There are lots of different types of lawyers, all working on behalf of their clients to reach an agreeable legal conclusion. These lawyers operate within different sectors of the legal system, with various subsets branching off of each. Legal issues between family members fall into the sector of family law, which includes divorce.
What is Family Law?
Family law is one of the biggest sectors of the legal system, consisting of finance law, child law and matrimonial law. Anyone who is seeking to take legal action against another family member will likely consult with and then hire a family law lawyer to represent their wishes.
Family law works to protect the rights of all involved and offer fair representation to both parties. It also seeks to represent people who are involved but do not get a say in the negotiations, such as a divorcing couple’s children. It is a busy sector of the legal system because there are so many domestic legal disputes filed.
How Does Divorce Fit Into Family Law?
Divorce is a subset of family law because pursuing a divorce marks a legal conflict between two people who are legally members of the same family. As such, discussing and negotiating a fair arrangement requires both parties to hire a lawyer well-versed in handling familial issues. Most divorce lawyers are family law lawyers who specialize in divorce.
What Does a Family Law Lawyer Do?
A family law lawyer works with a client to advocate their case, financial or personal, against another member of that same family. This could be representing one spouse in a battle over financial assets, or it could be regarding custody over children or adoption. Family law legal services specifically centers around the family that two people have created together by getting married. In the event of a breakdown, the family law lawyer will handle matters as delicately as possible.
A family law lawyer will be trained to handle important domestic issues that arise when two family members are engaged in a legal battle. Their job is to represent the client who hired them and give them sound legal advice to help bolster their case. Family law lawyers attempt to negotiate these cases outside of court to encourage an amicable settlement, but if that is not possible, they will then represent their client before a judge.
What Does a Divorce Lawyer Do?
A divorce lawyer has exactly the same aim as a family law lawyer: to negotiate a fair and justified settlement for their client. As previously mentioned, divorce is a part of the overarching family law, so a divorce lawyer will dedicate themselves to those same standards. Most often, they are hired to help a couple split their finances and assets in the event of separation, representing them as they legally split from each other.
A divorce lawyer will also advocate during out-of-court meetings in an attempt to settle, but these meetings can progress into court if, again, no settlement is reached. There is a specific focus on
divorce, which allows the lawyer to put aside other broader aspects of family law. They will be able to compare relevant cases based on their experience and work within the divorce subset to help separating spouses settle their legal and financial grievances.
What Are the Main Differences?
While divorce lawyers are almost always family law lawyers as well, there aren’t too many differences to take note of, though some stand out:
- Family law lawyers have multiple responsibilities, divorce lawyers focus solely on divorce.
- Divorce lawyers specialize in handling legal and financial matters between two spouses, family law lawyers handle matters pertaining to the whole family, such as custody of children.
- Not all family law lawyers will choose to handle divorce.
- Family law firms employ divorce lawyers, but divorce law firms will only hire those specializing specifically in divorce.
Which Should You Hire?
It’s important to remember that because of what it pertains, divorce law is part of the family law framework. So, when you hire a divorce lawyer, you are most likely hiring a family law lawyer. If you want to see a nuance between the two, you should compare what a family law firm and a divorce law firm will offer you.
If your legal issues with your spouse are completely financial, a specialized divorce lawyer will be able to help you negotiate a settlement. However, if the problem pertains to custody or visitation of children, a family law lawyer is the more comprehensive choice because they are guaranteed to have specialized in those issues.