What Does a Family Lawyer Do?

What Does a Family Lawyer Do?

Family lawyers are legal professionals who deal with various issues that affect family relationships, such as divorce, adoption, child custody, domestic violence, and more.

They represent their clients in court, negotiate settlements, draft documents, and offer advice on their rights and options.

family lawyers can also help with estate planning, prenuptial agreements, surrogacy, and other matters that involve family law.

If you are interested in becoming a family lawyer or hiring one for your case, this article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on what family lawyers do, how to become one, what skills they need, and how much they earn.

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what does a family lawyer do?
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What is Family Law?

Family law is a branch of law that covers legal issues and disputes that arise between family members or domestic partners. Family law can be divided into three main areas: matrimonial law, finance law, and child law.

  • Matrimonial law deals with the formation and dissolution of marriages and civil partnerships, as well as the legal consequences of separation and divorce. It also covers issues such as annulment, spousal support, property division, and marital agreements.
  • Finance law deals with the financial aspects of family relationships, such as maintenance, alimony, child support, pensions, inheritance, and taxes. It also covers issues such as financial disclosure, asset tracing, valuation, and enforcement.
  • Child law deals with the rights and welfare of children in family matters, such as custody, visitation, adoption, guardianship, paternity, child protection, and juvenile delinquency. It also covers issues such as parental responsibility, relocation, abduction, education, health care, and special needs.

Some family lawyers choose to specialize in one of these areas, while others maintain a mixed practice that covers various aspects of family law.

What Does a Family Lawyer Do?

Family lawyers work with a range of clients who are facing legal challenges or seeking advice on their family matters. They can act as advocates, mediators, counselors, or advisors depending on the situation and the needs of their clients. Some of the common tasks that family lawyers perform include:

  1. Resolving disputes

    Family lawyers try to help their clients resolve their conflicts amicably and efficiently through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, arbitration, or collaborative law. These methods aim to avoid litigation and promote cooperation and communication between the parties.

  2. Representing clients in court

    If a dispute cannot be settled out of court, family lawyers represent their clients in court proceedings such as hearings or trials. They prepare and file the necessary documents such as petitions or motions; they examine and present evidence; they cross-examine witnesses; they make arguments; and they advocate for their client’s interests and rights.

  3. Drafting documents

    Family lawyers draft various legal documents that are required or beneficial for their client’s cases or situations. These documents may include contracts such as prenuptial or postnuptial agreements; orders such as divorce decrees or custody orders; wills or trusts; or letters or notices.

  4. Advising clients

    Family lawyers advise their clients on their legal options and consequences regarding their family matters. They explain the relevant laws and procedures; they assess the strengths and weaknesses of their cases; recommend the best course of action; and they answer any questions or concerns that their clients may have.

  5. Liaising with other professionals

    Family lawyers often work with other professionals who are involved in their client’s cases or situations. These professionals may include psychologists, social workers, doctors, accountants, appraisers, or investigators. Family lawyers coordinate with them to obtain information, evidence, or opinions that may support their clients’ cases or interests.

How to Become a Family Lawyer

To become a family lawyer in the UK, you need to complete the following steps:

  1. Obtain a law degree: You need to have an undergraduate degree in law (LLB) from an accredited university. If you have a non-law degree, you can take a conversion course such as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) to qualify for further legal training.
  2. Complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC): This is a one-year course that provides you with the practical skills and knowledge that you need to work as a solicitor. You can choose to specialize in family law by taking elective modules that cover topics such as divorce, childcare, and domestic abuse.
  3. Secure a training contract: This is a two-year period of supervised work experience at a law firm or an organization that offers legal services. You need to complete at least three seats (rotations) in different practice areas, one of which can be family law. You also need to complete the Professional Skills Course (PSC) during your training contract.
  4. Qualify as a solicitor: After completing your training contract, you can apply to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to be admitted as a solicitor. You can then practice as a family lawyer or pursue further qualifications or accreditations in family law.

What Skills Do Family Lawyers Need?

Family lawyers need to have a range of skills that enable them to perform their tasks effectively and professionally.

Some of the key skills that family lawyers need include:

1. Communication skills

Family lawyers need to communicate clearly and persuasively with their clients, colleagues, opponents, judges, and other professionals. They need to listen actively and empathetically; they need to speak confidently and eloquently; they need to write accurately and concisely; and they need to use appropriate language and tone for different situations and audiences.

2. Research skills

Family lawyers need to research relevant laws, cases, facts, and evidence for their client’s cases or situations. They need to use various sources such as books, journals, databases, or websites; they need to analyze and evaluate the information that they find; and they need to apply it to their client’s cases or situations.

3. Negotiation skills

Family lawyers need to negotiate settlements or agreements for their client’s cases or situations. They need to identify and understand their client’s goals and interests; they need to assess and anticipate their opponents’ positions and strategies; they need to propose and respond to offers and counteroffers; and they need to reach mutually acceptable outcomes that satisfy their clients’ needs and expectations.

4. Problem-solving skills

Family lawyers need to solve problems that arise in their clients’ cases or situations. They need to identify and define the problem; they need to generate and evaluate possible solutions; they need to implement and monitor the chosen solution; and they need to review and revise the solution if necessary.

5. Interpersonal skills

Family lawyers need to interact with various people who are involved in their client’s cases or situations. They need to establish rapport and trust with their clients; they need to cooperate and collaborate with their colleagues; they need to respect and manage their opponents; they need to be courteous and professional with judges and other professionals; and they need to handle emotions and conflicts effectively.

Conclusion

Family lawyers are legal professionals who deal with various issues that affect family relationships, such as divorce, adoption, child custody, domestic violence, and more. They represent their clients in court, negotiate settlements, draft documents, and offer advice on their rights and options. Family lawyers can also help with estate planning, prenuptial agreements, surrogacy, and other matters that involve family law.

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