Family law is a highly emotional legal specialty, as the issues that lawyers of this nature deal with are closely tied to the people and values that matter most to clients.
Often, one's first experience with this area of the law is a result of a difficult or traumatic experience such as child custody hearing, child protective services hearings, or divorce proceedings. These situations involve intense emotions as the relationship between former spouses and/or parents and their children, making an already challenging area of the law even more difficult to navigate. Emotionally charged proceedings create a stressful work environment, which is one reason why many attorneys choose not to practice family law.
However, it is very important as a client choosing a lawyer for this type of situation to make sure that you choose one who has experience and knowledge in this area so that you can be sure that your interests and the best interests of those involved are pursued.
Special issues with children
For example, family lawyers deal with issues of protecting children. The government can choose to place minor in foster care temporarily or to put the children up for adoption and permanently revoke the rights of parents if they feel that the child is in danger. They also work with judges and the courts to determine the emotional costs of divorce on children in an attempt to minimize damage to the children as these proceedings are conducted. These decisions can be painful and difficult for all parties, which is why it is particularly advantageous to have an experienced and skillful attorney on your team.
Regarding these difficult and complex issues, the law can often be vague and unclear, leaving a great deal of room for interpretation and confusion. For this reason, courts across the United States and in Louisiana often allow for family lawyers to use the option of "collaborative family law" as a way to resolve these issues without formal, traditional proceedings. Through cooperation, the parties involved can attempt to resolve their conflicts without the costs, time, and distress involved with conventional courtroom resolution.
In some cases, this works out very well for both parents and children. However, this is not universally the case, and if collaboration fails to settle the problems out of court, clients need to be prepared to take the issue to trial. A lawyer who has worked in family law for many years has participated in both collaborative settlements as well as formal trials and will be able to guide you through this trying process.
The issues covered by family law are very broad, ranging from simple divorces to end short marriages that involve no children to domestic violence and even paternity suits. Deciding what is best for clients can involve any number of specialists and governmental agencies.
If this sounds overwhelming, it is because resolving family law issues can be incredibly difficult and complex. However, lawyers who have chosen this as their practice are able to explain one's options and help them choose the best path for a resolution that serves the best interests of all parties.