Qualifications And Procedures
- Each applicant shall be a practicing attorney, who has been admitted to the bar for a minimum of ten years if, for a period of five years immediately preceding the date of the application, 75% of the applicant’s practice has been in the area of matrimonial law. This 75% practice requirement shall be an average percentage provided that in each of the last three years, the applicant shall have at least 75% of their practice in the area of matrimonial law. Each Chartered Chapter’s Board of Examiners or the National Board of Examiners for each state with no Chartered Chapter shall determine if an applicant practices in a geographical area where the 75% requirement would be impossible or impractical. If this is determined, the applicant shall have had 50% of his or her practice devoted to the field of matrimonial law during the five years immediately preceding the date of the application. This 50% practice requirement shall be an average percentage so long as during each of the last three years the applicant’s practice in the area of matrimonial law is 50%.
- The applicant must be recognized by the bench and bar in his or her jurisdiction as an expert practitioner in the matrimonial law area.
- Each applicant must demonstrate substantial involvement in the matrimonial field and have endeavored to encourage the study, improve the practice, elevate the standards and advance the cause of matrimonial law. This may include the following:
- Member in good standing of the applicant’s local and state bar, or national bar association, and the family law section of each association.
- Faculty member of continuing education presentations in the area of matrimonial law.
- Service as a family law pro tem or trial judge or settlement judge, or master, guardian ad litem, attorney ad litem, attorney for minor child, mediator, arbitrator, or similar equivalent in the applicant’s jurisdiction.
- Service on a standing committee or executive committee of the family law section of the applicant’s state or local bar association, or the family law section of a national bar association.
- Service as an officer or director of any bar association.
- Authorship of published articles on matrimonial law.
- Participation as amicus curiae in matrimonial law matter presented to any appellate court.
- Significant activity or contribution, including pro bono work, related to matrimonial law.
- Faculty member for law school courses in the area of matrimonial law.
- Editor or publisher of any matrimonial law newsletter, journal or similar publication.
- Authorship of a major treatise on marital law.
- Service on a committee related to matrimonial law certification in the applicant’s state.
- Each applicant must have substantial trial experience, including trial of custody matters, child support, division of property, alimony or spousal support, including examination of expert witnesses and must be able to competently handle complex matrimonial law litigation as the lead counsel. Consideration shall be given to the applicant’s ability to achieve settlement without the necessity of a trial.
- The applicant must be a practicing attorney and not a sitting judge, unless the judge meets all the other standards: i.e., is in the active practice of law while being a sitting judge, and has had substantial involvement in the matrimonial law field, as defined in paragraphs one or two above.
- If the state in which the applicant practices has family law certification, the applicant must be certified prior to the applicant’s admission as a Fellow.
- The applicant must be recognized by the bench and bar in his or her jurisdiction as one who practices with honesty, integrity, and professionalism. Prior incidents of professional discipline shall be considered.
- If matrimonial law certification does not exist in the state where the applicant practices, the applicant must have completed 15 hours of continuing legal education in the area of matrimonial law during each of the five years immediately preceding the date of application.
- Each applicant must aspire to the Bounds of Advocacy as promulgated by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the applicant’s state’s rules of professional conduct or equivalent ethical standards and must be currently in good standing with the disciplinary body which governs them.
- The applicant must be personally interviewed and take an examination as part of the admission process.
If Matrimonial Law Certification exists in a state, that state may determine that a state examination is not necessary.
If a provisional or chartered Chapter does not exist in a particular state, an applicant from that state shall be examined by the National Board of Examiners or its designees.