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Message From the Chair

As my term as Chair is coming to an end, it is truly hard to believe that a year has passed. Thank you for the privilege of serving as Chair of the Family Law Council which has truly been an honor and one of the high points in my career. I hope that as Chair I was able to provide value and effectively serve the best interests of the Section, as well as continue the many accomplishments of the Family Law Section from the past years.

Membership in the Section

There are excellent benefits by being a member of the Family Law Section. These benefits include receiving the following:

  • The Family Lawyer’s Essential Tool Kit;
  • The Family Law Section Report each quarter, which contains informative articles and case digests, a yearly bibliography of recent CLE articles, and a legislative update; and
  • Discounts on State Bar family law seminars such as the Advanced Family Law Course, Marriage Dissolution, New Frontiers in Marital Property Law, and Innovations—Breaking Boundaries in Child Custody Litigation.


Thank you to Kathy Kinser for putting together an extraordinary program at the Innovations—Breaking Boundaries in Child Custody Litigation course held in New Orleans in February. The presentations were excellent, and I appreciate all of the work that went in to make this program so successful.


I encourage each of you to check out the publications produced by the Family Law Section that are available through the Family Law Section website. These are great resources for our practices, and the publications include Family Law Checklists, the Predicates Manual, the Texas Family Law Practice Manual, the Family Lawyer’s Essential Toolkit, Family Law at Your Fingertips, and Section DVD’s.

Legislative Work and Texas Family Law Foundation

The Legislature convened in Austin for the 2017 Legislative Session. Thank you to Diana Friedman, Jack Marr and the Legislative Committee for their continued dedication and willingness to commit their valuable time to this work.

Steve and Amy Bresnan, the lobbyists for the Texas Family Law Foundation, are actively working in Austin to assist in presenting Section bills and keeping bills that would be detrimental to family law and our state from being passed. The Foundation Bill Review Committee continues to review the bills that were filed by other groups to help the lobbyists. Also thank you to all of the Section volunteers who are donating their time by taking a week off from their practices to work in Austin with our lobbyists.

I encourage each of you to become a member of the Texas Family Law Foundation, an entity that is separate from the Section, whose mission is to improve the practice of family law in Texas.

Volunteers participate in research, legislative work and other activities. If you would like to get involved in the Family Law Foundation, please go to

Pro Bono

I am proud to report that the Family Law Section is once again the recipient of the Pro Bono Award from the State Bar. The Pro Bono Committee has done an excellent job of putting on family law seminars and webinars across the State and the 2017 seminars are underway. The price of admission to a seminar or webinar, which qualifies for CLE credit, is the commitment to handle two family law pro bono matters over a twelve-month period. These seminars have resulted in hundreds of indigent Texans having access to legal help for their family law matter. Members who are interested in speaking at or attending future Family Law Essentials seminars can contact Lisa Hoppes at

Continuing Legal Education

Upcoming family law CLE programs include the following:

Marriage Dissolution
April 20-21, 2017 – Austin, TX
Course Director: Chris Nickelson
101 Course Director: Aimee Pingenot Key

Advanced Family Law
August 7-10, 2017 – San Antonio, TX
Course Directors: Jonathan Bates and Kimberly Naylor
101 Course Director: Jeff Domen

New Frontiers
October 19-20, 2017 – Las Vegas, NV
Course Directors: Kathy Kinser and Hon. Emily Miskel

As I reflect on my year as Chair, I think of the significant contributions made by so many family law lawyers across the State to further the mission of the Family Law Section in promoting the highest degree of professionalism, education, fellowship, and excellence in the practice of family law. It has been such a pleasure working with the Executive Committee, Council Members, Past Chairs, Committee Chairs and volunteers this past year, and I would like to thank them for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the Section.

I am truly proud to have had the opportunity to serve this wonderful organization and I am grateful for the friendships that I have developed. Please join me in welcoming Cindy Tisdale as she will step into the Chair position for next year. I am looking forward to assisting Cindy and the rest of the Executive Committee as my services are needed, and I hope to see many of you at the Marriage Dissolution Course in April.

Kathryn Murphy
Chair, Family Law Section