Family law area of practice
Family law is one of the more challenging specialities, insofar as it involves counselling people through particularly difficult periods of their lives. As a family law practitioner, you’ll help your clients navigate divorces, property settlement, post-separation parenting arrangements, financial agreements (“pre-nups”), child support disputes and agreements. To a lesser extent, you may also deal with family matters involving State based issues including adoption applications and surrogacy agreements. While some lawyers specialise in one of these processes, many instead maintain a ‘general practice’, advising their clients on a range of issues.
Personality is perhaps more importance for success in family law than in other legal specialities. This is because, as a family lawyer, you’ll frequently meet with clients who are emotionally distressed or dealing with very challenging circumstances (such as the breakdown of a relationship and family situations involving family violence and abuse )
Whether or not this is an advantage or disadvantage depends largely on your disposition. For patient, compassionate and people-oriented graduates, this aspect of family law can be hugely rewarding – you’re in a position to make a real difference in your client’s life. Others may find the interpersonal aspects of family law to be draining or unpleasant.
Graduates who move into family law will quickly find themselves taking responsibility for various tasks, from attending clients meetings and taking notes to preparing briefs and supporting more experienced practitioners during their court appearances. You will also find yourself drafting many diffierent documents, including correspondence, court applications and settlement documents. As noted above, the beginning of your career in family law may involve you developing the ability to remain relatively neutral when faced with emotionally charged situations.
What are my career prospects in family law?
The flow of cases in family law is fairly independent of economic fluctuations. If anything, notes the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the 2008 recession is likely to have generated more work for family lawyers, having increased “uncertainty and fear about the future”, with the “economic and psychological impacts of [rising] unemployment placing relationships under strain”.
You thought Your Marriage was ‘Okay’.
Sure, you and your wife had problems. Just like any other married couple. But you had spent years building a life together. You were committed to continue being a good husband and working through any issues. Sadly, your wife just didn’t feel the same way. You were sitting at your desk at work and, suddenly, a man hands you a stack of papers that changes your life in a instant.
Your Wife has Just Served You with Divorce Papers…
Divorce is emotionally challenging for all men. Unfortunately, some men experience so much guilt and despair about divorce that they give into every demand made by their wives or her attorney, no matter how ridiculous. If your wife filed first for divorce, it means she has been preparing to do it for a while and has a clear plan of what she wants to take with her from your marriage. While you may feel shell shocked, this is no time to surrender.
Even though Your Wife Filed First, it Doesn’t Mean You Lose Your Rights
At Divorce Lawyers, we’re dedicated to helping men just like you. Good fathers and husbands blindsided by wives ready to end years of marriage and take whatever they can get
Divorce cases are not decided by who files first. Still, the person who files first does gain a few advantages. It is important that you understand that by filing first, your wife has started a series of deadlines that you must meet. She has started out prepared with a plan. Now you need to play a little catch up.
Your Wife Already Has a Lawyer
While you may have had no idea you were getting a divorce until you were served, your wife has likely been planning this for a long time. This probably means she has had a divorce lawyer for a while now. Her attorney’s legal team has carefully prepared her Petition as well as other motions and court filings. She has had time to evaluate your assets and work out what she wants to keep once you are gone. You just got dropped into a plan she has been crafting for a long time.
Family Legal Issues
Adoption is the creation of a new, permanent relationship between an adoptive parent and child. Once this happens, there is no legal difference between a child who is adopted and a child who is born into a family.
These programs can help you learn more about adoption and foster parenting:
Child Welfare Information Gateway – offers the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory, where you can find resources by state, as well as information about foster care, including kinship care and residential and group care
International Adoption – information for U.S. citizens adopting children from abroad, and families in other countries adopting U.S. children. Learn about intercountry adoption service providers.
Adoption Resources from MedlinePlus – find links to adoption and foster care resources from a medical perspective to help you, your foster or adopted child, and your other children adapt to change
You may be able to get identifying or non-identifying information about your adoption. What information you can obtain will depend on state statutes. Some states have age restrictions or require court proceedings to get information about an adoptee’s birth.
In some states, you may be able to access identifying information through a mutual consent registry. Using these registries, all involved in an adoption can declare what information may be disclosed. Some states may require the consent of both the birth parents and adoptive parents for the release of records. However, the release of information varies by state.
SECRETS YOUR DIVORCE LAWYER WON’T TELL YOU
If you’re facing a divorce, your expectations have probably been shaped by the experiences of your family and friends, and maybe what you’ve seen on TV and in the movies. The best way to know what to expect from a divorce comes from an objective party who has seen not just one or two divorces, but hundreds: your divorce attorney
You Might Not Get Your Day in Court…
A divorce is a lawsuit, and we usually think of lawsuits as ending in a trial. However, many, if not most lawsuits end in a settlement. This is especially true of divorce, where upwards of 90% of cases settle—and some reports place that figure in the 95-97% range.
…And You Probably Don’t Want To.
Sometimes a trial in a divorce case is necessary, like if one party refuses to come to the table and negotiate or is hiding assets. Most of the time, the couple can do a better job (with their attorneys’ help) of figuring out custody, support, alimony, and property division terms that would work for them than a judge can. Think about it: you know your family, your kids’ needs, your finances, your schedules. Even the best-informed judge can understand only a fraction of what you do about your family.
Your Divorce Lawyer Might Not Have Much Trial Experience.
If most divorces don’t go to trial, that means many divorce attorneys don’t have a lot of trial experience. Why does that matter if your case is likely to settle anyway? Because when you settle, you want it to be because you’ve reached a good agreement—not because your attorney wants to avoid a trial he or she isn’t confident in handling.
You Have More Control Over Your Legal Bill Than You Think…
Yes, attorney fees can be costly, and add up quickly. But your attorney may not tell you what you can do to keep them down unless you ask. You should ask, because there are some simple things you can do to reduce your attorney’s workload, and more importantly, save yourself some money.
Divorce Advice (And It Won’t Cost You a Thing)
Divorce can be costly, as most people know, with each side expected to spend, on average, $15,500, during the process, according to Nolo, a publisher of legal books and software. Many spouses spend a whole lot more.
But he and other family lawyers say there are ways to keep costs down, and maybe minimize your heartache, too. Here is some of their advice — right now free of charge.
Choose the right course.
Opting for arbitration, collaboration or mediation may help you avoid the costs of a lengthy court battle, but each of these paths has its pros and cons. A lawyer can point you in the right direction, but be sure you agree on the path.
law firm, often advocates mediation, where a neutral third party helps a couple work through issues and come to a resolution. (In arbitration, a third party arbitrator makes the final decision.)
She once mediated a case for two years before it came to a halt and ultimately ended up in court. Your lawyer has to be ready to change tack, she said, if things go south.