Ever wanted to become a part of the prestigious legal industry without spending thousands on tuition and years in law school?
If yes, we have the best career option for you: you can consider becoming a divorce paralegal.
But what is a Divorce Paralegal?
According to the American Bar Association, a person retained by a lawyer, law office, government agency, or any other entity performing significant legal work is known as a divorce paralegal.
Most of the time paralegals are expected to research on behalf of a lawyer, but they are also responsible for drafting documents for a law firm, or a government agency.
Divorce paralegals, therefore, work for divorce cases, but they may be found working at a family law firm as well.
See more: What is a Paralegal
What does a divorce paralegal do?
As a divorce paralegal, you’ll be required to interact with the clients on matters related to family law and divorce.
After listening to the client’s problems, divorce paralegals critically analyze the dynamics differentiating between divorcing, divorced, and separated couples.
See more on: What Do Paralegals Do
Divorce paralegals have the best knowledge on such matters and guide their clients in the resolution process and correct defense positions that can help clients with their issues.
Due to their unique approach and work experience, they influence their supervising lawyers in many ways. A divorce paralegal also influences judgments to move their client’s cases to the resolution process.
Also see: How to Become a Paralegal
Top Divorce Paralegal Services
A divorce paralegal delivers divorce services which include:-
1. Paralegal Help Filing Divorce Papers
A divorce paralegal helps in preparing different types of divorce papers and documents of children’s legal custody, division of property, etc.
Other services may include working on disclosure statements or discovery packages related to divorce/separation proceedings. Along with this, they may also assist in filing important paperwork.
2. Legal Assistants for Divorce
Divorce paralegals are also seen working as legal assistants wherein they support and assist their lawyers during court proceedings. They help lawyers with preparing divorce notebooks and finding relevant information whenever required, in addition to ensuring the trial runs smoothly without any issues.
3. Undertaking Legal Research as Assigned by the Lawyer
Apart from the paperwork or preparing significant documents, a paralegal is also actively involved in conducting legal research for the ongoing case. They may be expected to find relevant information or facts that can shift the case to their side.
4. Handling Client Interviews
Paralegals also have to take client interviews, collect all the necessary information for the case, and understand their perspectives regarding separation or divorce.
This makes it easier for paralegals to draft different types of documents, prepare essential paperwork, conduct research, and find relevant judgments following the facts of the case.
The main duty of a client is to disclose their agenda related to spousal support, division of property, visitation, and child custody so that the case runs smoothly.
Additionally, such interviews help in identifying the issues and fixing them using the right approach. A lot of the time, paralegals act as liaisons between the clients and the lawyers and many tasks are delegated to them.
The lawyers can thus take on more complex tasks such as attending court proceedings and handling other challenges.
Also see: Paralegal Interview Questions
5. Scheduling Court Dates and Appointments
Scheduling court dates and appointments is also another essential duty of a paralegal. Paralegals set up appointments with clients to prepare them for court proceedings.
Legal assistants are actively involved in lining up the schedules for each client, and ensuring each required document is being prepared for the court proceeding.
6. Guiding How To Submit Divorce Forms
After paralegals are done with the above-mentioned tasks, they will guide you through the process of submitting divorce papers to the court. Additionally, they will also help you to file divorce papers with court clerks to start the legal process.
Along with this, legal assistants help obtain necessary information related to hearings for spousal and child support.
7. Directing How To Serve Divorce Papers to the Spouse
Apart from knowing how to submit the forms, you must also know how to serve the divorce papers to the spouse and what the time limit is for the same.
As a paralegal, you should ensure that the documents are served within 120 days of filing them. A divorce paralegal will assist you in all possible ways on how to draft the documents well and prepare you for the legal process as well.
8. Help in Filling Out Alimony Requests and Child Support Requests
Apart from divorce documents, you may also find legal assistants helping with filing alimony and child support requests with the help of divorce paralegals. However, it’s unreasonable to expect that the paralegals would be able to determine the right amount of your alimony. They can only assist you with the right set of documentation needed for your case.
9. Take You Through the Divorce Process
It is highly recommended to hire a legal assistant who can get you all the help you need during your trial. A divorce paralegal can help you through all the steps in the legal process.
