Chair’s Message

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Message From the Chair
– Stephen J. Naylor

I hope each of you had a great summer and found ways to survive the record heat. It has definitely been a challenge. Like many of you, I’m ready for cooler weather.

Advanced Family Law

I had the great pleasure of seeing many of you in San Antonio at the 44th Annual Advanced Family Law Course and the 101 Course. 101 Course Director Lisa Hoppes had over 200 in attendance and Advanced Course directors Anna McKim and Rick Robertson had over 1,700. Thank you to each of them and the planning committee. A program of that size wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of the State Bar staff, so a special thanks goes out to them.

Honors and Awards

As is our custom, the Section awards were presented on Monday afternoon. This year’s recipients were as follows:

  • Warren Cole was inducted into the Hall of Legends. This honor is bestowed upon an attorney who has practiced in family law for at least 40 years and who has had a significant impact on the practice.
  • Kathryn J. Murphy received the Dan Price Award. This award is for a person who has had a significant impact/betterment of the Family Law Section during the past year.
  • Hon. Judy Warne was honored with Ken Fuller Pro Bono Award.
  • Hon Scott Beauchamp and Larry Martin received the Joseph W. McKnight Best Family Law CLE Article award for their article “OMG – I didn’t know that!” presented at last year’s Advanced Family Law seminar.
  • Jack H. Emmott, III received the Gay G. Cox Collaborative Law award.
  • John F. Nichols Sr. was recognized as the recipient of the Patrick A. Nester Outstanding Achievement in CLE Award.
  • On Wednesday night at the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialist awarded its prestigious Sam Emison Award to Heather King.

Congratulations to all the recipients this year, and thank you for all your work to make the practice of family law better for everyone.


The Family Law Section continues to produce some of the best and most helpful publications to aid its members in the practice of law. Our publications include the Family Law Checklists, Predicates Manual, Family Law At Your Fingertips, the Family Lawyer’s Essential Toolkit, and the Client Handbook. Thanks to Kathryn Murphy and Aimee Pingenot Key, we recently introduced our newest publication, “Family Law At Your Fingertips, Children’s Issues.”

The Section also sells DVDs that instruct and inform clients regarding depositions, trials, mediation and social media presence. The Formbook Committee, under the guidance of Georganna Simpson and Norma Trusch, recently released a new update to the Texas Family Law Practice Manual. Thank you to everyone for the countless hours in creating and updating these publications. If you are interested in purchasing one of these publications, please visit the Section’s website at

I would be remiss if I did not thank Georganna Simpson for her time, effort, and knowledge in delivering legal articles and case law summaries to you through the Section Reports.


The 86th Session of the Texas Legislature is scheduled to begin on January 8, 2019. Our legislative committee began working on our legislative package even before the 85th Session ended. On August 23, 2018, Diana Friedman and Hon. Jack Marr presented our 11 bills to the Legislative Policy Subcommittee of the State Bar of Texas and I am proud to say that all 11 of our bills were approved by that committee. Thank you Diana, Jack, and the entire legislative committee for all the hard work and long hours you dedicated to this process.

As always, the Texas Family Law Foundation will assist us in our efforts to get our Section’s legislative package passed. If you are not already a member of the Texas Family Law Foundation, I encourage you to join. The Foundation and numerous volunteers dedicate countless hours to review bills, testify before committees, and generally be the first line of defense for bills that affect family law.

Pro Bono

Our Pro Bono Committee continues to put together live seminars across the state and to develop webinars. Our seminars are free to the lawyers for the commitment that the lawyer will take two pro bono cases in a 12-month period. The volunteers who speak at these seminars travel on their own time and at their own expense with no reimbursement. This year they coordinated and led live CLE seminars in Amarillo, Conroe, Corpus Christi, Kerrville, Sherman, and Midland. As a result of their efforts, lawyers will volunteer for more than 300 pro-bono cases. This year they have seminars scheduled for Cleburne, Huntsville, Longview, McAllen, Victoria, and Wichita Falls. Thank you Lisa Hoppes and Leigh de la Reza, along with your committee members and numerous volunteers for your hard work and dedication to this very worthy cause.

Upcoming CLE

  • New Frontiers in Marital Property Law
    October 11-12, 2018 (Hotel Andaz, San Diego, CA)
    Course Directors: Kristal Thomson and Stephen J. Naylor
  • Advanced Trial Skills for Family Lawyers
    December 13-14, 2018 (Omni Royal Orleans, New Orleans, LA)
    Course Director: Kristal Thomson
  • Innovations in Child Custody Litigation
    January 24-25, 2019 (Hyatt Hill Country, San Antonio, TX)
    Course Directors: Jonathan Bates and Aimee Pingenot Key
  • Mastering Your Practice: Family Law
    February 8-9, 2019 (The Woodlands, TX)
    Course Director: Gary L. Nickelson
  • Texas Academy of Family Law Specialist’s Annual Trial Institute
    February 21-23, 2019 (Omni Hotel in San Francisco, CA)
    Course Directors: Susan McLerran and Kathleen Coble
  • State Bar of Texas / CDT Collaborative Conference
    March 7-8, 2019 (Dallas, TX)
  • Marriage Dissolution
    April 25-26, 2019 (Moody Gardens, Galveston, TX)
    Course Director: Jonathan Bates
    101 Course Director: Adam Dietrich
  • Advanced Family Law
    August 12-15, 2019 (Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio, TX)
    Course Directors: Charles Hardy and Lisa Hoppes
    101 Course Director: Greg Beane

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

I look forward to seeing everyone in San Diego and New Orleans! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Stephen J. Naylor
Chair, Family Law Section