What Certified Family Law Specialist Means for You

What Certified Family Law Specialist Means for You

You’ve decided to file for divorce. Your next step? Hiring an attorney. As you look online or through attorney directories, you notice that some attorneys are “specialists” in areas of law like taxation, criminal law, and family law. It’s only natural to wonder what a certified family law specialist can do for you.

All attorneys practicing law in California are licensed and regulated by the State Bar of California. The Bar also encourages continued training for lawyers and provides a way for some lawyers to become certified in their area of practice. Attorneys may become certified specialists in several fields, including family law.

 That all sounds great for attorneys, but what does it mean for you?


A certified family law specialist completes training in excess of what is expected of other attorneys. In addition, an attorney specialist has to pass a written test in their legal specialty.

When you hire a specialist, you hire someone who has the broad knowledge of law and the specific knowledge needed for your family law matter.


A certified family law specialist must practice law in their specialty for at least five years. During that time, at least 25 percent of their time must involve their field of specialty.

This means that the attorney you hire has more experience in family law than an attorney with a general practice. An attorney who specializes in family law understands California divorce laws and how they relate to your individual case.

Continuing Education

All attorneys must go through a certain amount of training every year. A certified family law specialist is held to higher standards when it comes to continued training.

This means the specialist you hire is more likely to have a deep understanding of recent changes to California divorce law.

Respected by Peers and Judges

To become a certified family law specialist, an attorney must be viewed favorably by their peers and by judges with whom they have worked.

The specialist you hire has demonstrated a dedication to family law to people who know the law. What better recommendation can there be?

Cares About Family Law

The rigorous application process required by the State Bar is rigorous. A certified family law specialist who goes through that process has demonstrated great interest and concern in family law matters.

Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, Beverly Hills, and surrounding communities.
What Is a Certified Family Law Specialist?

What is a Certified Family Law Specialist?

A Certified Family Law Specialist is, first and foremost, a licensed attorney. There are many attorneys who handle divorce and related family matters, but they may also handle other legal needs such as wills, estates, and personal injuries. A CFLS is an attorney who typically handles only family law cases. Why worry about whether the attorney you hire is certified? A good way to think about that question is to consider the experience she brings to the table. She has many years of extensive practice experience in Family Law.

The certification process is extensive and requires demonstration of education, knowledge, and skills that go far beyond that which would normally be self-possessed by a run of the mill divorce lawyer. Certification processes for various professions assemble the universe of knowledge for the profession and then test practitioners against that knowledge. After doing that, the governing body requires continuing education in order to maintain the certification.

I exceeded many of the minimal requirements in order to become a Certified Family Law Specialist. In addition to the requirements listed below, I was recommended to the Board of Certification by Family Law Judges and Leading Family Law Attorneys.

To be certified as a family law specialist in California, a lawyer must meet several requirements.

  • Passage of an examination that tests knowledge of the substantive law and procedures of a legal specialty;
  • Demonstrate that she has been substantially involved in the practice of family law for the preceding five years;
  • Been principal counsel in 20 contested family law hearings involving specific issues enumerated by the State Bar of California;
  • Been principal counsel in five family law hearings or trials that lasted for three hours or more;
  • Been principal counsel in a minimum of 30 negotiated family law judgments or settlements;
  • Been principal counsel in 30 stipulated temporary family law orders;
  • Been principal counsel and principal author of briefs in three California family law appeals in which an opinion was filed; and
  • Completion of 45 hours of education in various specific areas of family law.

The standards for certification are overseen and administered by the State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization. The Board is supported by 11 advisory commissions, one for each area of specialist recognition. One of the important roles of the commissions is the recommendation of revisions to certification standards to reflect the current practice of law in each area. Another is the development and grading of the legal specialist examination.

Cumulatively, the requirements for certification ensure that a Certified Family Law Specialist is an expert in her field. Judy Burger is a Certified Family Law Specialist and an expert in that field. Please contact The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger at (415) 259-6636 or visit online to learn more about how she can help you.