Last Updated On: November 15, 2023

What is the Difference Between a Family Law Attorney and a Divorce Lawyer?

What is the Difference Between a Family Law Attorney and a Divorce Lawyer?

In the legal world, the terms “family law attorney” and “divorce lawyer” are interchangeable. A divorce lawyer is a more simplistic label since it is easily understood by everyone and family law attorneys may feel a bit obtuse to people who aren’t in the legal field. But both are lawyers who are knowledgeable in the field of family laws and skilled in dealing with all matters under those laws, including divorces.

Discover the key distinctions between a New York family law attorney and a New York divorce lawyer to make informed decisions regarding your legal needs. Juan Luciano Divorce Lawyer is here to provide legal guidance tailored to your specific situation, whether you’re facing legal separation or divorce, child custody, spousal support, or other family-related legal matters. Contact us today at (212) 537-5859 to protect your family’s future.

What Is A Family Lawyer?

A family lawyer, often referred to as a family law attorney, focuses on addressing legal matters concerning family relationships, particularly in the context of separation and divorce. These legal professionals assist individuals facing conflicts or challenging situations in finding a workable path forward. They achieve this through various means, such as legal proceedings before a judge, the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques, contract negotiations, or employing other approaches, depending on the specific circumstances.

Family law attorneys manage a diverse range of cases, including but not limited to:

  • Divorce
  • Division of marital assets
  • Child custody disputes
  • Child support matters
  • Drafting prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Crafting separation agreements
  • Enforcing and modifying court orders related to family law
  • Addressing marital fault tort claims
  • Resolving domestic violence issues

Each of these case types revolves around family relationships. Divorce cases, in particular, can be intricate and emotionally challenging for families. A divorce proceeding may encompass property division, spousal support, child custody and support issues, and the consideration of prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. Family lawyers possess a deep understanding of the divorce process and are equipped to guide you through it, helping you develop a customized plan that aligns with your individual needs and circumstances.

If you’re seeking legal guidance in matters of family law, Juan Luciano Divorce Lawyer can provide you with the support and counsel you need. Our experienced New York family lawyers are well-versed in navigating the complexities of divorce, child custody, and more. We understand the emotional and legal intricacies of family-related cases, and we are committed to helping our clients find the best resolution possible in their circumstances. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward securing your family’s future.

Divorce lawyer on New York City

Family Law is the Umbrella Concept for Divorce Laws

Divorce falls under the umbrella of family law with most divorce lawyers handling the full spectrum of family law matters. These will include separation, child custody and support, visitation, spousal support, and asset division. But family law also considers matters of paternity, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, emancipation, adoption, foster care, and other matters not particular to divorce.

When a Label Isn’t Just a Label

Of course, a label isn’t just a label. Many times, the label by which an attorney addresses himself or herself is how they see themselves in context to the law. Connotations can be everything. If you are someone who is looking for a bulldog divorce strategy, are you more likely to hire a divorce lawyer or a family law attorney? 

As a society we may think of a divorce lawyer as the ruthless face on the other side of the negotiating table, litigating until the final moment. We may think of the family law attorney as looking at the bigger picture and taking a more holistic approach. Although each professional will do the same things, it is often a matter of how they do them that is the perception. 

Who is Your Divorce Attorney?

How the lawyer sees himself or herself is an important distinction for a client to understand. If you want a more collaborative and amicable approach, you may not want to go into that hard-edged litigation strategy at the very beginning of negotiations. 

There are times that you want that litigator to go after your spouse tooth and claw, but we have found that taking an initial collaborative approach at the outset sets the tone and often the way that the court perceives the individuals if they do end going into litigation. It also is far less costly for the parties and sets up a cooperative framework when you are sharing custody of your children.  

The Cost of Hiring a Family Law or Divorce Lawyer

In New York, divorce lawyers or family law attorneys charge an average of about $400 an hour. These prices may vary from one lawyer to another and depend on the complexity of the case.

When planning expenses specific to your case, there are other costs that you need to consider aside from the hourly rate of your divorce or family law attorney. Throughout the state of New York, a lot of family law attorneys require that you pay retainer fees. The retainer fees will often amount to several thousand. All hourly costs will be deducted from the retainer fee.

After the case ends, any retainer funds left over will be returned to you. If the retainer fee is not enough to cover the expenses of the case, you will have to pay the difference. The retainer fee will usually depend on the agreement that you have with your lawyer.

You can also seek legal assistance if you are in an extremely difficult financial position and are unable to pay the lawyer’s fees and other official expenses, and you have no other options. In New York, the legislature can order your spouse to pay your lawyer’s fees in order that you are both represented properly in court.

Comparison Between Family Law Attorney and Divorce Lawyer Key Points
Family Law Encompasses Divorce Family law encompasses a wide range of legal matters, including divorce, separation, child custody, support, visitation, spousal support, asset division, paternity, prenuptial agreements, adoption, and more.
Cost of Hiring In New York, both divorce lawyers and family law attorneys typically charge around $400 per hour on average for their services. Additional costs may include retainer fees, which can vary and are used to cover legal expenses.
Retainer Fees Retainer fees in New York usually amount to several thousand dollars. These funds are held in trust and deducted as legal services are provided. Any remaining balance is returned to the client upon case completion, or the client may be responsible for the difference if expenses exceed the retainer.

Match Your Needs to the Attributes of Your Lawyer

Either way, the terms divorce lawyer and family law attorney are technically interchangeable and don’t suggest any difference in the degree of capability. As someone who is considering divorce, it’s important for a client to understand their own needs and match those to the attributes of the lawyer. You can do this with a consultation or phone interview or get referrals from others who have gone through the process themselves. 

Because the divorce process is an emotionally charged one, it needs to be skillfully managed. In most cases, taking a collaborative approach can set the whole procedure in the right direction. If a cooperative attempt goes awry, however, you want a lawyer who has the ability to pull out those aggressive tools in his or her toolkit at the appropriate time. 

If you are looking for a divorce lawyer who takes the time to listen and can manage a cooperative strategy yet can aggressively represent you when it is called for, contact the law office of Juan Luciano Divorce Lawyer for an initial consultation.

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