Why Choosing Certified Family Law Specialist Important
Fewer than 1 in 200 CA Attorneys are "Specialists"

Certified Family Law Specialist

Certified Family Law Specialist

Earning the coveted designation of Certified Family Law Specialist is a long, difficult ordeal which few numbers of California attorneys ever accomplish. At the Schaffer Family Law Group, we encourage our attorneys to go the extra distance to benefit our clients. Law firm founder Sarah T. Schaffer, CFLS, LL.M as well as family law attorney Wayne J. Rice, CFLS have the important designation and more of our attorneys will follow.

California State Bar Selects a Handful of Attorneys as Certified Family Law Specialists

The California State Bar Legal Specialization was established to identify attorneys who have demonstrated proficiency in specialized fields of law:

To help the public identify attorneys who have demonstrated proficiency in specialized fields of law;

To encourage the maintenance and improvement of attorney competence in specialized fields of law.

The simple truth is that divorce contests and family law is complex. Sarah T. Schaffer, CFLS, LL.M does not dilute her focus nor that of the law firm’s other attorneys by practicing other law sections as do some lawyers. Family law is constantly changing, and Sarah and the attorneys at Schaffer Family Law Group earn the trust of clients by earning the coveted Certified Family Law Specialist designation that proves that Sarah’s law firm remains current with the laws and the family law Courts.

Sarah T. Schaffer, CFLS, LL.M – In 2011, Ms. Schaffer earned the distinguished title of Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Wayne J. Rice, CFLS – In 2016, Sarah welcomed Wayne J. Rice, CFLS, another certified specialist to Schaffer Family Law Group. Wayne earned his designation of Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law from the California Board of Legal Specialization in 2016 when he came aboard.

Leslie Ryland, CFLS – In 2020, Sarah welcomed Leslie Ryland, CFLS, another certified specialist at Schaffer Family Law Group. Leslie earned her designation of Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law from the California Board of Legal Specialization in 2006.


Why are There so Few Certified Family Law Specialists?

Becoming a “Certified Specialist” is quite the challenge and commitment of time. In fact, it often takes years to accomplish. It is more than just an attorney who decides to “focus” on only a particular area of law. Although that is important! Some “general practice” lawyers do divorce, personal injury, contract law, criminal, estate planning – whatever you are willing to pay for. So, when shopping for an attorney for a divorce or family law matter, it is comforting that Sarah focuses her practice 100% on family law. To take that extra, final step to become a “Certified Family Law Specialist,” the attorney is finally board certified by the State Bar must have:

» Taken and passed a written examination in Family Law;

» Demonstrated a high level of experience in Family Law;

» Fulfilled ongoing education requirements specified by the board;

» Favorably evaluated by judges and attorneys familiar with the candidate’s work.


What can a Certified Family Law specialist do for you?

Make certain marital settlement agreements and pre- or post-nuptial agreements are properly prepared;

Identify tax issues which may affect the distribution of marital property and the payment of child, spousal or family support;

Help you effectively deal with complex legal issues involving community property laws;

Negotiate or mediate the difficult and emotional issues relating to legal separation, dissolution of marriage and child custody;

Protect clients who need restraining orders for domestic violence;

Handle matters relating to modification of child custody, spousal support or child support;

Offer a collaborative process enabling clients to resolve their issues without court intervention.

It is important for the best possible outcome of your divorce or other family law matter to hire a San Diego Certified Family Law specialist.


Certified Family Law Specialist:   Sarah T. Schaffer, CFLS, LL.M

State Bar of California, California Board of Legal Specialization recognizes Sarah T. Schaffer, CFLS, LL.M as a Family Law (Divorce) Specialist.

Attorneys may identify themselves as a State “Certified” Specialists in California only if they are certified either by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, or an organization whose certification program has been accredited by the California State Bar.

California attorneys who are certified as “Specialists” must have taken and passed a written examination in their specialty field, demonstrated a high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfilled ongoing education requirements, and been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work.

Certified Family Law Specialist, Sarah T. Schaffer, CFLS, LL.M has the proven qualifications that every divorce or family law matter deserves.


Hire the BEST Possible Attorney to Represent You

When you chose a divorce and family law attorney who is a State Certified Specialist, you know that he or she has devoted those time, energy, study, displayed professionalism noted by fellow attorneys and judges and maintains the highest standards of legal knowledge and ability for their chosen specialty.

Certified Family Law Specialist, Sarah T. Schaffer, CFLS, LL.M

Very few attorneys ever earn “certified specialization” in their law section. In fact, fewer than 1 in 200 California attorneys are certified specialists in their law specialty. Considering there are more than 200,000 lawyers in California, it is very difficult to be “certified” such that there are less than 1,000 board certified attorneys in Family Law.

* State Bar of California

Call Schaffer Family Law Group, APC at (858) 509-7907 to schedule a strategy session today.


Meet Our Certified Family Law Specialist Attorneys

Sarah T. Schaffer, CFLS

Phone: 858.509.7907

Sarah T. Schaffer, CFLS


Wayne J. Rice, CFLS

Phone: 858.509.7907

Wayne J. Rice, CFLS


Leslie Ryland, CFLS

Phone: 858.509.7907

Leslie Ryland, CFLS


We are here to answer your questions and concerns

Call Schaffer Family Law Group at (858) 509-7907 to schedule a strategy session today.


Sarah T. Schaffer In The News

Recent Media Events

Sarah T. Schaffer Recognized in San Diego Discovery Magazine With over 220,000 attorneys in California, Schaffer is one of the few, numbering 178 within San Diego, to hold the distinction of Certified Family Law Specialist.

San Diego Magazine Women of the Year Awards Colonel Sarah T. Schaffer, USMC – Camp Pendleton recognized for her Military Service as JAG Officer.

Top 50 Influential Leaders in San Diego Sarah T. Schaffer is active in the San Diego County and North County bar associations and supports the programs of Kids’ Turn San Diego, a nonprofit that helps children through family separations, and Casa Cornelia Law Center, which provides pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations.

Dividing a Business - San Diego Discover Magazine Not all businesses have marital value, especially smaller businesses whose primary value is from the efforts of one spouse.

Sarah Schaffer on the cover of Discover Magazine

Family law matters are never simple By your side every step of the way

Certified Family Law Specialist CFLS Sarah Schaffer, Wayne Rice and Leslie Ryland have been certified by the State Bar of California as “Certified Family Law Specialists,” a distinction earned by family law attorneys who have “gone beyond the standard licensing requirements.” Every attorney at Schaffer Family Law Group has either earned their CFLS Certification, or is actively working towards that professional goal as a requirement of the firm and our commitment to providing our clients the most skilled and proficient attorneys in San Diego County.

Take The First Step

What You Should Know

Top 10 Mistakes In A Divorce To avoid the top five mistakes in a divorce you must take a step back, remove the emotions and treat the process similar to a business transaction. Use these tips to help you expedite the process.

Divorce Over 50 How a 'gray divorce' will impact your retirement planning, including the timing of your retirement as well as the new economic reality divorce may bring to your life.

Top 4 Things To Know if Over 50 and Divorcing Getting a divorce after the age of 50 comes with its own set of challenges, both social and economic.

Professionals, Business Owners & Divorce Solving problems with the division of marital assets. The need for privacy and not leaving written records of your 'dirty laundry' for the world to see in the permanent public record and more...

Military Divorce Sarah serves as a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. Military families find Sarah’s understanding of the military and issues servicemembers face enable her to provide superior counsel.

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