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Stephen B. Ruben

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Family Law Attorney in San Francisco, CA

Ruben Law Firm
1 Market Street, 27th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: 415-772-0900
Fax: 415-391-0140
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2005, 2014 - 2022
Licensed in California Since: 1992
Practice Areas: Family Law
  • Free Consultation
Attorney Profile

Stephen B. Ruben 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. Stephen 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) in mediation or judicial settlement conferences.

In 2010, Stephen 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 and took part as member of a team of distinguished lawyers, judges and mental health professionals resulting in significant reforms to address the Family Law Courts State- wide.  The goal of the Task Force was to provide access and justice for all family law litigants and Stephen contributed significantly to the report and recommendations adopted by the Supreme Court.   For more than 20 years as part of his commitment to the legal community of San Francisco, Stephen continues to serve as Judge Pro Tem and Senior Settlement Master the San Francisco Unified Court. As a Senior Settlement master, he has an outstanding track record of settling highly contested family law matters. Because of his commitment to resolving disputes without trial, Stephen has expanded his practice to include alternative dispute resolution services including arbitration, early neutral case assessment, mediation and private judging.

Stephen 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. A noteworthy portion of his specialty is in international child custody cases including his significant and successful litigation practice under the Hague Convention.  He has prevailed in landmark victories successfully returning children who have been wrongfully abducted governed by the Hague Convention. These international custody disputes often span many different countries and continents including Denmark, England, Germany, Japan and Israel.  Stephen specializes is in complex, high asset cases.  He has vigorously litigated cases and has a widespread reputation of excellence, exceptional high ethical practices, creativity, leadership and results. He is a frequent lecturer on continuing education programs for the State Bar and American Association of Family Conciliation Courts. His firm, the Ruben Law Firm is located in San Francisco.

White Papers

  • Collaborative Family Model as a foundation for resolving Corporate Business transactions - Pepperdine School of Law/ Straus Institute (2019) - As an experienced family law specialist and trained in family law collaboration,  my article which won a National Award  used to collaborative family law model as  an alternative dispute resolution method to resolve complex  corporate business transactions  with an expressed agreement not to proceed with litigation. The Emergence of Collaborative as viable alternative dispute resolution model butwith it associated ethical challenges and pitfalls should be integrated intoPepperdine Caruso School of Law’s current professional responsibility class forall JD students and integrated in Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution ‘scurrent mediation course offerings in civil and family law

Certificates and Credentials

About Stephen B. Ruben

First Admitted: 1973, Illinois

Professional Webpage:

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • "Manimony," a term he coined to describe spousal support for men
  • Parental alienation and its short and long term impact on parents who seek frequent and continuous contacts with their children
  • Set asides for marital settlement agreements
  • The impact of death and estate planning instruments and pre and post marital agreements in effect during a pending dissolution proceeding
  • Recommendations of the Elkins Family Law Task Force
  • California Family Law News, Family Law Section of the State Bar of California
  • Lecturer, Law Attorneys and is Devoted to Complex Family Law Litigation
  • “Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome", Family Law Section of the State Bar of California, California Family Law News published 2009

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Member, Family Law Section, Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Member of Association of California Certified Family Law Specialist
  • Senior Settlement Master Unified Family Court of San Francisco
  • Settlement Officer in the Civil Division- San Francisco Superior Court
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1981
  • Executive Board Member and President Elect of Lawyers Club of San Francisco Inn of Court
  • Member, State Bar of Illinois, 1973
  • Member of State Bar of California 1993 and Certified Family Law Specialist 2007 to the present
  • Member of the AFCC- Association of Family Conciliation Courts and Program Presenter in Psychological/ Legal aspect of high conflict custody disputes, relocation and child abduction 
  • Member of US State Department- Attorney network serving as legal counsel for international child abduction cases

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Past President, Lawyers Club of San Francisco
  • Family Law Mediator's Panel, Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Member of a San Francisco jazz ensemble known as "Lush Lounge."
  • Member, Board of the Stern Grove Musical Festival
  • Member and Active Vocalist in the Kol-Emanu-el Choir of Temple Emanu-el of San Francisco
  • Liaison to the State Bar Family Law Section
  • Member, Rotary Club of San Francisco
  • Chief Arbitrator, Hearing Attorney/Client Fee Disputes in Family Law for BASF
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Lexis/Nexis California Family Law Monthly Journal

Educational Background

  • Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, J.D., With Honors, 1973, 1973
  •  LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution Pepperdine School of Law / Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution , 2021

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Certified Family Law Specialist, State Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California, 2007
  • Admitted to Practice law in California, 1992
  • Admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois, 1973


  • This award was granted to Stephen B. Ruben for his contribution as an attorney in the field of family as advocate, counsellor of law, scholar and pubic service giving back to the community serving as Judge Pro tem  and Senior Settlement master in San Francisco Superior Court/ Unified Family Law Court  and Judge Pro tem in Marin Superior Court/ Family Law Division  as supervising Judge in bench/ bar settlement conferences., Lifetime Achievement award in Family Law as lawyer, scholar and Judge pro tem and Settlement Maste, Illinois Institute of Technology- Chicago Kent College of Law, 2016

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating, 2019
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorney  in San Francisco , 10 Best Attorney - Client Satisfaction, 2022
  • Lawyers of Distinction Award- National Award in Family Law, 2022


  • Successfully represented and prevailed in a case for the return of a child to the habitual residence, Denmark, in a Hague abduction proceeding. The case was appealed by the Mother who was the abductor and trial court decision was affirmed by both the Appellate Court and Supreme Court of California and the United States Supreme Court as the writ of certiorari was denied .  The entire appeal process took more than two years, 2021

Industry Groups

  • Special Master and Settlement Judge
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Office Location for Stephen B. Ruben

1 Market Street
27th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

Last Updated: 8/14/2022

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