Copyright
 

Family Lawyer Career Options and Salary Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a family lawyer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and state licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

View popular schools

In addition to a Juris Doctor degree, family lawyers must also acquire a state law license prior to practicing. Industries that employ lawyers include legal services and government. In 2014, about 1 in 5 lawyers in the United States were self-employed.

Essential Information

Family lawyers handle legal issues such as divorce, legal separation, custody arrangements and adoptions. Individuals must earn a bachelor's degree, complete a J.D. program at law school and then pass their state's bar exam to begin a career as a family lawyer.

Required Education Juris Doctor degree
Other Requirements State law license
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% for lawyers*
Median Annual Salary (2016) $69,499 for family lawyers**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Comparative Law
  • Energy and Environmental Law
  • Financial, Banking, and Securities Law
  • Health Law
  • International Business, Trade, and Tax Law
  • International Law
  • Law Degree
  • PreLaw Studies
  • Programs for Foreign Lawyers
  • Tax Law
  • US Law

Family Lawyer Career Information

The subdivision of legal practitioner referred to as a 'family lawyer' may be further specialized. Family lawyers may concentrate on divorce, domestic abuse or child support, among other possible fields.

Divorce Lawyer

Divorce lawyers work with clients to dissolve a marriage. Laws vary from state to state and may be subject to change, so divorce lawyers must be cognizant of current state laws and regulations. Divorce lawyers help clients determine the most appropriate grounds for divorce within the laws of the state. If there are minor children in a marriage divorce, lawyers may fight for their client in custody suits. This may entail helping the client determine visitation rights and child support payment. Divorce lawyers set up the division of common property and help a client determine proper alimony if it is sought.

Domestic Abuse Lawyer

Domestic abuse is against the law in all 50 states in the U.S. A domestic abuse lawyer may help a client obtain restraining orders to protect him or her from an abusive spouse or significant other. A domestic abuse lawyer should understand the many different types of domestic abuse, including common couple violence, violent resistance and intimate terrorism. A domestic abuse lawyer might help a client fill out and properly submit the proper forms to begin a court case, or they may assist in an existing court case by filing motions and ensuring that appropriate documentation is filed with a judge.

Child Support Lawyer

Child support lawyers help clients enact the legal proceedings to collect child support from a former spouse. This commonly entails filing appropriate paperwork to obtain a court order. A child support lawyer may work with a client to determine paternity through DNA testing, or assist a step-parent to establish in loco parentis, which formalizes the step-parent's intentional assumption of the duties of a natural parent to his or her step-child.

Family Lawyer Career and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roughly one-fifth of lawyers were self-employed in 2014. In general, lawyers earned a median annual salary of $115,820 as of May 2015, per the BLS (www.bls.gov). PayScale.com reported in January 2016 that family law attorneys earned median annual pay of $69,499.

In particular, salaries vary by city of residency. In 2015, lawyers in the New York, NY/White Plains, NY/Wayne, NJ area earned an average of $167,990 annually, while those in the Boston, MA/Cambridge, MA/Quincy, MA area earned an average of $164,230 annually, reported the BLS.

Some of the areas a family lawyer may specialize in are child support, divorce and domestic abuse. Understanding the demands of the job, including the required educational background and working hours, are important factors to consider when determining if this is the right career for you.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Master of Science in Legal Studies
    • MS in Criminal Justice
    • BS in Criminal Justice
    • AAS in Legal Support and Services
    • AAS in Criminal Justice
    • Pathway to Paralegal Postbaccalaureate Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • BA: Criminal Justice
    • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
    • AA: Criminal Justice

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Arts in Government - Law and Public Policy
    • Master of Arts in Law - General Legal Studies
    • Master of Arts in Law - Criminal Justice
    • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies
    • Bachelor of Arts in Government - Pre-Law
    • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Government
    • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Criminal Justice
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Criminal Justice

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • A.S. in Legal Studies
    • A.S. in Criminal Justice

    Education Level:

  • What is your age?

    • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Career Diploma - Legal Secretary

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?