To apply for membership in the Academy, a candidate must:

  1. Have been admitted to the Bar for at least ten years and have concentrated at least seventy-five percent of his or her practice in matrimonial law. Candidates from states where family law is subject to certification must be certified as specialists. There are two exceptions to the above requirements: 1) for attorneys who practice in geographical areas where the seventy-five percent of practice is not feasible, a fifty percent concentration in the area is acceptable; 2) for attorneys who devote ninety percent of their practice to matrimonial law, the ten-year practice requirement can be reduced to five years.
  2. The applicant must be recognized by the bench and bar in his or her jurisdiction as an expert practitioner in the matrimonial law area.
  3. 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,
    • 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 and the family law section of each association.
    • Service on a standing committee or executive committee of the family law section of litem, attorney ad litem, attorney for minor child, mediator, arbitrator, or similar equivalent in the applicant’s jurisdiction. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The applicant must be recognized by the bench and bar in his or her jurisdiction as a lawyer who practices with honesty, integrity, and professionalism. Prior incidents of professional discipline shall be considered.
  7. 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 conductor equivalent ethical standards and must be currently in good standing with the disciplinary body that 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.