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Alan R. Silverman, Ph.D.

Alan R. Silverman, Ph.D. Photo
Alan R. Silverman, Ph.D. Attorney

Certified Family Court Law Specialist Alan R. Silverman, Ph.D. Applies His Professional Psychology Experience to Work for You

Mr. Silverman dedicates his 20+ years of professional legal experience exclusively to resolving Family Court-law issues for clients with matters for the Superior Court of San Diego County, whether the clients are in county, out of county, out of state or out of country. Before earning his law degree, Mr. Silverman enjoyed a rewarding career in the mental-health field and draws upon his skills in his daily legal practice.

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Certified by The State Bar of California's Board of Legal Specialization as a Family Law specialist (CFLS)

Alan R. Silverman, Ph.D. is certified by The State Bar of California's Board of Legal Specialization as a family law specialist. To earn this certification, an attorney must engage in a rigorous application and review process that includes:

  • An intensive background investigation by The State Bar of California to assess competence and ethics
  • A challenging written exam
  • Demonstrated significant trial experience
  • Demonstrated proficiency in resolving Family Court-law issues
  • Family Court-law legal education classes
  • References from Family Court-law attorneys and judges familiar with the applicant's work, ethics and professionalism

Psychology education and career

Mr. Silverman earned his bachelor's degree in psychology with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, then a master's in guidance and counseling and his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Oklahoma. His Ph.D. studies included three years of intensive training in group therapy, hypnosis, individual therapy, diagnostic testing and the assessment of psychopathology.

The topic of Mr. Silverman's doctoral dissertation was the behavioral assessment of Family Court therapy outcomes, which he performed at the Learning House Project, sponsored by the Counseling Psychology Department of Stanford University. He presented his research nationally, including at an American Psychological Association annual meeting involving Stanford University faculty. During this period, he also provided training for Stanford psychology students.

In 1978, Mr. Silverman received a National Science Foundation Fellowship to study the causes of homicide involving children ages 15 to 17 at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, where he earned his master's of public health in epidemiology.

Psychology practice before earning his law degree

After receiving his Ph.D. in psychology, Mr. Silverman developed a residential behavior-therapy program for emotionally disturbed and delinquent children and adolescents in San Diego County. He became licensed by the State of California as a marriage, Family Court and child counselor, and maintained that license from 1977 until entering law school in 1989.

Mr. Silverman worked as a clinical psychologist at the Wyoming State Hospital, the Colorado State Hospital and the Pikes Peak Mental Health Center in Colorado Springs. He then became the director of children's services for the state of Alabama’s South Central area through the South Central Mental Health Center in Andalusia. In this role, he worked with many different types of emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. He served as the executive director of Casa de Amparo, a child-abuse treatment center funded by San Diego County. He was the co-founder of the Northern California Youth Treatment and Evaluation Center in Palo Alto and Santa Cruz, where he worked with emotionally disturbed and delinquent adolescents.

Before attending law school, Mr. Silverman practiced as an individual and family therapist in San Diego and Orange counties of California. The primary focus of his practice was the treatment of couples, children and their families.

Reaching settlements through mediation and alternative dispute resolution

Mr. Silverman studied mediation and alternative dispute resolution at the Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, and obtained advanced education in mediation as taught by Forrest Mosten, Esq., in Los Angeles and studied collaborative law.

Mr. Silverman is a settlement attorney for the Family Court of the Superior Court of San Diego County. He serves as a private mediator and special master in cases involving child custody and visitation and/or high-asset property distributions.

Aggressive litigation advocate

Mr. Silverman, an experienced trial attorney, litigated more than 500 cases throughout California, including Los Angeles, Orange, San Joaquin, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Alameda, Marin, Santa Clara, Sacramento and San Francisco counties. He tried more than 150 cases. His background in psychology is an asset in supporting clients during litigation and in preparing for the testimony of mental-health providers.

Learn more about your family law rights from a California certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) with a background in psychology

To learn more about how a certified Family Law Specialist can achieve the results you desire in your dissolution or family law issue, call Silverman Family Law, APC, at 760-512-3251 or contact us online to schedule your free initial phone consultation. Sunday appointments are available.

Silverman Family Law, APC, located in Carlsbad, California, serves clients in and around Carlsbad, San Diego, Vista, Escondido, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, La Jolla, Mira Mesa, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, San Marcos and all North County San Diego.

Education & Experience

  • J.D., Whittier Law School, Los Angeles, 1991
  • Mediation and dispute resolution training, Pepperdine University School of Law, Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution, Malibu, CA, 1991
  • M.P.H., University of California, Berkeley, Behavioral Sciences/Epidemiology, National Science Foundation Fellow, 1979
  • Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, 1976
  • M.Ed. Guidance and Counseling, University of Oklahoma, Norman, 1973
  • A.B., Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1970


  • Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS), Board of Legal Specialization, The State Bar of California, 2010

Bar Admissions

  • The State Bar of California, 1993

Professional Licenses

  • Marriage Child & Family Counselor, California, 1977-1989


  • Selected in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 as a Northern California Super Lawyer, an annual honor recognizing the top 5% of attorneys according to attorney-peer reviews.

