Virginia State Bar

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

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Family Law

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.



We extend an open invitation to not only join the section but also to consider how you may serve the profession by getting involved with the sub-committees within the Family Law Section. A brief description of each committee follows.

Administration of Family Law Cases/Local Bar Committee
Committee Chair:  John Huntington
Member: Larry Vance

Working with local family law bars, this committee looks toward exchanging and disseminating information about local practices throughout the Commonwealth to assist in building the quality of professionalism and public service in family law representation and practice.

ADR Committee
Committee Chair:  John Huntington
Member:  Michelle Jones

Because alternative dispute resolution is a growing trend in family law the Section monitors and promotes innovations apart from litigation in solving family legal matters which include but are not limited to mediation, negotiation, arbitration and even such recent innovations such as Collaborative Law.

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Family Law Cases in Virginia Survey (.pdf)

Awards and Nominations Committee
Committee Chair:  Chuck Powers
Members:  Mary Commander, Chris Malinowski

Each year the Family Law Section Board of Governors solicits nominations for the Betty A. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award and the Service Award and makes considered appointments to highlight the efforts and careers of excellent family law lawyers. Additionally, each year new members of the Board are solicited and selected from regions around the state. This committee seeks the best and brightest family law attorneys and judges in Virginia as applicants, and interviews accordingly to fill Board vacancies when appropriate.

Booklet Committee
Committee Co-Chairs:  Judge Ricky Wallerstein, Susan Butler

This committee produces materials to educate the public as well as family law attorneys with thorough research developed into well written and easily understandable booklets. Last year the committee produced Financial Consequences of Divorce in conjunction with a grant from the Virginia Law Foundation. Currently the committee is considering producing an ADR booklet. These booklets and all the Section publications will be available on this website in PDF format.

Children’s Issues Committee
Committee Chair:  Judge Debbie Bryan
Members: Brian Jones, Michelle Jones

This committee focuses on educating our family law colleagues on new and current guidelines in relation to the representation and protection of children.

CLE Committee
Committee Co-Chairs:  Susan Butler, Steve Raynor
Members:  Pat Maurer, Michelle Jones

This committee works hard all year round to produce quality continuing legal education seminars around the Commonwealth. The Family Law CLEs sponsored around the state are some of the most well attended, and often attract high profile speakers and cases of keen interest to family law attorneys.

Current Family Law Case and Legislative Update Issues Committee
Committee Chair:  Chris Malinowski
Member:  Steve Raynor

From time to time the Bar asks the Board of Governors to comment on new rules and amendments being considered for adoption. This committee serves as the point for these requests and leads the discussion on such matters when appropriate. This committee also keeps the Board informed on upcoming legislation of interest to family law practitioners.

Law School Committee
Committee Chair:  Lynn Marie Kohm

Several years ago the Board established a Legal Research Guild that encourages law students from schools in Virginia to participate in and serve the Bar while in law school via research support for article authors and various committee work. This committee solicits those students and coordinates those research projects. This committee also coordinates the Annual Family Law Award for the Outstanding Graduate at each of the eight Virginia Law Schools.

Membership Committee
Committee Chair:  Brian Jones

Desiring to continue to build the Family Law Section toward growth as a viable and important part of the Virginia State Bar, this committee puts together and carries out membership campaigns to attract family law attorneys toward section membership and participation throughout the state.

Planning Committee
Committee Chair:  Larry Vance
Member:  Susan Butler

The Family Law Section wishes to use current and emerging technologies to improve communication and education of Section members as well as to provide appropriate resources for the education of the general public. The Planning Committee will work to develop plans to increase Section membership. The Section wishes to improve the education of attorneys and the general public regarding all areas of family law. The Section wishes to increase awareness of ADR/Collaborative Law and its usefulness in resolving family law matters. The Planning Committee will work with ADR and Booklet Committees to create pamphlets or other written materials for distribution to attorneys and general public regarding ADR options (to also be available on section website). Finally, the Family Law Section will encourage the legal community to recognize the benefits of a properly trained and staffed family court to provide maximum assistance to troubled families throughout the Commonwealth. Such a Court should be able to direct use of ADR to resolve contentious family law matters with the goal of minimizing the damage to children and parties.

Publications Committee
Committee Chair:  Brian Hirsch
Spare the Child Subcommittee:  Lynne Kohm

The Virginia Family Law Quarterly is one of our most widely read and well known tools and is produced every quarter by this committee which solicits, compiles and edits good and useful articles to compose an excellent newsletter for practical and informative instruction, guidance and insight for our section members.

Website Committee
Committee Co-Chair:  Steve Raynor

The website committee is responsible for maintaining, updating and improving the Section’s website. The website is one of the primary ways in which the Section communicates with and makes information available to section members, Virginia family law attorneys, and members of the public interested in family law issues.

The website contains section news and a calendar of upcoming events, family law court forms, and other information of interest to practitioners and members of the public. The Virginia Family Law Quarterly is available to Section Members.

Section Members please contact Dolly Shaffner at or (804) 775-0518 for password to access the Virginia Family Law Quarterly.