If you are studying to become a family law attorney, you likely already know that there are many family law practice areas you can choose from. Many lawyers say today that family law is among the most fascinating and complex areas of law. Here is an area of law that takes you into the courtroom for some of the world’s most emotional problems, with the world’s most special people, families, and children. To many, family law practice areas may consist only of divorce and custody matters, but every matter here has a story. And every person has a need. This area of law can be rewarding. Learn more about what to expect in becoming a family law attorney right here.
What Family Law Attorneys Do
When it comes to understanding family law practice areas, there are so many different elements of family law that may come to mind. Family law isn’t just about separation and divorce anymore. People are getting married younger, older, and having children without getting married at all. Family law attorneys navigate the complexities of legal contracts between two people that started with an emotional bond, and now have assets and children to think about.
With that, you can easily see every area of law come into one family law case. You may see real estate lawyers, tax attorneys, bankruptcy attorneys, defense attorneys, civil litigators, and more enter the world of family law. That is because these things that we do and need in our lives impact our families. They also impact our assets.
At the end of the day, the family law attorney on a case will help the family litigant to understand what their rights are. You will fight for those rights, and represent them during legal matters. In many states, family law litigants can represent themselves. Find a way to tell new clients that it may be much easier to get an attorney for their case.
When you think of all that you need to do to have your rights protected in the most important area of their life, an attorney can help to make that process so much easier. Your job as a family law attorney is to be there for them. You are their voice in every area.
Family Law Practice Areas
Family law practice areas range from the needs that arise when representing every member of the family. If there are children in a case, the child may even get their lawyer appointed to them to ensure that their rights and best interests are maintained and preserved. When you consider how emotional people can be during a family law matter, the courts consider that their objectivity in finding the best interests can be impacted. So in many cases, children get their own representatives.
That can be a social worker, but it can also be a children’s attorney. Some cases of family law will go towards a criminal referral. One party may need help from a criminal defense law office as well. While this is not one of the specified family law practice areas, it can happen during a family law matter. A good family law attorney will know how and when to refer a litigant they are representing to other attorneys as needed.
That does not mean that the family law attorney will release the case. In most cases, it means the family law attorney will continue to handle the family law matter, while other attorneys represent the litigant in other matters when that happens. A good family law attorney will know what referrals the family needs when, and how that will help their case.
Most people who want to become family law attorneys are interested in family law practice areas because they want to help families. A key tenet of the family law system in the United States and across North America is that the family law system is not meant to be vindictive or vexatious, despite how emotional the litigants may be. Every family law attorney will ensure their litigants handle the matters with practical sense and very little emotions.
The family law system is designed to find what is in the best interests of the litigants, and any children involved. If your client has been married for 35 years and they are fighting over an inheritance, or could during this matter, an estate planning attorney can help. This happens all the time. A family law attorney is going to help this family get what they deserve.
What may happen otherwise is one of the litigants gives up on the family inheritance because they don’t want to fight. Family attorneys will make sure the party they represent gets what they deserve and have their rights protected the entire time. Family law is all about helping families navigate a crisis and come out the other side with the least amount of scars.
Creating Documents for Families
A large part of the family law process is paperwork. For everything that gets discussed during the family law process, there is a paper trail made. This includes every email that you send to your client, every motion that you file, and every court appearance where an order is made. Litigants can self-represent a lot easier today.
However, once they realize what it takes they can get frustrated. Every motion can require multiple copies and different levels of service. Clients need to get confirmations of court appearances to the courts and administrative offices within very tight deadlines. Where will attorneys only need to handle a few matters, family law documents can be extensive.
You want your clients to feel comfortable and relaxed when they hand their lives over to you. Explain to them that document preparation and filing is an important component of family law practice areas. This will not only save your clients time, but it will also save them emotional grief from worrying about deadlines and doing things right. Your clients should only have to worry about what you need from them while you do the heavy lifting, and document preparation is a tremendous burden you can lift from them.
Having Hard Conversations
Family law conversations are always difficult. This is a crisis point for the family and emotions are going to be high. It will seem to your clients that every decision you want to make is life-changing. The decisions they make will turn into orders that are going to impact the rest of their lives.
You may not have big dramas to deal with for every client. However, everything from a DUI attorney to special needs assessments may be on the list of things to do when helping someone with family law. You will have to have a lot of hard conversations along the way.
If you are getting involved with family law, you are doing so because you want to help families. With the hard conversations will come legal requirements. This will make it very easy for you to have difficult conversations with your clients. In most cases, they will know that difficult conversations are coming. Lead with your heart, and the law, and help them to make the choices that they can live with.
Defending Families Rights
The most important thing to remember when you are navigating family law practice areas is that you are responsible for defending the rights of your client. This can be easy to remember sometimes when you are also dealing with other crises in the family. You may have to refer clients to a criminal lawyer, or a criminal law attorney may be referring clients to you. What is happening in the case is not as important as protecting and fighting for your client’s rights.
Every family law case is going to have the parties asking for something. It will be your job to determine if the ask from the other side is reasonable, and fight for or against that. At the same time, you will need to make some asks yourself for your clients. You will learn of the many different ways you can ask for things for your client when studying the different family law practice areas.
Pointing Clients to Proper Assistance
Your clients are coming to you because they see your experience in family law practice areas. Every family law matter is a permanent turning point for a family. Part of your job will involve pointing clients to proper assistance. This assistance will help to ensure that they make the best case for themselves.
There are several different things you may ask your clients to do to get the best results in court or during negotiations. Addiction treatment facilities for example can help clients tremendously. The courts will look much more favorably on this with a client than on a client with a problem that needs to go there. You will learn the best ways to get help for your clients and their crises with more practice of the law.
Dealing With Tough Situations
Difficult situations and surprises come up in every family law matter. They don’t always involve crime and addiction centers. You may find that a family that looks good on paper financially ends up needing a foreclosure defense attorney during a divorce. Divorces shatter lives in so many different ways, and these situations are going to come up a lot.
Among the many different family law practice areas for you will be to learn what a family can and can not handle. You will get to know the parties very well during the case. Your job as their family law attorney will be to be there for them as the solution. You will want them to manage some details, but they will expect that you will be there for them in many of these difficult situations.
Being in Children’s Best Interests
At the same time, among the tough situations will be situations that need to keep the children’s best interests in mind. When clients hear the phrase “best interests” they have a vision. This may not always be in line with what best interest law in family law is all about. Every family court in the country has stipulations on how best interest law is defined.
In most states, the laws are identical across the land. Best interest law pertains to maintaining the same quality of life for a child that they would have had before this incident. Many different particulars for that can vary from child to child even within the same family. You may even need referrals or consults from people like an IEP lawyer to help special needs families maintain the best interests of the child.
The best interest component of family law can be complex from case to case. Families move locations, have different holidays, they may even have different religions. At the same time, the children may have special needs where best interests are a different definition to the parents than they would be to the law. As a family law attorney, it will be your job to help the families come to terms with the changes that will be in the best interests of the child.
You also will have to explain that to litigants well in advance. What they think are best interests may not be in the best interests of the child in court. As your clients navigate change, you will help them come to accept you are fighting for what is best for them.
When you are a family law attorney, the many family law practice areas that interest you will become an enriching part of your life. There is nothing more rewarding than helping families pass the turning point of a very serious crisis. You can lead with your heart and the law in family law, and still help people the way that you dreamed of when you chose this career. This will get you closer to the win for your clients every time.