Competence and Integrity

The attorney "must demonstrate honesty and integrity, professionalism as defined by the Lawyer’s Creed of Professionalism of the State Bar of Arizona, and a high degree of competence in the practice of Family Law."

In order to demonstrate a “high degree of competence” the attorney must:

  • demonstrate a substantially complete knowledge of substantive law and rules of practice, procedure, evidence, and ethics pertaining to Family Law;
  • demonstrate a high degree of skill, thoroughness, preparation, effectiveness, professionalism, and judgment in the field of Family Law;
  • pass a written examination on topics relating to Family Law including substantive law, rules of practice, procedure, evidence, and ethics pertaining to the area of Family Law;
  • demonstrate a substantially complete knowledge of and high degree of skill in the use of alternative dispute resolution as it applies in the field of Family Law.

The attorney must provide references from five Arizona attorneys who practice in Family Law or judges before whom the attorney has appeared, who are familiar with the applicant’s practice.

The names of the attorneys who have applied to become certified specialist in family law shall be published in a State Bar of Arizona publication, providing an opportunity for comment, at least 30 days before consideration of applications Family Law Advisory Committee.

The attorney must show that during the specified period he has completed at least 50 hours of continuing legal education in Family Law.


Finding a Family Law Attorney in Arizona

If you need to find a qualified family law attorney in Arizona, then consider Arizona's board specialty certification program in family law. These programs set objective standards for measuring an attorneys dedication to a specialty practice area of the law like family law.

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