Paralegals are legal workers who are responsible for assisting and supporting attorneys with their cases in addition to handling legal matters of the organizations for which they work. Mostly they are seen working on one area of the law within a specific legal practice area.
There are many types of paralegals, all specializing in different fields, such as corporate paralegals, criminal law paralegals, family law paralegals, and so on.
Family law paralegals assist attorneys who help clients with cases related to divorce, child custody, child support, restraining orders, paternity determinations, guardianships, and adoptions.
See: What is a Paralegal?
Duties of a Family Law Paralegal
Unlike corporate paralegals, family law paralegals work on commitments apart from just filing and preparing documents. Though they are often restricted to providing legal advice or settling fees, they tend to take on more advanced responsibilities.
Family Law Paralegals proceed with communicating with their clients, along with their attorneys, in order to collect all of the required details for the case. Post that, family law paralegals are expected to fulfill responsibilities such as:-
As a family law paralegal, you’ll most likely be working on different types of petitions. These can include divorce petitions, child custody petitions, child support petitions, spousal support petitions, or modifications of existing orders, among others. Each type of petition has its own requirements and forms.
Interacting with clients
Family law paralegals need to have good communication skills in order to explain legal processes, procedures, and paperwork in an easy-to-understand manner to the clients. As a paralegal, you should generally avoid using legal jargon while relaying any information to a client while also addressing any questions or concerns your clients may have.
Read: Paralegal Skills
Investigating income, lifestyles, and other factors
This is one of the most important responsibilities wherein family law paralegals are required to go through the clients’ financial documents, such as tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, and investment statements.
They can also schedule interviews with the client to go through their income sources, employment history, and any other relevant financial details. It’s highly essential to ask open-ended questions and allow the client to provide comprehensive responses.
A family law paralegal must also collect comprehensive information about each potential witness. This may include their full name, contact details, relationship to the client, occupation, and a brief description of their potential testimony. They must also obtain any supporting documents or records that can establish their credibility or the relevance of their testimony.
Research and legal writing
Research and legal writing is one of the main duties of a paralegal. As a family law paralegal, you must have the knowledge and know-how to go around legal resources in order to write legal reports. Such resources might include case reporters, regulations, legal databases, legal reviews, statutes, and online sources.
What are the Requirements to Become a Family Law Paralegal?
In order to be a family law paralegal, you will be expected to become a regular paralegal first. The requirements of becoming a paralegal may vary, but in most cases, however, they are expected to have at least an associate degree in paralegal studies.
Apart from obtaining a degree, paralegals are expected to be well versed in technology and have good communication skills as they have to constantly deal with different types of audiences, in addition to conducting thorough legal research and organization.
While it’s not necessary, having specialized knowledge about family law matters or earning certifications such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) may help your resume stand out in front of employers (More on: Paralegal Certification).
Also see: How to Become a Paralegal
Family Law Paralegals: Salary & Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median national salary for paralegals and legal assistants was reported to be $59,200 annually. However, If you get an opportunity to work in a big law firm or in a major city, there are chances you might be paid more.
See: Paralegal Salary
Paralegals are generally in high demand as attorneys usually require their help for various responsibilities. Big law firms usually recruit in-house legal teams and later expand as and when required. Due to these developments, the BLS has also predicted job growth of 14.1% through 2031, which is much faster than average as compared to other occupations.
Also read: Paralegal Degree
Where do family law paralegals work?
Family law paralegals work in various settings within the legal field.
Some common places where they work are:-
Family Law Paralegals are primarily employed by law firms that specialize in family law. These law firms handle various cases related to family matters, which may include divorce, child custody disputes, adoption proceedings, domestic violence cases, and other legal issues pertaining to families. Family Law Paralegals play a crucial role in assisting attorneys in the preparation, organization, and management of legal documents and case files related to these family law matters.
In addition to law firms specializing in family law, Family Law Paralegals can also be employed by government agencies that handle family law matters. These government entities may include child protective services, social services departments, and state or local family courts.
Nonprofit organizations dedicated to offering legal assistance and support to individuals and families with limited financial means are prevalent. Within such organizations, Family Law Paralegals can be found working to provide aid. These nonprofit organizations primarily focus on serving low-income individuals, ensuring they receive the necessary legal aid and support.
Legal Aid Clinics
Family Law Paralegals are often employed in legal aid clinics, which are dedicated to providing free or low-cost legal services to individuals who typically lack the financial resources to afford private representation. These clinics aim to bridge the access to justice gap by offering assistance in various legal matters, including family law. Their involvement helps ensure that individuals in need receive the necessary legal support despite their financial limitations.
Corporate Legal Departments
As previously mentioned, large corporations or businesses often maintain in-house legal departments that handle a wide range of legal matters, including family law. Family Law Paralegals may be employed within these in-house legal departments to assist attorneys with tasks such as legal research, document preparation, and case management.
Family Law Paralegals actively participate in the dispute resolution process to help resolve conflicts related to family law. They are commonly employed in dispute resolution centers, where they play a pivotal role in assisting mediators and clients throughout the resolution process.
Also see: Paralegal Tips To Fast Track Your Career
Here are a few Paralegal careers you can consider:
- Litigation Paralegal
- Real Estate Paralegal
- Nurse Paralegal
- Remote Paralegal
- Immigration Paralegal
- Criminal Law Paralegal
- Corporate Paralegal
- Divorce Paralegal
- Intellectual Property Paralegal
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