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Author Instructions

Our audience

Family Advocate is the quarterly membership magazine of the ABA Family Law Section. Our audience consists of family law attorneys and other professionals involved in divorce, child custody, and adoption matters and other family law related issues.

Your topic

Each article submitted for a particular issue of Family Advocate will cover one aspect of a broader topic or theme. It is your job to focus exclusively on that topic and to refrain from drifting into other authors’ terrain. Your focus should be specific, practical, and how-to—but also national enough in scope to appeal to our national audience.

Writing style

Write in a more conversational or essay-type style, rather than one that is theoretical or scholarly. Avoid legalese and use the active voice and a practical, hands-on approach. Examples and personal anecdotes are much appreciated.


No footnotes please! Family Advocate is dedicated to cogent, accurate legal analysis—but analysis that is presented in a collegial tone and in a magazine format. Please provide important citations, but integrate these into the text. Use them sparingly but wisely. Note also that cite checking is the author’s responsibility.

The editorial process

Authors are asked to first submit an expanded outline of a proposed article. After receiving feedback from issue editors, authors will then create a first draft and, upon receipt of additional input, a final draft.

Articles will be copyedited in accordance with Chicago Manual of Style requirements and for clarity and overlap with other articles. Authors will be given an opportunity to review final edited copy prior to publication.

Submission requirements

Submit your article in a Word document via e-mail to the issue editor and managing editor.

Feature articles

All authors are required to submit:

  • A detailed outline of two to three pages, typed and double-spaced.
  • A first draft of about 2,000 words.
  • A final draft of about 2,000 words.
  • If possible, a sidebar consisting of checklists, practice tips,and/or sample clauses. Be creative. This is your chance toshine by sharing your best hot tip, shrewd strategy, or savvyshortcut.
  • A brief bio of two to three sentences detailing elements ofyour background or experience that particularly qualify youto write on the topic.
  • Your contact information, including your email address,street address, and telephone number.
  • A high-resolution color photo to accompany your article.Please email it to the managing editor as a JPG, TIFF, orsimilar attachment. The size of the file should be about 500KB or more or “300 d.p.i.” or more.
  • A signed ABA copyright release. The managing editor willprovide you with the ABA copyright release form. Pleasesign and return it prior to publication.
  • A bibliography of three or four additional resources forour “Books & More” section. Citation format: author(last name first); editor(s), if relevant; title; publisher;edition cited, if not the first; date of publication of theedition cited.


You may have been approached by an issue editor to write an article for placement in one of our columns. Such articles are generally short—about 750 words. No outline is required.

Author copies

Upon publication, each author will receive five advance copies of the Family Advocate issue in which his or her article appeared and a PDF of the final printed piece.