If you are considering a legal career in family law, you should understand all of what goes on in this very large and diverse field of law.
The term family law refers to a broad practice area of all the legal issues that families confront. Some of these include the following: divorce, spouse support, child support, child custody, partition of assets/liabilities, adoption, terminating parental rights, paternity, child abuse/neglect, protection from abuse.
In family law, you have the chance to be not just a lawyer who assess and advises a client on her legal rights. You also can assist a person through a very trying time in her life. You will find it most rewarding to help someone through such a painful period of her life. This area in the law field can be one of the most personally satisfying for this reason.
On the other hand, you may find that working on family law cases can be very stressful and upsetting to you personally. It can be hard to see your client become so upset during the hearings and interviews. One of the hardest parts of family law is when one or both parties is determined to make the process as painful as possible to cause the other person as much pain and stress as possible.
Each day in your career in family law, you will be confronted with new issues and problems from your clients that you need to resolve fast. For example, you might have to handle a custody exchange that was missed, or a fight about how to deal with the custody of a child over Christmas, or what to do when one person takes money out the bank account of the other.
You will find that new issues come up every day in this field of law. It can make crossing things off your to do list quite difficult! The list can seem to keep growing no matter how much you think you take care of. You will typically spend many days returning telephone calls, negotiating small issues with the other spouse's attorney, writing correspondence, preparing pleadings for the next court date and attending hearings and motions.
You will take a lot of your week in family law being in court for hearings. These can last 5 minutes or a few hours. Sometimes you will a trial that lasts for days.
The employment prospects for lawyers in this field are growing because more people are getting divorced. Also, there is a good deal of turnover in this field of law because it is a stressful career.
If you want to be an effective litigator in this area of the legal field, you need to be both a good litigator and negotiator. You need to manage your time well, because this field of law has a lot of interruptions and changes of schedule. It also is very helpful if you are good at counseling others who are going through a very upsetting time of their lives.
You also should be able to deal with accounting and finances well so that you can give advice to your client, and so you can present financial data effectively to the court.
Family law is a very exciting legal field, but there is a lot to learn and digest. Hopefully the information here will encourage you to dig further to see if this career is for you.