The world of law isn’t just court scenes with criminals and lawbreakers. It’s a lot more than what you see on Law & Order. Family law is actually one of the biggest areas of law that are used. But what does a family lawyer do? Well, it’s in the name, but they deal with a lot more than just family matters.
We’ll dive into everything from what a family lawyer does, to when you’re likely to come across one.
What Is Family Law?
Family law is the division of private law that deals with all family-related matters.
It is the area that oversees relationships between spouses, partners, and parents, and children for things like adoptions and fostering, child custody, and divorce settlements. Family law makes sure that any state and federal rules that are in place around any of the areas mentioned are followed.
Family law also makes sure that all of the processes involved follow some kind of order to make sure that it’s as seamless as it can be.
Who’s Involved In Family Law?
Each section of law has important individuals who are a part of its function and specialize in the area.
In family law, there is a judge who oversees cases involving private law matters. They may not necessarily only stick to family law matters, but do have a deep enough grasp of the law to be able to oversee decisions on it.
Additionally, you will have your two parties before the judge who are usually representing two opposing sides. They will also be represented by lawyers who deal specifically with family law matters.
Does Family Law Have Court Cases?
Yes, family law does have court cases in front of a judge, but not always.
Using the court is usually a last resort when it comes to family law, and is usually in instances where a mutual agreement can’t be reached between two parties. Otherwise, family law can be practiced and conducted without a court case being heard.
The way it’s done without a court case is similar to business law, in that it involved legally binding agreements that both parties agree to and sign in the presence of a lawyer.
What Does a Family Lawyer Do?
Family lawyers are the facilitators of family law. They are the individuals who will represent you in court if necessary, and also work as a mediator during instances where family law is required.
For example, during a divorce settlement, a family lawyer will either act as a mediator for both you and your partner or only represent one of you in drafting together a mutually agreeable divorce agreement. They would also be enlisted to oversee adoption and foster cases, as well as represent parties in custody cases.
For the most part, family lawyers take care of a lot of legal paperwork that’s involved in a lot of these processes. They will also make sure to go over all the paperwork with their clients to ensure there is an understanding of what’s written and if they require any amendments or changes.
Think of family law as a business transaction, because in the eyes of the law it pretty much is! This means the family lawyers are the ones who help you put together a business agreement like they would for a company.
Who Is a Family Lawyer For?
Family lawyers are necessary and highly recommended in divorce settlements to make sure that the agreement that’s made is mutually favorable. It’s best to call in a professional who’s well versed in family law to make sure you aren’t getting the short end of the stick.
They’re also recommended for child custody hearings if partners aren’t on the same page or agreeing to terms together. This will keep hearings from getting ugly and make sure they’re conducted swiftly and concisely.
Family lawyers are also recommended in foster or adoption cases that involved a little more work than just signing an agreement. This is especially important in instances where international adoption agreements are put into place so that you err on the cautious side of the law.
In addition to the typical family matters that would need a family lawyer, prenuptial agreements also fall into the family law realm.
If you’re an individual who needs to put together a prenup for your marriage, you would seek the advice of a family lawyer likely in tandem with a business lawyer who will put together an agreement for your partner to either negotiate or sign without negotiation.
How Do People Become Family Lawyers?
Family lawyers require extensive learning and experience in their field.
They will first start with and finish law school with their Juris Doctor (JD) degree from a reputable college. During their time in college, they will pick and study a specialization to learn more about.
After their college degree, they will begin articling for a reputable law firm where they will basically work under lawyers and learn the ropes of the legal world first hand. They will likely choose a law firm that deals with the area of law they are interested in to get more experience.
After a few years of articling, they will be able to take their bar exam and upon passing, are able to apply for work as a certified lawyer and work in their field.
Knowing What Does a Family Lawyer Do
Now that you know the answer to the question “what does a family lawyer do?” if you’re planning a divorce, require a prenup, or are going to head into a child custody agreement with your partner, a family lawyer is the person you need to help you with the job.
Be sure to look at reputable lawyers who have experience in the area you are looking to have help with so that they are well seasoned in potential legal roadblocks.
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