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Child Custody and VisitationDivorce and SeparationFamily Law/Divorce

Why these 3 credentials matter when you want a top divorce lawyer

By March 7, 2016January 3rd, 2019No Comments
By: Paul F. Nichols, Principal at Nichols Zauzig

Searching through law firm websites to find an attorney presents a dizzying array of badges and accreditations. What do they mean? Which are important?

The average person outside the legal profession does not need to know, until faced with one of the most difficult times in his or her life. It is important to understand the distinction between badges and listings that can be purchased, and those that are truly objective, a mark of distinction.

The three badges shown here are among the most prestigious in the practice of family law. If you seek the best possible representation, you will want your attorney to hold these credentials. Here’s why:


The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) is a national organization with stringent requirements for membership, including peer review and testing. The qualification for membership of each Fellow includes being recognized by the bench and bar in his or her jurisdiction as a leading practitioner in matrimonial law. The only AAML Fellows based in Prince William County beside myself are Betty Moore Sandler and Cassandra Chin. They also hold leadership positions in AAML, or have held them in the past.

IAFL (formerly IAML)

IAFL LogoBecoming a fellow in the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) (formerly IAML) involves similar stringent requirements, while also requiring that the Fellow have recognized expertise in international family/matrimonial law in his/her jurisdiction. Betty Moore Sandler holds leadership roles in IAFL, including as a past board member of the U.S. Chapter, and six years on the Admissions Committee. Ms. Sandler is the only IAFL Fellow based in Prince William County.

AV Preeminent®

Finally, achieving the AV Preeminent® level in Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating is considered the highest achievement for any attorney. It means the lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional ability and ethical standards. Attorneys receive one of three levels of Peer Review Ratings® based on evaluations by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States. The rankings are considered the gold standard for peer reviews as the process does not solicit or accept compensation for listing or publication.

In researching for the best possible family law representation in Northern Virginia, seek out attorneys with these credentials. Our clients are pleased to find it is unnecessary to travel to the inner suburbs when the high-caliber family lawyers of Nichols Zauzig are close by in Woodbridge, Manassas and Stafford.

DISCLAIMER: The results of every case depend on factors unique to that case, and Nichols Zauzig does not guarantee or predict results in similar cases.