Family law is the area of the law that deals with one of the most central and personal aspects of society–the family. If you are considering a career in family law, the significance of this area of law might be one thing that attracted you to the area. Family law deals with what are highly emotional issues objectively and legally. Despite the strength of emotion involved in many family law cases, justice must still be served to each party.
- Marriage is a time for celebration, and one of the more positive aspects of practicing family law. Couples may seek legal counsel prior to their marriage to discuss their assets as well as what would happen in the event of a divorce. If a married couple wants to negotiate some terms of an eventual divorce before marriage, this is a prenuptial agreement. If they discuss the way their assets will be handled in the event of a divorce after they are married, it is called a postnuptial agreement. Legally, these agreements protect both parties and prevent (potential) later negotiations. They can also give each member of the couple peace of mind, knowing that even if there were harsh feelings between the couple, each would still be treated fairly by the other. While getting a prenuptial agreement might come off as cryptic or negative, it can actually increase trust in the relationship and lessen fears of divorce.
- Divorce is the legal end of a marriage. Family lawyers have to deal with people when they are in one of the worst situations they have ever encountered. Emotions can run very high, and the reasons for divorce may be conflicting between the members of the couple. Part of family law is mediating the couple and helping them deal with their emotions so that a rational and just end to the marriage can be brought about.
Child Custody and Support
- In the case of a divorce, or in the event of any abuse or mistreatment of the children, child custody may need to be negotiated. Family law is important to the lives of many children whose fates are decided by the legal system. Family law is also the area of law that makes sure child support is paid by the obliged parent. Child support may be paid by a parent that has shared custody of the child or by a parent that has no custody rights to the custodial parent. Child support and child custody can be included, but cannot be officially negotiated under the terms of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement because the court has the ultimate decision in this matter. The court can take the document into consideration but is not legally required to follow the agreement as to child custody and support.
- In some cases, family lawyers may have to represent children in court who have been abused or neglected by their parent or guardian. Some family lawyers may specialize in child advocacy. Such attorneys may work as public defenders, in human services agencies or public policy, for example. Family lawyers have the opportunity to use their knowledge of the law and child advocacy to publish research in the area of children’s law and even influence the law.
- In the case of a divorce or under the terms of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the assets of the two people involved in the dispute or negotiation may be divided. Family lawyers must work with both people in a fair and just manner and divide the assets legally and justly.
FOR FAMILY LAW ISSUES CONTACT
Stephen Tumaini Mduma
Chief Executive Officer
SEMKO CONSULTANTS LTD
Dar es Salaam
+255 713 00 00 96