Getting into Family Law as a Profession

Family lawyers deal with divorce, child support, adoption and several other cases. Unlike other lawyers, family lawyers work in a specific setting with a small firm that has 15 or less attorneys. Moreover, lawyers who specialize in family law are mostly associated with NGOs or other government agencies not corporate firms.

In writing this article, I consulted with a reputable law firm out of California.

Specializing in family law requires one to start studying it when they start law school or college. However, certain law schools don’t offer family law as a specialized degree. If that is the case, try to focus your practice on issues related to family law. Moreover, while you are in college, take as many sociology, psychology and counseling courses you can as they will allow you to understand how different members of the family deal and interact with one another. Being a family lawyer is not just about knowing the law as it is in the books. Instead, you also need to know about individual behavior to guide and counsel your clients so that they can make the best decisions regarding family matters.

You should also choose electives that are related to family law. Majority of the law schools offer family law related courses such as traditional family law, alternative dispute resolution, juvenile practices and such. Other courses that you can pick as electives that will benefit you in your family law specialization are income taxation, constitutional law, criminal law and procedure. In addition, you can also study independent programs that most law schools offer. Independent study programs involve working in close coordination with a faculty member to carry out advanced study and research on a mutual legal topic of interest.

By studying courses related to family law in your college years will let you gain an edge over others. Once you graduate college, you should then look out for family law firms and start applying for jobs. When drafting your resume, make sure you focus on any family law experience or related experiences that are related to the field. Moreover, if you don’t have any experience and you’re applying for your first job, make sure you highlight the courses you studied on family law and those related to the subject to give the other person an impression that you know the subject well. It is advisable for family lawyers to start their career with a small firm or an established company that deals with family related issues/cases.

The 411 on Getting Divorced

For whatever reason your marriage might be ending, filing for a divorce is the first step of the procedure. Irrespective of if this marital status change makes you happy or uncertain, it is very important to pay attention to details and know what is required.

Here’s Comedian Eddie Murphy poking fun at divorce by referencing how Johnny Carson lost HALF of his money in his divorce.

Finding A Lawyer

To file for a divorce, you need to find a lawyer. It doesn’t matter if you and your spouse have come to a conclusion about the division of assets and any other legalities involved as it is always best to consult with a lawyer as he or she can guide you through the process in a much better way.

Filing For Petition

You will have to file for petition in order to proceed with the process. You can contact your local court and ask them about whether the petition should be filed within the circuit or superior court. The process of filing a petition varies from state to state. In certain states, you might be asked to file it in a family court whereas in other states, the process might be different.

Type Of Divorce

You also need to decide if you are going to file a no-fault divorce or will you be contesting grounds. A no fault process involves stating irreconcilable differences whereas the other one suggests that one party is at fault.

If you are filing for a no fault, it would not matter as to who files the petition. However, in ground divorce, the person who starts the process will have to file for petition.


Every process involves paperwork. Filing papers for temporary custody is important if you have children with your former spouse. Since all couples look to protect their kids in a divorce process, you should make sure you do the same. Cover all loopholes if kids are involved as you don’t want your kids to bear the negative effects of the process.

Keep Proof

Keeping proof of every step makes the process sound and will help you avoid any problems that may arise in the process. Having proof is important to show that you have filed for divorce and a copy was served to your ex-spouse. Experts recommend getting the papers served in a prestigious manner such as dropping the papers at the lawyers’ office. You should also make sure not to have the papers served to your former spouse at work.

Related Reading: