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Message From the Chair

I am humbled and honored to assume the role as Chair of the Family Law Council this year. I follow in the footsteps of some of the best attorneys in Texas, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this dynamic organization and serve the family law attorneys in Texas. I want to take this opportunity to let you know what your Section has been doing.


The Family Law Section produces some of the best and most helpful publications to aid its members in the practice of law. Publications include the Family Law Checklists, Predicates Manual, Family Law At Your Fingertips, the Family Lawyer’s Essential Toolkit, and the newest publication, the Client Handbook, which will be available at Advanced Family Law this year. The Section also sells DVDs that instruct and inform clients regarding depositions, trials, mediation and social media presence. I want to thank our publications committee, headed by Christina Molitor and Jim Mueller, for their hard work and dedication to ensure the publications are up-to-date and a great product. I would also like to thank Heather King for producing the DVDs. Norma Trusch and Georganna L. Simpson along with the Formbook Committee have volunteered hundreds of hours to update and revise the Texas Family Law Practice Manual.

As a member of the Family Law Section, you also receive this Section Report. Georganna Simpson is a tireless contributor of her time and knowledge to deliver legal articles and case law summaries to you through this Report. Thank you, Georganna.


The 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature has been a roller coaster ride! A big thank-you goes to the volunteers who served on the Legislative Committee. Although this legislative session is wrapping up, they are already working to prepare the package for next legislative session.

Thanks also goes to the Section members who gave a week of their time to be in Austin to meet with legislators, testify before legislative committees, and to be an expert on whichever bill was in front of them at the time.

The members of the Texas Family Law Foundation also deserve our gratitude. They worked tirelessly on trying to get the Section’s legislative package passed, but they worked equally as hard, if not harder, on trying to stop bad law from becoming a reality. Steve and Amy Bresnen and Bresnen & Associates worked tirelessly on behalf of the Foundation in this regard.

For more information on the new legislation, please plan to attend the Family Law Section’s Legislative Update CLE events in Houston on June 28; Dallas on June 30; and Austin on July 14.

See for more information.

Pro Bono

I am so proud of the pro bono efforts on behalf of the Section. We have an active Pro Bono Committee that puts together live seminars across the state and via webcast. This past year, the Committee led CLE seminars in Plainview, Lufkin, San Angelo, Belton and El Paso. Indigent citizens in these areas can now receive the legal representation they need in their family law matter.

The seminar is free with the commitment that the attendee will take two pro bono cases in a 12-month period. The volunteers who speak at these seminars travel on their own time and their own dime with no reimbursement. Thank you to the Pro Bono Committee for their hard work and the Section Members who volunteered.

Upcoming CLE

Annual Meeting will be June 22-23, 2017, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The Family Law Section is providing CLE on Thursday June 22, 2017, from 1:25 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Advanced Family Law Course is scheduled in San Antonio August 7-10, 2017, at the Marriott Rivercenter. The Course Directors, Jonathan Bates and Kimberly Naylor, have crafted a unique, entertaining, and informative seminar. For those of you new to family law, or just looking for an update on the basics, make sure and attend Family Law 101 (aka “Bootcamp”) on August 6, directed by Jeff Domen.

The highly-acclaimed Mastering Your Practice: Family Law and Estate Planning will take place at Horseshoe Bay on September 14-15, 2017. The course directors are Gary L. Nickelson and Tina R. Green. This innovative course brings together family law, estate planning, and probate. This program is designed to educate family and estate and probate attorneys in advancing their practice to a higher level, with each registrant working intensively in small groups with Masters. This course is limited to 60 attendees so make sure to register early!

Viva Las Vegas! In October, New Frontiers in Marital Property Law (directed by Kathy Kinser and Hon. Emily Miskel) will be in Las Vegas on 19-20, 2017. As usual, New Frontiers is a program that is designed to “think outside the box” and to stimulate discussion regarding complex marital property matters.

Advanced Family Law Drafting (directed by Charles Hardy) is scheduled in Fort Worth on December 7-8, 2017. Charles is planning an informative course with a plethora of documents that you will be able to take to your office and start using on a daily basis.

Innovations in Child Custody Litigation will be January 11-12, 2018 in New Orleans.

You can never have too much Vegas. The Texas Academy of Family Law Specialist’s Annual Trial Institute will take place in Las Vegas at New York, New York on February 15-16, 2018. See for more information.

The course directors and planning committees, along with the State Bar staff, have spent countless hours crafting great CLE programs. Please check out all of the upcoming State Bar of Texas CLE seminars at

This is an exciting time for family law attorneys. A past chair of this Section, Tom Vick, is taking the reins as President of the State Bar of Texas. I look forward to working with him for the betterment of the profession and for our members.

In closing, I want to thank the Executive Committee, Council Members, Committee Chairs and Members, Council Liaisons, and volunteer paralegals, attorneys, accountants and other professionals in the family law community for all of your hard work and commitment to the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. I look forward to being a part of our continuing efforts to protect, advance and enhance the Texas family law community.

Cindy Tisdale
Chair, Family Law Section