Family lawyers deal with the area of law concerning child custody matters, marriage and divorce. Family lawyers also handle cases involving juveniles; they can be hired to represent a child in delinquency proceedings. In divorce cases, family lawyers take care of a variety of things for their clients.
Dissolving a marriage should never be taken lightly, and in certain cases, the family lawyer must find out whether their client has been to marital counseling. In many areas, mediation is required on all visitation and custody issues, as well as those regarding the payment of maintenance and the division of marital property. The mediation must be completed before the court can rule on the case, and it eases the way for an easier settlement of the case.
When mediation is unsuccessful in resolving all the issues in a divorce case, family lawyers represent their clients on them. There is no jury trial provision in divorce cases, and the lawyer may also help their client in matters that arise after the divorce is final, such as modification of spousal support or child custody agreements.
Those considering the adoption of a child may also hire a family lawyer; here, the lawyer will assist their client in finding a reputable adoption agency. Family lawyers are responsible for drawing up adoption petitions and getting their clients ready to testify to support their case, if necessary. In contested adoption cases, the lawyer's job is to prove that it's in the child's best interest that the adoption goes forward. In some cases, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to ensure that the adoption progresses in a way that benefits the child.
Family lawyers serve as a guardian ad litem in some juvenile court matters. Here, the lawyer represents a child accused of committing a crime. Children accused of crimes have the same rights as an adult does, except for the right to a jury trial and the right to post bail. It is the lawyer's job to reach a beneficial result for the child.