About Our Team


Michelene Insalaco


Ms. Insalaco earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the UC College of the Law San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings). She has practiced exclusively in the area of family law, at both the trial and appellate levels, for over 25 years. The California Board of Legal Specialization certified Ms. Insalaco as a Family Law Specialist in 2003 and as an Appellate Specialist in 2023.  She is one of just a handful of dual-certified specialists in the State.

Ms. Insalaco’s leadership roles include that she is presently the Chair of the Appellate Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) and a past Chair of BASF’s Family Law Section. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the California Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and serves as Editor of its newsletter “Insights.” Ms. Insalaco is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL), and a member of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS) and a former Board Member of ACFLS. Ms. Insalaco is also a member of the Contra Costa Bar Association, and the Hague Convention Attorney Network. Ms. Insalaco is a past Member of the State Bar’s Family Law Executive Committee (FlexCom). Ms. Insalaco was also formerly a Member of BASF’s Judiciary Committee, which helps to select judges in California.

Ms. Insalaco volunteers as a settlement panelist for San Francisco and Marin counties courts, and has sat as a Judge Pro Tem in San Francisco family court.

Ms. Insalaco’s current focus is family law appeals. Her published cases include C.T. v. K.W. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 679; Sabato v. Brooks (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 715; In re Marriage of Blazer (2009) 176 Cal. App. 4th 1438; Ragghanti v. Reyes (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 989; and In re Marriage of Edlund & Hales (1998) 66 Cal.App.4th 1454. Ms. Insalaco successfully petitioned the California Supreme Court for review in the 2020 case Rollins v. Superior Court (S263594) challenging a trial court’s finding of direct contempt via Zoom.

Ms. Insalaco has written numerous articles on various legal topics, and is a frequent presenter of family law and appellate continuing education courses.

For over 10 years Ms. Insalaco was a member of BASF’s delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations, serving as Chair in 2019. Through the conference she has written several pieces of legislation, some of which have been enacted, including:

SB 217 (Wieckowski – 2017 – Enacted) Ensures that mandatory family law financial disclosures are admissible even if prepared in mediation.

AB 1735 (Waldron – 2016 – Enacted) Amends Family Code section 215 to clarify service requirements after bifurcated judgment.

AB 380 (Waldron – 2015 – Enacted) Amends Family Code section 2251 to ensure that putative spouse rules are not used against the spouse who had a good-faith belief in a valid marriage.

AB 251 and AB 1834 (Wagner – 2013 and 2015) Sought to permit electronic reporting in family law courtrooms.

SB 254 (Harman – 2011) Sought to amend Family Code section 2251 to ensure that putative spouse rules are not used against the spouse who had a good-faith belief in a valid marriage.

SB 481 (Wright – 2011) Sought to prohibit double dipping in the context of spousal support awards.

While Ms. Insalaco’s practice focuses on complex, high-asset cases, she is dedicated to giving back to her community. She has received 14 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year awards from BASF, and in both 2004 and 2016 received BASF’s James P. Preovolos Award, given annually to one family law attorney for outstanding pro bono services in family law. In 2008 Ms. Insalaco received an Angel Award from California Lawyer Magazine, given annually to just a few attorneys throughout California in recognition to their commitment to pro bono work. To read an article on Ms. Insalaco’s pro bono service, please click on the September 2007 BASF Journal story.

Ms. Insalaco has received the top “AV” peer rating by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating identifies Ms. Insalaco as a lawyer with very high to preeminent legal ability and is a reflection of her expertise, experience, integrity and overall professional excellence.

Ms. Insalaco is also the proud mother of two children.

Articles written by Michelene Insalaco:

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