What Does it Mean to Be a California Certified Specialist in Family Law?
When scanning websites for various attorneys who bill themselves as working in family law in California, you may notice that some of these attorneys are noted as “Family Law Specialists” (or “certified family law specialists”) while others do not have that designation. Below we take a brief look at what being a certified family law specialist means, and why it could make a difference to you.
The Requirements for Becoming a Family Law Specialist in California
Any attorney who has been admitted to the bar in California can practice family law – and indeed a wide variety of other areas of law – whether they have any experience or not. Attorneys are subject to uphold a duty of competence to their clients in any work they complete, but generally it is up to the clients to initiate any actions against an attorney who might be incompetent in a given task or area. Thus, an attorney who says he or she can represent you in a family law case may not have significant experience or knowledge in that area, and you may only find this out when it is too late.
The California State Bar, however, does certify attorneys as specialists in a given area such as family law when they meet certain requirements that demonstrate their experience or knowledge in that area. This certification process includes demonstrating to the state bar that, as a family law attorney, one has:
- Devoted at least 25% of his or her practice to family law in recent years
- Has passed a stringent statewide examination regarding the particulars of California family law
- Has completed lengthy continuing legal education requirements in family law
- Has significant experience in the area, as well as the recommendations of peers
Why a Certified Family Law Specialist May Be Right For You
Again, many attorneys may seek to represent you in a divorce proceeding in California, but you run the risk of bad outcomes in the area of property distribution, spousal support, child support, and child custody if your attorney has limited knowledge or experience in the area. This is especially true when there is much at stake in your divorce, and/or their are complicated factors, such as real estate, family businesses, and retirement benefits.
By working with a certified family law specialist, you can gain assurance that an advocate is working on your behalf with the requisite knowledge and experience.
Get Answers to Your California Family Law Questions
At Kearney | Baker in Pasadena, we represent spouses through all aspects of the dissolution/termination process. Our partners, Brian A. Baker and Gary W. Kearney, are both Family Law Specialists, as certified by the California State Bar. To schedule a consultation regarding any questions about family law in California, contact one of the family law attorneys at Kearney | Baker today at 626-768-2945.