Family lawyers, as the name suggests, work closely with families through times good and bad. They represent spouses during divorces, help resolve issues of custody and support and facilitate adoptions and end-of-life planning. (reference 3) A typical day for a family lawyer may involve drafting a will, attending a divorce hearing and meeting with new clients. A family lawyer will represent her clients and make sure the outcome is as much in her best interest as possible. (reference 5)
Divorce and Child Custody
Family lawyers can help through all phases of a divorce, from the initial filing to resolving issues relating to child support, child visitation and property division. (reference 2) Family lawyers also draft prenuptial agreements, (reference 1) which can help lessen conflict if the marriage ends. When children are part of a divorce, a family lawyer will recommend and help implement fair custody and visitation arrangements. (reference 2) While a family lawyer puts her client’s needs first, she may also act as an advocate for the children and make sure any agreement the couple makes is in the children’s best interests.
Spousal and Child Support
Most divorces result in someone owing spousal and/or child support. (reference 2) Child support covers child-related expenses, such as education, medical care and clothing. Spousal support covers expenses including medical care, food and transportation. Family lawyers make sure their clients get what they’re owed, not just on paper but also if the person who owes the support doesn’t pay. (reference 2)
Before adopting a child, prospective parents must meet certain requirements, such as proving they will be fit parents. A family lawyer can help a couple meet these requirements and file any necessary paperwork. Family lawyers can also help a single person or a same-sex couple through the adoption process.
A family lawyer can help draft paperwork that will protect your relatives at the time of your death, make sure they know your feelings about taking life-saving measures if necessary and make sure your belongings are distributed in line with your wishes. (reference 5) Your family lawyer will review the differences between will, trusts, living trusts, living wills, health care directives or proxies and powers of attorney. (reference 5) After your death, your lawyer will also work closely with and help your survivors or appointed beneficiaries.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.