Becoming a family attorney is neither an easy nor a quick process. Education alone can take around 7 years which includes a Bachelor’s degree. Some aspects that contribute to being a family lawyer include education, state certification, and exams. Landing a job as a family lawyer is something else to handle. Most family lawyers operate with established law firms while others find it comfortable to work independently. let us see how much money does a family lawyer make.
How Much Money Does a Family Lawyer Make?
Domestic lawyer earn a range of money depending on a set of ever-changing factors such as location, experience, and the type of family law one is practicing. Highly paid lawyers make more than $208,000 annually, while those in the bottom 10% make under $58,000. The opportunities line of work is increasing, and the demand is high for those in the specialty field.
What Are the Education Requirements for A Family Lawyer?
The main reason why domestic attorneys earn more than other professions is their substantial amount of education. One has to undergo an undergraduate degree in criminology, criminal justice, or government. If a candidate gets higher marks, they will increase their chances of law admission to the school. Once you are through with the undergraduate program, you must take the Law School Admission Test that evaluates the student’s ability to think logically and analytically. Students with high percentiles get a chance to attend better law schools translating into higher salaries and job placement in bigger firms.
Once one is through with the BA, letters must be written, LSAT taken, and the student can start the law classes. To prepare a student to be a lawyer, one must undertake the Juris Doctor (JD) for three years for full-time students. American Bar Association (ABA) accredited schools prepare students for the basics of laws and allow them to specialize in areas such as family law. Taking the bar exam is a must if you want to start practicing law as a profession. Note that each state has state exams and cross-state exams that a candidate must pass.
What Are the Specializations Under Domestic Law?
Family law is a broad discipline that encompasses children’s law, divorce, and domestic abuse among other specialized areas. It’s worth noting that the salary for each specialization differs due to their specialized skills.
Domestic Abuse Lawyer
Domestic abuse attorneys help their clients get restraining orders or a peace bond so they have official documents barring their partners from getting to them. Some of the domestic abuse include violent resistance, intimate terrorism, and violence between partners.
Domestic violence attorneys can operate as defenders and prosecutors who are on either side of a family abuse case. Salaries for a domestic abuse lawyer range from $80,000 to $120,000 depending on the client, the firm, the case, and the experience of a lawyer. Attorneys who deal with the paperwork for clients make slightly less as compared to the ones representing clients in a court of law.
Child Advocate Lawyer
Child support lawyers handle proceedings where child support needs to be collected from a former spouse or parent. A child support lawyer supports their case using paternity tests, paperwork, and court orders. These lawyers help step-parents to lay down loco parentis so that they have a documented intentional assumption of duties of what a natural or biological parent would have with the child.
The average salary for a child support lawyer averages around $120,000. Lawyers who operate under a law agency make more as compared to the ones working independently. The salary is subject to change based on specialized training and years of experience. Child support lawyers who operate under the government make around $118,000 but this can change depending on the state they are working in or the law firm.
How Does Experience Affect a Family Lawyer’s Salary?
Family lawyers who have less than one year of experience earn approximately $60,000 per year. The compensation package for a domestic attorney increases to $70,000 with 1-4 years of experience. With 5-9 years of experience, a family advocate can make up to almost $83,000, with those having 10-18 years in the industry enjoying a rise to about $86,000. Family lawyers with more than 20 years of experience can make close to $200,000 annually.
It is worth noting that these salaries are average and are subject to change depending on the state a family lawyer is practicing. Los Angeles pays family attorneys 30% higher than average, Chicago pays 7% higher, and the New York family lawyers make 1% lower. Lawyers operating in Dallas and Texas receive salaries that are down 22%.
While the above salaries are averages of what family lawyers make, other aspects influence their pay including experience, state of practice, training, and specialty focus. The government and the size of the law firm can also determine a family lawyer’s pay package. Having extra education, expertise, specialty skills, location, firm size, client interaction, and reputation may play into how high these salaries will go.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is Family Law Important?
Family law outlines and protects the rights and responsibilities of different family members in a plethora of legal matters. It is a framework that ensures fairness and equality for everyone involved in a family situation. It applies to both adults and minors.
- What are the Different Types of Matrimonial Law?
Matrimonial law or family law focuses on anything concerning a family member, such as divorce, child support, marriage, child custody, and adoptions. Some of the cases covered by family law include marriage dissolution, paternity and child custody, restraining orders against domestic violence, guardianship, name changes, and juvenile matters among others.
- Is Family Law a Good Career?
It is an excellent job for individuals who can balance the pros and cons of the job. One must tackle clients who will test the lawyer’s patience and require legal support throughout a tough time. To excel as a matrimonial lawyer, one must be tough, sympathetic, compassionate, and resourceful. The career calls for high negotiation skills and maintaining credible standing in their legal career.