Mediator • Arbitrator • Private Judge • Certified Family Law Specialist
Stephen B. Ruben, Esq. is a State Bar Certified Specialist in Family Law and has been continuously recognized since 2007 as a “Northern California Super Lawyer” for his work in the field of Family Law. Mr. Ruben has also been recognized nationally and internationally as a Family Law Lawyer of Distinction for his impressive record of achieving results for his clients in court (both trial and appeals) and in mediation or judicial settlement conferences. In 2019, he was awarded the Family Law Litigator of the Year in California from the Family Law Institute. For more than seven years, he has been recognized as one of the top ten family law attorneys in San Francisco and the State of California.
For more than 20 years, Mr. Ruben has continued to serve as Judge Pro Tem and Senior Settlement Master for the San Francisco Unified Family Court. As a Senior Settlement Master, he has an outstanding track record of settling highly contested family law matters. He was also appointed in 2019 to serve as a Settlement Officer in mandatory settlement conferences for the San Francisco Superior Court, Civil Division. As part of his commitment to resolving disputes without trial, Mr. Ruben’s practice included alternative dispute resolution services, including mediation, arbitration, early neutral case assessment, and private judging.
Mr. Ruben specializes in complex, high asset cases which include addressing the complex issue of characterization of either community or separate property, reimbursement claims and transmutation agreements. He has extensive experience in all phases of divorce and parental rights, including asset discovery, property division, spousal support, child custody and child support, as well as premarital agreements, post nuptial agreements, post judgment modifications and enforcement. Mr. Ruben also has significant litigation experience in international child custody cases involving relocation and child abduction. He has prevailed in landmark victories successfully returning children who were abducted to countries governed by the Hague Convention, including Denmark, England, Germany, Japan, Israel, and others.
In 2010, Mr. Ruben was appointed by Chief Justice Ronald George to serve as a member of the Elkins Family Law Task Force of the Judicial Council of California. As part of this task force comprised of distinguished lawyers, judges, and mental health professionals, Mr. Ruben contributed significantly to the report and recommendations adopted by the Supreme Court, resulting in significant reforms in Family Law Courts statewide to provide access and justice for all family law litigants. These reforms authored by Mr. Ruben include his drafting of early neutral assessment and evaluation, voice of the child in contested custody disputes and insuring parity for the early award of attorney’s fees in dissolution proceedings.
Mr. Ruben is a member of the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California and also served as contributing editor to Family Law Monthly published by Lexis-Nexis, writing bi-monthly case commentaries for the family law bench and bar. He is a frequent lecturer on continuing education programs for the State Bar and American Association of Family Conciliation Courts.
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