Family & Domestic Relations Law

By Chris Byrne
Revised June 2023
wedding cake

Books, Guides, and Directories

37th Annual Family Law Seminar: Perspectives, Perspectives.... Charlottesville, Va: Virginia Law Foundation, 2018. KFV2494 .A75 F3 2018

101+ Practical Solutions for the Family Lawyer: Sensible Answers to Common Problems, 3rd ed.Gregg  M. Herman, ed. Chicago, Ill: ABA, 2009. KF505 A2 A15 2009

How to Build and Manage a Family Law Practice, 2d ed., Mark A. Chinn, Chicago, Ill: American Bar Association, Section of Law Practice Management, 2018. KF300 .C455 2018

Databases and Websites

Westlaw: West's Legal Directory - Family Law Listings

ABA Directory of Children's Law Programs. A directory containing listings of children's law centers organized by state with links to the centers' web sites.

Journal and Website Articles

Aguilar, Ben. "Should I Open a Family Law Office?" 35(2) GPSolo 72 (Mar/Apr 2018). 
This article offers tips on on how to start your own family law practice. 

Aguilar, Ben. "Should I Open a Family Law Office?" 38(3) Family Advocate 6  (Winter 2016).
The author describes his experience in starting a family law practice in 2012, focusing on logistics, business planning, branding and referrals. He concludes with a discussion of the pros and cons of a family law practice and what he wished had known at the start.

Balbi, Loni L. "Secrets Revealed: Tips on Becoming a Better Family Law Attorney ." 26 American Journal of Family Law 176 (Fall 2012).
The second part of a two-part article is about practical advice: the stuff they do not teach in law school. It is based on years of gathering tips from Family Law experts all over the world. These ideas come from some of the best and most successful family law attorneys. This part discusses technology, drafting, health and finances.


Balbi, Loni L. "Forum: Tips on Becoming a Better Family Law Attorney." 26 (3) American Journal of Family Law 115 (Summer 2012).
The first part of a two-part article is about practical advice: the stuff they do not teach in law school. It is based on years of gathering tips from Family Law experts all over the world. These ideas come from some of the best and most successful family law attorneys. This part discusses client relations and litigation.

Buie, Elise F. "A Family Lawyer's Story." 35(2) GPSolo 16 (Mar/Apr 2018).
A family law attorney, who owns a firm in Seattle, recounts her career path.  

Coble, Kathleen. "What Kind of Office Should I Hang My Shingle On?" 38(3) Family Advocate 18 (Winter 2016).

Coble  focuses on what solo practitioners should consider when choosing office space. She started her own family law practice in 2006.

Fines, Barbara Glesner. "Fifty Years of Family Law Practice--The Evolving Role of the Family Law Attorney." 24 Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 391 (Summer 2012).

Nicholson III, J. O. "Survival Tips for the New (Family Law) Lawyer." 59(2) Advocate 24 (Feb. 2016)

Tarascio, Billy. "A New Breed of Practitioner." 37 Law Practice 47 (July-August 2011).
This article is an interview with an Oregon family law attorney whose firm focuses upon the use of limited-scope legal services at reduced rates to provide legal services for those clients who cannot afford the standard attorney rate.

Vidas, Mary. "Why Family Law." 39(3) Family Advocate 3 (Winter 2017). 
A practitioner writes on why she became a family lawyer. 


The Library has the following journals which emphasize family and domestic relations law. A person interested in a career in family law should look at some of these journals in order to develop a general awareness of current issues in the field. Practicing attorneys, however, must read these in order to keep up with current development in the law.

  1. Canadian Journal of Family Law
    Hein Online: PDF Articles
  2. Children's Legal Rights Journal
    Hein Online: PDF Articles
  3. Family Advocate
    Hein Online: PDF Articles
  4. Family Law Quarterly
    Hein Online: PDF Articles
  5. Journal of The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  6. Juvenile & Family Court Journal
    Hein Online: PDF Articles


The following organizations are either active or maintain an interest in family law and domestic relations. They offer membership general information and possible employment opportunities.