Additionally, they assist you with challenging situations that occur during divorce matters. They work shoulder to shoulder with clients while identifying their goals and supporting them emotionally as well.
Top 3 Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Paralegal
It’s not easy to go through the process of getting divorced, and there are a lot of things to be wary of such as assets, kids, the expenses of an attorney, and the time.
Hiring a paralegal can help you lead the case bring favorable results, and help take some burden off your shoulders.
Let us take a look at some of the benefits of hiring a divorce paralegal:-
- Paralegals Help in Bringing Down Costs-
We know how expensive hiring an attorney can be. This is especially relevant when you’re looking to hire an attorney who can support you in all aspects of your case, including the documents.
An attorney usually has a paralegal who assists them in all the necessary tasks such as paperwork, research, filing the documents, and so on. Most of the important tasks required in a case are done by a paralegal, but still, you get charged for an attorney.
This can be avoided by simply hiring a paralegal since they have almost equivalent knowledge of legal matters to that of an attorney.
- Paralegals Take Care Of Document Preparation
There is a lot of documentation required during divorce procedures, which needs to be sent at the right time and right location as well.
Hiring a paralegal can be the best choice as you can easily rely on them for all the paperwork, including complex and challenging tasks consisting of paperwork and document filing.
- Less Time And Effort Required On Your Part
Dealing with time-consuming procedures requires a lot of commitment on your part. Hiring a paralegal not only saves your time but also ensures taking off the burden of the case from your shoulders.
Top 5 Skills of a Divorce Paralegal
Divorce paralegals require various skills to effectively handle their responsibilities.
Some important skills for divorce paralegals include:
1. Legal Knowledge: Understanding family law and divorce procedures, including relevant statutes, court rules, and regulations, is crucial for managing the case effectively.
2. Document Management: Handling and organizing the numerous documents involved in a divorce case, such as financial records, discovery documents, and disclosures, is essential for efficient filing and trial preparation.
3. Communication: Strong communication skills are necessary for gathering information from both parties and effectively conveying facts and updates related to the case.
4. Research Skills: Researching to find relevant precedents, case laws, and supporting evidence is a vital skill for a divorce paralegal to build persuasive arguments and stay informed about developments in the field.
5. Writing and Drafting: Assisting in drafting legal documents like petitions, complaints, motions, and settlement agreements requires strong writing skills to ensure clarity, accuracy, adherence to legal standards, and effective representation of the client’s position.
Also read: Paralegal Skills
Where Can Divorce Paralegals Work?
Divorce paralegals are commonly employed in law firms specializing in family law or divorce law. The specific characteristics of these law firms may vary, including their size and the types of divorce cases they handle.
However, divorce paralegals can also find relevant opportunities in other settings, such as legal departments within corporations, government agencies, or nonprofit organizations that offer legal aid in divorce matters.
Also see: Where Do Paralegals Work
Within a law firm, divorce paralegals typically work closely with divorce attorneys. Their responsibilities may include handling paperwork, conducting research, drafting necessary documents, organizing and managing case files, communicating with clients, and assisting in preparation for hearings or trials.
Read more: Working as a Paralegal
Can a Paralegal File Divorce Papers?
Yes, divorce paralegals can assist with the preparation and filing of various divorce-related documents. They have the knowledge and expertise to handle a wide range of legal paperwork, including but not limited to demands for notice, cohabitation agreements, divorce judgments, transfer of land documents, support agreements, separation agreements, parenting agreements, counterclaims for divorce, and prenuptial agreements.
Their role is to ensure that these documents are properly prepared, adhere to legal requirements, and accurately reflect the client’s intentions and legal rights in the divorce process.
When Should You Choose A Paralegal Over An Attorney?
Choosing between a paralegal and an attorney depends on the complexity of your divorce case and your needs. Paralegals can provide valuable support in handling administrative tasks and ensuring that proper documentation is prepared.
However, in more complex divorce cases involving children, financial matters, or disputes, it is advisable to seek the expertise of an attorney. Attorneys have extensive legal knowledge and can provide guidance and representation in navigating the complexities of the legal system.
Ultimately, the decision between a paralegal and an attorney depends on the specific circumstances of your divorce and the level of legal expertise and support you require. Consulting with a legal professional can help you determine the best course of action based on your unique situation.
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