A family law attorneys job requires a lawyer, who deals with legal issues related to matters of the family. Family legal services include, but are not limited to, pre-nuptial agreements, divorce, child custody, child visitation rights, and co-habitation agreements. This article will describe services provided by a family law attorney for each type of family legal matter.
During a divorce, a family law attorney represents either the husband or wife from the married couple. The lawyer attends all court proceedings, and writes and authorizes legal memos for submission to the courts. The lawyer also supervisors a paralegal and/or secretary who conducts legal research, and drafts letters, legal memos, or other court filings. The lawyer is fully responsible for his work and the work of his supporting staff. Additionally, the lawyer consults with his client, advises him or her of their rights and responsibilities related to the divorce, and advocates for their client during the entire process. During the initial divorce consultation, the family law attorneys fees are discussed with the prospective client.
Another service provided as part of the family lawyer job description is the preparation of pre-nuptial agreements for people before they get married. In providing this service the family law attorneys job is to help their client protect the assets they had accumulated prior to a marriage from being considered marital property in case of a divorce. The lawyer's job is to provide independent counsel for a single party, and to ensure the other party in the marriage receives similar legal counsel from a different and independent lawyer to make the agreement legally binding. Similar to divorce proceedings, during the initial consultation, family law attorneys fees are discussed prior to commencing any work.
Similar to pre-nuptial agreements, co-habitation agreements are a new type of legal document, created by lawyers and accepted by the courts in response a growing number of people living together without being married. Therefore, the family law attorney acts as an agent to help people create an agreement, like a pre-nuptial, which protects the individual assets of each party in case of an end to the co-habitation. These agreements require the same independent legal counsel that pre-nuptial agreements require. They also include the protection of individual property and are legally enforceable in court like the more traditional pre-nuptial agreement. Co-habitation agreements tend to be more comprehensive than pre-nuptial agreements, as these agreements also include contingency plans in case of a separation, because the unmarried couple will have no recourse in divorce court.
Another family lawyers job description is acting as an advocate for a former spouse during child custody proceedings. While this traditionally occurs during the divorce process, a child custody battle is fought between lawyers. The lawyer attends court hearings on behalf of the specified parent, where he or she argues on behalf of the parent and for the child's best interest. Additionally, the lawyer supervises all of his or her support staff in the preparation of legal memos and orders, filings with the court, and manages communications between his or her client with their ex-spouse and the other attorney.
A further family lawyer job description is that of negotiator. Similar to their child custody services, family law attorneys also provide negotiation services supporting visitation agreements during and after a divorce. Normally, during a divorce, the divorcing spouses will consent to a mutual or court ordered child custody agreement. However, if circumstances with either spouse or the child in question change, either spouse may ask their attorney to request a change to the original child custody agreement. There are many reasons why this may happen, and in this case the family law attorneys job is to pursue a revision to the agreement through legal filings, requests, and court orders. As a result, the attorney-client relationship can last for many years beyond the actual divorce proceedings.