A. Organizations Concerned with Family Law in General

American Bar Association--Section of Family Law
Section of Family Law
321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654
The largest bar association for family law practitioners in the country, the Section holds regular meetings and continuing legal education seminars for family law attorneys throughout the year. It issues two journals, The Family Law Quarterly and Family Advocate (quarterly), and also publishes books of interest.
Law Student Membership:

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML)
209 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60606
An association of certified attorneys specializing in matrimonial and family law. It seeks to encourage the study, improve the practice, elevate the standards, and advance the cause of matrimonial law in an effort to preserve the family and society. It conducts institutes and sponsors advanced continuing legal education program. Publication: Journal of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (annually).

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)
6525 Grand Teton Plaza
Madison, WI 53719
(608) 664-3750
An association of judges, counselors, family court personnel, and attorneys concerned with the resolution of disputes affecting children. Works to develop and improve the practice of mediation and counseling as a component to judicial procedures. Conducts research and technical training programs. Publication: Family and Conciliation Courts Review, quarterly.

B. Organizations Focused on Children and Youth Rights

ABA Center on Children and the Law
1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 400
Washington,DC 20036
(202) 662-1720; Fax (202) 662-1755
Under the Young Lawyers Division of the ABA, the Center sponsors multi-disciplinary conferences for child advocates. It employs attorneys and staff to work on research, writing and training in the area of children's law. It publishes books of interest to attorneys, and issues a monthly journal ABA Child Law Practice.

The National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC)
899 N. Logan St., Suite 208
Denver, Co. 80203
A leading multi disciplinary membership organization, the NACC devotes itself solely to skills-building for lawyers working on behalf of children. It publishes books on child advocacy, puts out a quarterly The Guardian, and holds annual conferences.

Legal Services for Children
870 Market Street, Suite 356
(415) 863-3762; Fax (415) 863-7708
The first nonprofit law firm for children and youth in the country. LSAC provides free legal and social services to children under 18 years old in the San Francisco Bay area.

Children's Defense Fund (CDF)
840 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 628-8787
The Fund offers systematic, long-range advocacy on behalf of children and teenagers. Engaged in public education, monitoring of federal agencies, litigation, legislative drafting and testimony, enforcement of civil rights law, advocacy of child access to existing programs and services, and creation of new programs. Publishes a monthly newsletter, CDF Reports.

National Center for Youth Law (NCYL)
1212 Broadway, Suite 600
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 835-8098
NCYL provides assistance to other child advocates nationwide, conducts trainings, publishes and does class action litigation intended to benefit large numbers of poor children. Publishes the quarterly Youth Law News.

C. Organizations in Virginia

Virginia Bar Association
1111 E. Main Street, Suite 905
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 644-0041; Fax (804) 644-0052
The Virginia Bar Association is is a voluntary, statewide professional organization of more than 5,500 lawyer and judicial members. The VBA invites voluntary membership from all licensed Virginia lawyers. Lawyers in good standing of the Bar in another state or the District of Columbia are eligible for membership. The VBA has a domestic relations section.

Virginia State Bar
1111 E. Main Street, Suite 700
Richmond, VA 23219-0026
(804) 775-0500; Fax (804) 775-0501
The Virginia State Bar, the official agency regulating the legal profession in Virginia, has a Family Law Section.

Commission on the Needs of Children
Virginia Bar Association
Professor Julie McConnell, Chair
University of Richmond School of Law
Richmond, VA 23225
Phone: 804-287-6093
The Commission is an interdisciplinary body within the Bar Association, interested in family law issues affecting children. It helps to educate lawyers, judges, physicians and the public on the needs of children, and pushes law reform in this area. It has been an advocate of a state wide system of family courts.

Continuing Legal Education
Virginia Law Foundation
105 Whitewood Rd.
Charlottesville, VA 22901
(800) 979-8253; Fax: (434) 979-3147
The Committee on Continuing Legal Education of the Virginia Law Foundation and the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar co-sponsor two workshops on family law each year: Annual Family Law Seminar and Annual Advanced Family Law Seminar publish the proceedings and materials deriving from these workshops.
Photo:  Associated Press