Judge Silbar joined Judicate West following 21 years of service on the Orange County Superior Court almost exclusively in the family law department.

During her time on the bench, she co-created and co-chaired the Remote Voluntary Settlement program and served as Supervising Judge. She has dedicated her judicial career to the family law department and bar association. Deservedly, Judge Silbar was awarded “Judge of the Year” two times by the Orange County Bar Association’s Family Law Section and earned praise for her sound judicial temperament, unparalleled work ethic, and commitment to equal justice.

Passionate about bringing her knowledge garnered from four decades of combined legal experience to the private sector, Judge Silbar states, “I enjoy helping families during this time in their lives when their fears and anxiety over potential loss of the matters most important to them are at their highest point - their children, their money, their home, their business and more, are at stake. Especially since our family law courts are so impacted by the high divorce rate in our county and the lack of adequate resources to be heard timely and efficiently, mediation is a valuable tool to aid in resolving these disputes.”

Practice Areas
  • All types of Family Law matters
Hobbies & Interests

Judge Silbar’s hobbies include walking, hiking, and golfing.

Legal Career
  • Full-time Neutral, Judicate West (2023-Present)
  • Judge, Orange County Superior Court (2002-2023); Served primarily in the Family Law Department and held the role of Supervising Judge in 2011
  • Senior Assistant District Attorney, Orange County District Attorney’s Office (1989-2002); Managed six felony trial units within the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
  • Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office (1987-1989); Defended and prosecuted on behalf of the federal government within the Central District of California. Case subjects included personal injury, medical malpractice, employment discrimination, civil rights defense, and asset forfeiture.
  • Trial Attorney, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (1986-1987); Civil prosecution of Commodity fraud in Washington D.C.
  • Assistant Commonwealth Attorney, Commonwealth Attorney’s Office (1984-1986); Prosecution of felony cases for Jefferson County, Kentucky
Education & Professional Affiliations
  • J.D., University of Louisville School of Law (1984)
  • B.A., University of Kentucky (1980)
  • Co-Chair/Co-Creator of the Remote Voluntary Settlement Conference Program (2021-2023)
  • Chair of the Temporary Judge Committee (2008-2023)
  • Mediation and Arbitration Committee, Orange County Superior Court, Former Member
  • Member of the Court Security Committee, Orange County Superior Court, Former Member
  • Co-Chair of the Orange County Superior Court Custody Guidelines Committee (2005)
  • Former Chair of the Orange County Family Violence Council
Achievements & Awards
  • Judge of the Year, Orange County Women Lawyers Association (OCWLA) (2023)
  • Judge of the Year, Orange County Bar, Family Law Section (2020)
  • Judicial Officer of the Year, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (2010)
  • Judge of the Year, Orange County Bar, Family Law Section (2007)
Below is a sampling of the various matters Hon. Claudia J. Silbar, Ret. presided over on the bench, tried as an attorney, or handled as a neutral.

Family Law Issues

  • Judge Silbar specializes in handling all types of family law matters including child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, determination of income for support, business evaluations, real property evaluations and disposition, transmutation issues including interpretation of trust language, parentage issues including embryo adoption and invitro fertilization
Judge Silbar is an experienced, smart, hard-working judge, and spent a significant amount of her time on the bench in family law. While on the bench, she took the time to learn the nuances of the law, and not only applied them to her cases, but also taught them to the family law section at various educational seminars. She was well-respected by the family law attorneys, and always treated us with respect and fairness. Her retirement was a significant loss to the family law community, but we hope to be able to continue to benefit from her knowledge and experience by having her continue to preside over our cases as a private judicial officer.
- Family Law Specialist Based in Orange County
Judge Silbar is an absolute pleasure to work with, is extremely knowledgeable, and was instrumental in helping us to reach a global resolution of all issues.
- Award-Winning Family Law Attorney Based in Orange County
When Judge Silbar told me she would retire, I told her Judicate West was the best option. She was so helpful that she settled a case that I was certain would not settle. I will not only use her in the future but suggest anyone else who wants an effective retired judge to go with her.
- Attorney on a Marital Dissolution Case
Judge Silbar brings the extensive trial experience that one would expect from her years as a prosecutor and a trial judge to private dispute resolution. She also offers the benefit to prospective litigants and counsel of a deep understanding of not only the law applicable to Family Law proceedings but of equal importance the “human dynamics” of the issues, the potential outcome of one issue or another, and the effect of both the process and judicial decisions on the parties and the minor children who are caught in the proceedings. Judicate West is fortunate to have Judge Silbar but in addition, counsel and parties seeking alternative dispute resolution are equally fortunate to have Judge Silbar available.
- California Super Lawyer for Two Decades
Judge Silbar's remarkable expertise in family law is only matched by her unwavering dedication to upholding the principles of fairness and justice. Her keen understanding of the complex dynamics of family law, along with her ability to apply evidence and procedural rules with precision, has earned her a distinguished reputation among her both the bench and bar. By creating a courtroom environment that embodies the very essence of justice, Judge Silbar has consistently demonstrated her commitment to serving the families who entrust her with their most sensitive matters.
- Managing Partner at a Top-Tier Family Law Firm
Hon. Claudia J. Silbar, Ret.
Based in Orange County
Mediation Case Manager: Laura Ashborn
Arbitration/Private Judging Case Manager: MaryAnn Campbell