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Message From the Chair

It’s hard to believe that my position as Chair will be ending in a few short weeks. As is always the case with any family law litigator, the time has rushed by in a flash of court appearances, mediations and meetings, all of which seemed to be months away, until my calendar warned me they were right around the corner. It has been an incredible year and an even more incredible honor to serve as Chair of the Family Law Section, and I have no doubt that my successors will continue the hard work and bar leadership necessary to pursue the goal of serving family law attorneys throughout the state. As I look forward to assisting the incoming Chair in this endeavor, I also find myself reflecting on the year that has passed.


The Family Law Section continues to produce some of the most interesting and innovative CLE in the country. In December, the Section presented its Advanced Family Law Drafting Course in Dallas. The program, directed by the Honorable Scott Beauchamp, was a record success, as well it should be, providing attendees with the latest and greatest in family law drafting tips and techniques. Course Director, Charla H. Bradshaw, and the planning committee have put together a great program for the 39th Annual Marriage Dissolution Institute, taking place at the Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center in Galveston, Texas. The 101 Course, directed by Leigh de la Raza will commence on Wednesday afternoon, April 6th, with the main course immediately following on April 7-8. Good times and lots of learning to be had by all! I’m very excited to report that the State Bar of Texas’s Annual Meeting, co-directed by our own Cindy Tisdale, will take place in my home town of Fort Worth this June, including a family law seminar, also directed by Cindy, being presented by the Section on June 16th. Save that date, and look for more information to come. Thanks Cindy for doing double duty!


The Family Law Section continues to pursue its goal of providing attorneys for indigent Texans across the State. The Pro Bono Committee, co-chaired by Lisa Hoppes, Dick Sutherland and Leigh de la Raza, have planned our Family Law Essentials seminars for 2016. We will have five seminars this year at San Marcos, Abilene, Longview, Stephenville and Sherman. Family Law Essentials Webinars are also available for those attorneys who are not able to attend in person. The price of admission to the seminar or webinar, which qualifies for mandatory CLE credit, is the commitment to handle two family law pro bono matters in the next twelve months. Thank you to the Pro Bono Committee and the many volunteers who donated their time to make our pro bono efforts successful. If you are interested in speaking at or attending the family law essentials seminars, please contact Lisa Hoppes at


The Legislative Committee, Co-Chaired by Diana Friedman and Jack Marr, has been working diligently since last August on the Section’s Legislative Package for the next Legislative Session. As a part of these efforts, Chris Nickelson, our newest Legislative Committee Member, along with other noted family law appellate attorneys, have worked tirelessly on drafting proposals intended to clarify and revise the portions of the Family Code related to family law appellate matters. Having witnessed these efforts myself, I can personally assure you that it’s been a long haul and significantly hard work. Committee members, as well as others, have voluntarily committed their valuable time to this effort on behalf of the Section. Thanks to all of those who have assisted in this endeavor.


Charla H. Bradshaw, Chairing the Checklist Committee, and Kyle Sanders, Chairing the Predicates Manual Committee, have, along with their committee members, been working throughout the year on updating and revising the Checklists and Predicates Manuals. We hope to have everything ready for sale at the Section Booth at the upcoming Advanced Family Law Seminar this August, along with Kathryn Murphy’s fantastic new and continuously growing publication, Family Law at Your Fingertips, an excellent research tool for quick access to the substantive law regarding alimony, protective orders and characterization of property.


Upcoming CLE seminars include:
● Marriage Dissolution Institute – April 7-8, 2016
Galveston, Texas
Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa, and Convention Center
Course Director: Charla H. Bradshaw
101 Course Director: Leigh de la Reza

● State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting – June 16-17, 2016
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth Convention Center

● Advanced Family Law Seminar – July 31 – August 4, 2016
San Antonio, Texas
Marriot Rivercenter
Course Directors: Chris Nickelson and Jimmy Vaught
101 Court Director: Jessica H. Janicek

● New Frontiers in Marital Property Law, October 13-14, 2016
Louisville, Kentucky
Course Directors: Joe Indelicato and Natalie Webb

● Family Law Technology Course – December 8-9, 2016
Austin, Texas
Course Director: Heather King

In closing, it has been an incredible honor to serve as the Chair of the Family Law Section. I am grateful to all of the former Chairs, Executive Committee, Council Members and other volunteers who continue to dedicate their time, year after year, for the benefit of the Section and its members, and I hope to do the same.

I am also blessed with so many friends and colleagues who so graciously gave of their valuable time to make this year a great one for the Section. On a personal level, I am especially thankful to my Father-In-Law, J. Steven King, for being my mentor and teacher, and helping me to be the lawyer and bar leader that I’ve become; to my Husband, J. Seven King Jr, for patiently tolerating my frequent absences due to leadership and speaking commitments; to all of my colleagues at KoonsFuller Family Law, for providing me with the assets, camaraderie and support that allowed me to dedicate myself to leadership and service to the Family Law Section in this past year; and last but certainly not least, to my brothers and sisters in the Tarrant County Family Law Bar for your continued support and friendship.

I’m one lucky girl for sure! Hear that Las Vegas?

Heather L. King
Chair, Family Law Section