Taking classes to receive my paralegal certificate from AIPS was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. I thoroughly enjoyed every class that I took and would recommend the program to all those who may be interested in starting or continuing a legal career! I took the 4 month accelerated program and while this was challenging, I will say that the extra efforts were absolutely worth my time.
This was a great program. I really enjoyed having small classes with a more focused relationship between professor and student. I feel fully prepared to step into my legal career.
Helping Families in Crisis
It has been said that the health of families reflects the health of society. If that is an accurate statement, then there must be a system in place to aid families in crisis. Aid may come in the form of counseling or legal intervention, if a specific family matter deems it necessary. Family Law is the area of law that addresses the needs of families in crisis. It is a broad area of law.
Family Law – A Definition
Family Law addresses legal issues that arise in families or other personal relationships.
Family Law Issues
Some of the most common Family Law issues are juvenile criminal or dependency matters, marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, domestic abuse, property settlement issues, parental responsibility and plans for shared parenting.
Example of Family and Juvenile Court
If a family matter cannot be resolved by counseling or mediation, the matter will go before a judge or court commissioner. There are a few unified family courts around the country where all family-related matters are heard. One example of a unified family court is the Thurston County Family and Juvenile Court in Washington State, where innovative concepts have been implemented to aid families in distress. It is the court where only Family Law matters are heard. To get an idea of the function of this court, go to http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/fjc/index.asp.
The Role of the Family Law Paralegal
The Family Law paralegal is part of the legal team retained, or appointed, to help families in distress. Following are a few of the duties of a Family Law paralegal:
- Draft legal documents for attorney use
- File pleadings with the court
- Interact with clients
- Gather deposition documents and organize deposition exhibits
- Assist in trial preparation, including interviewing potential witnesses, assisting with pre-trial documents, preparing subpoenas, and organizing all trial-related files and documents
- Act as liaison between trial attorneys and court personnel and outside agencies
- Use case management software to manage case files and documents
- Prepare child worksheets, affidavits and parenting plans
The Importance of Paralegal Training
If you are interested in a career as a Family Law paralegal, you need to advocate for yourself by receiving the training you need. A Paralegal Certificate and national certification (www.nala.org) is highly beneficial. The following AIPS online paralegal courses will help you meet your career goal:
- Family Law
- Legal Research
- Criminal Law
- Business Law
- Workshops: Lexis, Ethics, Law Office Skills, Administrative Law, Writing, Citation, Judgment & Analysis