Law Experience

  • Silverman Family Law, APC since June 1, 2021
  • Silverman & Silverman, Attorneys at Law, San Francisco, partner from 1994 through May 31, 2021
  • Minor’s Counsel:
    • San Francisco County, Unified Family Court, Juvenile Dependency Panel, Approx. 1998 to 2008
    • San Francisco County, Unified Family Court Court, Approx. 2000-2008
  • Judge Pro Tem and Settlement Attorney
  • San Diego County, Superior Court, Family Court Law Settlement Attorney through the Judge Pro Tem Program, 2015-present
  • San Francisco County, Unified Family Court Court, Judge Pro Tem, 2011-present.
  • San Francisco County, Superior Court Judge Pro Tem, in the courts of Small Claims, Juvenile Dependency, Traffic and Family Court Law Settlement Master, 2007-present
  • San Francisco County, Unified Family Court, Settlement Master, 2007-present
  • Dependency Appellate Practice, First District Appellate Project, 1998-1999
  • Central California Appellate Program, 1999-2000
  • Bravo & Margulies, San Francisco, Of Counsel, 1994-2001
  • Law Offices of David M. Harney, Los Angeles, law clerk, 1990-1991
  • Los Angeles County Superior Court, Mental Health Department, judicial law clerk to Hon. Florence Bernstein, 1990

Representative Case

  • Rand v. Board of Psychology (2012) 205 Cal.App.4th 1209, 140 Cal.Rptr.3d 837, discussed in 'California Family Law Report,' July 2012. Client prevailed on complaint to Board of Psychology for unethical conduct and coercive practices against a psychologist acting as special master in high-conflict custody case.

Interviews, Panels and Debates

  • Anxiety Over the Cost of Divorce, interview, KGO Radio, San Francisco, August 2013
  • 'The Psychological Effects of the Economic Downturn on Divorcing Couples,' television interview, KPIX/CBS San Francisco, April 2011
  • Presentation to Japanese Federation of Bar Associations on family law and law practice management, May 2007
  • Televised debate on grandparent visitation rights, panelist, 'Take Issue,' Bay TV, San Francisco, January 17, 2000
  • 'Your Legal Rights: Call a Lawyer,' KALW Radio, San Francisco, 2000-2006
  • Golden Gate University, Appellate Advocacy Program, Oral Argument Judge, 2005-2006

Law Firm Internship Offerings

  • Approved by University of San Francisco School of Law to sponsor clinical internships. The firm has sponsored clinical internships since 2005.
  • Approved by Golden Gate University School of Law to sponsor clinical internships. The firm has sponsored clinical internships since 2007.
  • Approved by San Francisco State University, Paralegal Studies, to sponsor internships. The firm has sponsored internships since 2010 to 2013.
  • Trained interns from England, Wales, France and Germany, 2000-2006

Psychology Experience

  • Private practice, Marriage, Family and Child Counselor, Carlsbad and Huntington Beach, California, 1984 through 1988.
  • Casa de Amparo, Oceanside, California, a child-abuse residential treatment facility funded by the San Diego County Department of Social Services-executive director. Wrote and administered child-abuse treatment grant for Camp Pendleton, 1983.
  • Colorado State Hospital, Pueblo, Colorado-clinical psychologist, adolescent treatment unit, forensic testing, 1980-1982.
  • Pikes Peak Mental Health Center, Colorado Springs-clinical psychologist. Psychotherapy for adults and children, 1980-1982.
  • Wyoming State Hospital, Evanston, Wyoming-clinical psychologist, adolescent and geriatric units, forensic testing, 1980-1982.
  • Northern California Youth Treatment & Evaluation Center, Palo Alto and Santa Cruz-co-director. Residential treatment for children and adolescents adjudicated dependent or delinquent. Wrote and administered funding grant, 1976-1978.
  • Stanford University, Counseling Psychology Department, Palo Alto-pre-doctoral intern. Parent-Learning House; Residential treatment program for dependent children. Conducted research for doctoral dissertation, 1975-1976.

Grants Funded

  • Casa de Amparo, San Diego County Department of Social Services, funding grant for treatment of physically and sexually abused children, 1983
  • United States Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, residential and outpatient treatment of abused Marine Corps dependent children, 1983
  • Seiden, R. & Silverman, A. 'Deadly Violence Among California's Youth, An Epidemiological Study,' School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, funding by California Commission on Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, 1979
  • Northern California Youth Treatment and Evaluation Center, budget approved by Bay Area Placement Committee, funding by social services agencies of Bay Area counties, 1977-1979


  • Harney, David M., 'Medical Malpractice,' second edition, The Michie Company, 1991 supplement -- contributed to case note on desecration of remains
  • Blattler, A. and Silverman, A., 'Contingency Management Program Policies,' Department of Institutions Policies and Procedures Manual, State of Colorado, 1981
  • Silverman, A., 'Evaluating Goal Attainment Scaling by Independent Observation in Parent Behavior Management Counseling,' Dissertation Abstracts, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1976

Newspaper Articles

  • McKee, Mike, 'Shrink-Turned- Lawyer Offers a Different Kind of Counsel,' biography, The Recorder, San Francisco, California, April 1997
  • Zemper, Melinda, 'Expansion of Child Abuse Center Possible,' biography and commentary, Morning Press, Oceanside, California, June 1983

Paper Presentations

  • 'Behavioral Approaches to Family Counseling,' symposium sponsored by University of Colorado Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, 1982
  • 'Non-Participant Observation Systems in Family Therapy,' symposium with Carl Thoreson, Stanford University, American Psychological Association annual meeting, Washington, D.C., 1976
  • 'Learning House, An Overview,' symposium with Montrose Wolf and Carl Thoreson, American Educational Research Association annual meeting, Los Angeles, 1976

Teaching Experience

  • San Francisco State University, adjunct faculty, family law, American Bar Association-approved program in paralegal studies, 2012
  • California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego, directed counseling practicum for graduate students, 1983
  • University of Southern Colorado, Department of Psychology, adjunct professor, lectured on behavior modification with children, 1981-1982
  • Stanford University, Department of Psychology, directed counseling practicum for upper-division undergraduates, 1977-1978
  • University of Oklahoma, Department of Counseling Psychology, directed counseling practicum for master's degree candidates, 1973-1974
  • University of Oklahoma, Department of Counseling Psychology, instructor, statistics and learning theory, 1971-1972

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