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What Does a Family Law Attorney Do?

When a person thinks of a family law attorney, the most common topic that arises is divorce. This is true, most family law attorneys primarily work with couples who are seeking legal separation of their lives, assets, and debts. However, there are interesting jobs a family law attorney has in order to assist in a divorce, as well as other areas of the law, like child custody and adoption, that they assist families with as well.

Divorce

Discovery

Usually, divorce is thought of as dividing assets that the married couple has acquired over the years. While that is a major aspect of divorce, family law attorneys assist in asset division in many ways. There are several types of assets spouses can own, for example, jewelry, art, cars, furniture, retirement benefits, insurance payouts, and bank accounts. There is also debt that needs to be divided, for example, credit cards, loans, taxes, etc. A family law attorney requires hours and hours in order to go through, typically, boxes of statements, receipts, and bank accounts in order to get a clear picture of the current financial landscape. These documents are part of the “discovery” process that takes place after the initial steps.

Mediation

Family law attorneys can also be certified mediators and assist both spouses, as a neutral third party, to help them find solutions. The attorney can prepare all the paperwork, but cannot advise either spouse on what they should do, that would be a conflict of interest. The family law attorney helps the couples communicate calmly about what is most important to them and ensures a positive environment as the couple tries to separate. If the process does not work, however, neither spouse can be represented by the attorney because of confidential information gained during the mediation sessions.

Child Custody

Declarations

Often times, the judge and your family law attorney will find it helpful to submit a declaration outlining facts and information, in your own words, about a certain situation. However, most parents are not familiar with how to write like a family law attorney and what type of information to include that is relevant and important, or emotional and unnecessary. A family law attorney will help you create a declaration that supports your case and advocates for your position. Usually, your family law attorney will interview you and then write it themselves, then have you read over the final draft and sign it.

In addition, it is also helpful for the judge to hear from people in your child’s life in the form of a declaration. These people include neighbors, school teachers or parents, and your family. Again, your family law attorney will interview each declarant and write the declaration. The school teacher or family friend giving the declaration will then read it over and sign it if their words were accurately captured. This can greatly increase your chances in your case.

There are many hats the family law attorney wears, we covered just a few, however, a few other areas a family law attorney practices, including:

  • Trial

  • Adoption

  • Investigation

  • Spousal Support/Alimony

  • Child Support

  • Negotiation

  • Settlements

  • Estate Plans (Estate Plan needs to be changed once you are divorced)

Family law attorneys are extremely beneficial in all areas of family law and can only increase support for your position and assist you with your case expertly.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.