What Does a Family Attorney Do?
Family attorneys assist clients with legal matters involving families and family relationships. Divorce, child custody, alimony, paternity, child emancipation, domestic violence, and adoption are just a few of the issues these lawyers handle. Family attorneys help guide their clients through some of the most stressful events in life. In addition to skills in litigation and negotiation, lawyers in this specialty need to possess some counseling skills to help navigate emotionally charged situations. Family-related issues can often be intense, and working as a family attorney can be stressful.
A family attorney should also have some basic knowledge of accounting and financial matters. They frequently have to deal with dividing assets during a divorce, alimony payments, or child support issues, and present financial plans and proposals in court.
Are you a job seeker?
of job openings
and apply online
National Average Salary
Family attorney salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a Family Attorney is:
Family Attorney Job Descriptions
It’s important to include the right content in your job description when hiring a family attorney. The following examples can serve as templates for attracting the best available talent for your team.
Family attorneys work to resolve matters and domestic relations between members of the same family. They may oversee issues dealing with marriage, adoption, child custody, divorce, and guardianship. They may be involved with child protective proceedings, juvenile law, and paternity cases. A successful family attorney seeks objectivity. They also must be articulate, responsive, and assertive. In-depth experience is a plus. A lawyer with a lot of experiential knowledge often has a far better ability to apply and interpret law than one who’s just started off, because family matters can be very complex and creativity is often essential. [Your Company Name] is hiring committed and motivated family lawyers to take our company to new heights. If you have experience with monitoring and overseeing family matters, a family lawyer position at our company may suit you.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Draft motions, marriage and divorce agreements, division of assets, and child custody documents
- Appear at court hearings to argue motions or represent a client in a trial
- Negotiate with clients and opposing attorneys
- Assist clients with navigating family court
Education and experience
This position requires a Juris Doctorate as well as a license to practice law in the state where the candidate will work.
Courses in basic accounting, finance or law school specialization in child custody issues, property rights, and related subjects are preferred.
Required skills and qualifications
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Knowledge of federal and state laws and regulations regarding marriage, divorce, child custody, and division of assets
- Research skills
- Analytical thinking
- Expertise in negotiation
- Counseling skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- 3+ years of experience working as a family attorney
- Ability to de-escalate situations
- Handle cases from inception through trial
- Engage in Preliminary Legal Strategy Sessions with clients to fully understand the facts and the goals in order to perform legal analysis and legal strategy planning
- Engage with Legal Team to share legal strategy on each case so the legal team can be in alignment with the client’s interest in reaching their goal, the team’s interest in moving clients forward, and the Firm’s interest in creating raving fans
- Communicate with clients and advise clients on key junctures so they fully understand their options and can make a fully informed decision
- Oversee and analyze discovery and legal pleadings drafted by the Legal Team and provide feedback and guidance to create stronger work product and streamlined processes
- Confer with other attorneys on a case with advocacy and professionalism
- Prepare for and present to the Court
- Prepare memorandums to the file and correspondence throughout the case to appropriately apprise team members and the client of the status of the last 2 steps taken and the next 3 steps planned so everyone understands the plans
- Excellent writing skills
- Great Organizational Skills
- Good teamworking skills
- Communication skills
- IT skills
- Proven 5+ years of experience as a matrimonial family law Associate
- Excellent communication skills
- Good understanding of legal strategies and position of clients
- Strong creativity and desire to innovate with new strategies to better serve clients and to streamline our firm
- Ability to multitask and adhere to deadlines in a fast-paced environment
- Great organizational skills and ability to lead and delegate
- Resilient problem-solving skills
- Strong attention to detail including grammar and spelling
- A solid base of customer-service
- Good knowledge of legal research techniques and databases
- Excellent knowledge of basic office programs, Law Management Computer Software, and online applications
- Law Degree
We are looking to hire an experienced family attorney who is fiercely passionate about representing clients facing some of the most challenging times in their lives. Candidates should be adept at preparing necessary legal documents in connection with prenuptial agreements, initiating and finalizing divorces, alimony, child support/child custody, and real estate. Experience in handling legal issues such as child abuse, child custody, and domestic violence is also a must.
- Engage in strategy review sessions with our clients to understand the facts and goals to prepare a case plan for each client
- Communicate with clients and discuss options, strategies and solutions at key junctures of their case so they understand their options and make informed decisions
- Prepare Family Law documents/pleadings; such as, petitions, responses, judicial forms, summons, declarations and affidavits (client, third party, attorney), divorce decrees, temporary and final orders, parenting plans, child support orders, child support worksheets, motions, replies, mediation and/or trial briefs/letters, trial preparation, etc.
- Prepare clients for hearings and trials
- Attend hearings, and trials
- Provide top-quality customer service
- Comfortable with handling a high volume of cases
- Highly developed organizational ability
- At least two years of experience as a family law attorney
- Licensed to practice in the state of Maryland (Federal, DC and/or Virginia is a plus)
- Comfortable learning to use case management software
- Ethical, accountable, professional, and compassionate
The ideal candidate is self-directed, emotionally intelligent, organized, results-oriented, adaptable, confident, and values honesty, responsiveness, and efficiency.
- Ability to work with a team
- Ability to work with a predominantly female client base
- Ability and experience with complex property matters
- Ability and experience with high conflict custody matters
- Ability and experience with domestic violence and other abuse matters
- Ability to manage and direct a team to maximize efficiency and customer service
- Team player as well as a self-directed individual
- Positive attitude, adaptable, and open-minded
- Strong sense of responsibility and ownership
- Desire to succeed and help others
- Efficient and effective
- Experience negotiating and litigating with narcissistic personality types
- Must be organized, detail-oriented, critical thinker, and have excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Must be proficient with Microsoft Word and MS Office 365, including Outlook, Word, and Excel
- Experience with Clio is preferred but not required
- Meet and communicate with clients
- Devise and communicate strategies
- Draft, finalize and customize pleadings, discovery, and other legal documents
- Supervise and delegate work to paralegals and other team members
- Prepare for and attend court hearings, mediations, and depositions
- Communicate with opposing counsel, court personnel, and others in a professional and respectful manner while advocating for clients
- Deliver excellent customer service
- Other lawyerly things
- Comprehensive knowledge of family law (Board certification a plus)
- Minimum of 3 years experience in family law, especially divorce, high conflict personalities, and complex property
- Valid Driver’s license and reliable transportation
- Pass background check and drug test
- Pass interview and other skill testing
Candidate Certification to Look For
The Family Law Specialist Certificate Program
This certificate is offered through the University of Texas at Austin as an online self-paced course. There is a three-part modality to the course: Family Law, Juvenile Law, and an elective that the instructor helps candidates select based upon which fits best with their particular field of interest.
Sample Interview Questions
- What interests you about family law?
- How do you ensure that mediation between family members remains calm?
- Could you explain how you supported clients experiencing emotional or personal challenges during the legal process?
- How much experience do you have drafting divorce agreements, child custody agreements, and prenuptial agreements?
- When it comes to providing legal services to clients, how do you ensure confidentiality and privacy?
- What was the outcome of a challenging family law case you had to resolve, such as a contested divorce or child custody dispute?
- How do you incorporate alternative dispute resolution methods into your practice, such as mediation and collaborative law?
- What strategies do you use to ensure that your clients receive accurate and up-to-date legal advice as changes in family law and regulations occur?
- Have you ever worked with other professionals to support your clients during a family law matter, such as therapists or financial advisors?
- How do you ensure that your clients fully understand the legal process and their options?
- In order to ensure that each client receives the attention and support they need, how do you prioritize and manage multiple family law cases simultaneously?