Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Certified Family Law Specialist, and should I
use one in connection with negotiating my premarital agreement?
Brian Kramer is a Certified Family Law Specialist, which means he is part of a select
group of attorneys in California who practice family law and have been recognized by
California's Board of Legal Specialization as being expert in the field.
The State Bar of California's Board of Legal Specialization grants certification status
to only a handful of qualified lawyers in the practice of family law. Certified Family Law
Specialists have expertise in all areas of California family law including divorce,
annulment, property division, and spousal support. Of the nearly 200,000 lawyers in
California, less than 1,100 have been certified as family law specialists-one-half of 1% of
all attorneys in California.
Certified Family Law Specialists are distinguished by substantial experience,
successful completion of a demanding specialist's examination, focused continuing legal
education, and peer recognition.
But why should you hire a Certified Family Law Specialist? In his highly regarded
handbook, California Family Law Judge James W. Stewart (Ret.) has this to say:
"Certified versus noncertified practitioners. Another difficult question is whether
you should limit your list to attorneys certified as specialists in family law by the
California State Bar. As a general rule, this is a good idea, at least for three of the four
attorneys you interview. Certified specialists have passed a fairly rigorous examination in
family law to obtain certification and are required to take a given number of hours of
instruction each year to keep their knowledge of the law current."
When a person buys real estate or a car in California, the law compels the seller to
make detailed disclosures. But when one gets married -even though it results in one of
the most complex legal relationships that a person can get themselves into in California-
they get a simple one-page marriage certificate. Needless to say, that simple one-page
marriage contract hardly reveals the complexity of the legal relationships that arises
from the act of marriage.
It takes family lawyers years of practice to become familiar with all of the rules and
regulations that may be potentially relevant to their clients' situations. By hiring a CFLS,
you have the peace of mind knowing that the California State Bar has specially certified
that lawyer as being competent in family law. Under the law, premarital agreements
cannot be cookie-cutter forms. Effective premarital agreements require the skill of a
knowledgeable family law attorney, and when it comes to preparing effective premarital
agreements the devil really does lie in the details.