What does a family lawyer do?
Family law deals with domestic relations and family-related issues. Most family law practices focus on
representing clients in the issues and a divorce-related to divorce like the division of marital property, kid custody and support, and alimony. Family lawyers also draft postnuptial and prenuptial agreements
and litigate related matters. In addition, some family lawyers represent perpetrators or, perhaps, victims of domestic violence in civil protection order proceedings and defend clients accused of domestic violence in criminal proceedings.
Guardianship and adoption, juvenile delinquency, neglect, and kid abuse are also areas of family law.
5 Maryland circuit courts have Family Divisions that adjudicate divorce, alimony, custody, kid support,
visitation, marital property, paternity, adoption, juvenile delinquency matters, hearings for kids in need of assistance (dependent and neglected), and civil protection order cases. These cases typically involve
contested hearings before both masters and judges.
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While several family lawyers have developed a specific specialty, such as adoption law, most family lawyers have expertise in various practice areas. Additionally, family lawyers must have a wide
range of legal skills as they draft and negotiate contracts, pleadings, and any other legal documents; litigate contested matters; counsel clients on the legal rights of theirs and options; as well as attempt to resolve disputes. They also must have exceptional interpersonal skills and be adept in managing emotionally volatile situations.
Where can I practice family law?
Many family lawyers work in small law firms specializing in midsized law or family law firms with a family law practice. Others work in nonprofit legal services organizations that represent income clients that are low in
various family law matters. Attorneys with the Maryland Office of Public Defender, Kids in Need of
Defense (CINA) Division provides legal representation for guardians and parents in court proceedings regarding the child’s abuse or perhaps neglect. Most State’s Attorney’s offices have specialized units which handle
domestic violence, kid abuse, and kid support matters.
How can I get a job as a family lawyer?
Choose to fulfill the Family Law Area of Concentration. Take all the classes offered on family law. Consider
having a tax course. Participate in the Family Law Clinic; the Family Mediation Clinic; the Family Law
Workshop; or perhaps the Center for Families, Kids, and the Courts Pupil Fellows Program in case you can. Join the
Family Law Association, the Maryland State Bar Association Family and Juvenile Law Section, and the American Bar Association Section of Family Law and attend events. Develop your advocacy and litigation
skills by participating in Moot Court. Be a qualified mediator by taking the training program offered by
UB’s Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. Volunteer with a nonprofit that provides family lawrelated legal services, like the Female’s Law Center of Maryland, the House of Ruth, or perhaps the Legal Aid
Bureau of Maryland. Work as a law clerk at a law firm that specializes in family law.
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