Dealing with with delicate family issues such as, divorce, child custody issues, death in the family, etc is part of the paralegal job description for those who specialize in family law. So family law paralegals must learn how to remove themselves from the emotional aspect of working with clients in these sticky situations.
Family law firms may specialize in a certain aspects of family law, so a paralegal may not have to worry about all family events that can be negative, but just a few. Some attorneys may work for may specialize in divorce, adoption, wills and estates, etc.
Here are a few specialties within the family law umbrella and some of the paralegal duties required
Marriage is a common specialty within the realm of family law, and paralegals are typically charged with tasks such as drafting prenuptial agreements, preparation of petitions for annulment of marriage, discovery requests, premarital and cohabitation agreements, and many others. Other issues a law firm specializing in marriage would deal with would be domestic partnerships, same sex marriage, common law marriage, etc.
It’s important for paralegals in this area to keep up with the current laws and ever changing legal landscape, as things change from state to state and even by county.
Divorce requires a lot of paperwork, especially in some states like California. Paralegals specializing in divorce may be responsible for scheduling hearings or trials, settling agreements, custody rights, asset allocation, preparing distribution spreadsheets, etc. The divorce process can take anywhere from several months to several years, depending on the cooperation and complexity of the estate of the divorcing couple. If issues cannot be resolved between two parties, even through mediation, then a trial may ensue which will create a lot of litigation duties for the paralegal, including pleadings, discovery, subpoenas, depositions, trials, settlements, and other processes.
Often mediation is required to resolve issues between squabbling couples. During this process, a mediator will hear both sides and assist in coming to an equitable split between assets, outside of the courtroom. Paralegals have litigation duties including pleadings, discovery, subpoenas, depositions, trials, settlements, and other processes.
There are many forms of adoption like open adoption, closed adoption, step-parent adoption, international, etc. Adoption paralegals have duties including drafting petitions for adoption, scheduling and preparing for hearings, drafting post-adoption contract agreements, preparation of a contested adoption, and other legal matters involved with the many different types of adoption.
Hopefully this article has been useful explaining the many different types of paralegal jobs that are available, depending on what area of law and specialty is focused on.