The law has different branches. There is family law, healthcare law, labor law, building and construction law, and criminal law. Therefore, it is necessary to hire an expert lawyer in the area you wish to be represented.
What does a family lawyer do?
Family lawyers deal with legal family affairs, child custody or child guardianship, alimony, child adoption, wills, and estate, and divorce proceedings. They also represent clients who have gone through domestic violence in court. The lawyers may work independently or work with legal firms or the judiciary. Examples are Retired Judge Richard Scotti who has worked for 30 years as a district court judge at Clark County and Judge-elect Carli Kierny who works at Nevada Judicial District Court.
According to Richard Scotti, “A family lawyer saves money and time the family could have used in going to court. The lawyer protects their relationship.”
Roles and Responsibilities of a family lawyer
Advising clients: “A family lawyer’s main responsibility is to advise clients, especially vulnerable persons such as the elderly and young children on their rights and options as an individual” stated Carli Kierny.
- Drafts, negotiate, and reviews court documents.
- Research previous cases that correlate with the ongoing case.
- Liaise with other professionals like police officers, health workers, social workers, child or general psychologists, and so on.
- Evaluates and examine any beneficial evidence that might be useful to clients.
- Has empathy and manages unpredictable and emotional situations effectively.
Matrimonial law: It deals with legal affairs between members of a family. It is also known as family law. It includes domestic and civil partnership, marital relations, and cessation of such associations like:
Annulment, child custody and support and visitation rights, divorce, dissolution of family properties and finance, paternity issue, child adoption, prenuptial agreement, child protection, juvenile law, and surrogacy. A family lawyer helps to resolve disputes outside the court. If it’s impossible to settle, the lawyer litigates the court case and represents the clients.
Carli Kierny defined annulment as when a married couple breaks up and the marriage is dissolved. Fraud is the leading cause of annulment. For instance, health fraud (hiding a contagious disease by a spouse), marriage fraud, hiding a criminal record, using a fake name, and many more. The affected spouse who is a victim employs the services of a family lawyer and takes the case to court.
Appeals against Previous Judgment: A family lawyer can appeal against any judgment that was erroneously passed that didn’t favor the client. One of the fundamental human rights of any citizen is the right to appeal any previous legal process that was mistakenly made. “It takes time, money, and effort to file an appeal especially when the case has been closed” Judge Richard Scotti emphasizes. He further stated that within 30 days, the client must file the appeal, otherwise, it won’t be accepted.
Child Protection Against Child Abuse: The law is strict with anyone who violates the child protection act. Any abuse against a child is frowned upon and the offender is severely dealt with. A family lawyer must represent a child and work in the interest of the child. If a child is taken from a parent and the parent wants to contest this, the services of a family lawyer are employed. The lawyer needs to have a strong case that can convince the court to release the child back to the care of the parent or guardian.
As a client, it is advisable to tell your lawyer the truth as much as possible to be able to work with the available resources in the court. The lawyer can filter out any loophole that might help you in the case or prevent any mistakes that might work against you.