A Message from the President


Noel S. Tonneman ProfileAs the 2019-2020 President of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Association of Family Lawyers, I welcome you to our website.  Here you will not only be able to find a Fellow of the Academy in your area who will be able to guide you through the often complicated legal and emotional issues arising from your family law conflicts, but you will have access to helpful articles from not only our Fellows, but from our sponsors, experts in the fields that may impact your matter.

Fellowship in the Academy is by application, which is a rigorous process. This includes completing a detailed application demonstrating expertise in family part litigation and trial experience, devotion of a substantial, if not exclusive, portion of one’s practice to family law, leadership in related bar association activities, public speaking and publications, passage of a national examination, and demonstrated knowledge of the ethical requirements set by the national organization, known as the Bounds of Advocacy.  The national organization currently has only approximately 1500 Fellows, of which approximately 60 practice in New Jersey.

For those interested in resolving your family part dispute outside of the courtroom, on our website you will also be able to find a list of Fellows who have been trained by the Academy in not only family part mediation, but also family part arbitration.  from our fellowship of talented and dedicated matrimonial lawyers, all who have passed the rigorous admissions process established by the AAML, a national organization comprised of approximately only 1500 matrimonial lawyers nationwide. 

I became a Fellow of the Academy in 1998, and served on the Board of Managers for 14 years before assuming the presidency this June.  This past year, the Board approved a restructuring of itself, reducing its size by 50% and reducing the terms of service in an effort to create more efficiency and greater turnover of leadership.   The immediate result, however, is that I intend this change to result in a greater emphasis on the role of our committees, and the Board will seek greater input from the committees at our quarterly meetings.  We will clearly define the charter of each committee, which may then lead to a restructuring of our committees to achieve not only greater efficiency, but greater participation of Fellows who are not currently on the Board.  I invite each Fellow to contact me if you have not been appointed to a committee, but are inspired to do so now.

As announced in June, I also plan to appoint a Special Committee to create a written historical record of our policies and procedures, anticipating that this may lead to yet another Special Committee to make recommendations as to whether existing policies should be changed, or new polices should be created.  Again, if you are interested in serving, let me know.

I thank all of the Fellows for your continued support and involvement in the Chapter.  Please remember that our quarterly meetings are open to all Fellows, not just Board members, and you are all invited to attend, listen to the discussions, and may be invited to express your opinion.  To that end, please note the dates of our quarterly meetings, all of which begin with a Board meeting at 5:00 p.m., followed by the dinner meeting at approximately 6:00 p.m., and will be held at Steakhouse 85, 85 Church Street, New Brunswick, NJ.

  • September 17, 2019
  • December 3, 2019
  • February 4, 2020
  • May 5, 2020

Let’s have a good year!

            Noel S. Tonneman

            Chapter President, 2019-2020