Family Law Paralegal: What Are Their Roles and Responsibilities?

Family Law Paralegal: What Are Their Roles and Responsibilities?

If you’re interested in a career in legal services, and you want to help families resolve important conflicts, you can pursue a career as a family law paralegal.

Family law is an important area of the legal profession, as you protect the rights of family members during divorce proceedings, child custody cases, and other family legal disputes.

Paralegals help family law attorneys by doing legal research, doing witness interviews, filling out paperwork, and other responsibilities further outlined in this article.

What is a Family Law Paralegal?

Paralegals assist attorneys with support work on their behalf. Family law paralegals cannot practice law, but they play a vital role as a liaison between the client and attorney, assisting with many tasks. In a family law office, paralegals may assist one attorney or several attorneys.

Some of the types of cases a family law paralegal may assist with include:

  • Divorce
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Property and asset division
  • Parental visitation rights
  • Adoption and guardianship
  • Restraining orders
  • Paternity cases

Most family law paralegals work for a law office, but some may also work for non-profits or government agencies. Paralegals in family law must be well-organized, effective with time management, and able to help clients through emotional matters.

What Does a Family Law Paralegal Do?

Family law paralegals cannot provide legal advice or set legal fees, but they provide invaluable support for attorneys and law firms. In smaller law firms, paralegals may have a broad set of responsibilities, including meeting with the clients, administrative tasks, managing communication between parties, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.

As part of their roles and responsibilities, family law paralegals may take care of the following:

  • Communication with clients, discussing details of their case
  • Legal research
  • Preparation of petitions, filling out documents for filing with the family court
  • Compiling list of potential witnesses
  • Discovery and witness affidavits, client interviews
  • Correspondence between the parties
  • Organizing and maintaining documents in case file
  • Scheduling appointments, court appearances, managing attorney calendars, mediation and deposition hearings

Paralegals in family law must have excellent interpersonal skills, helping clients deal with highly emotional situations like child custody, divorce, child support, and asset division cases.

How to Become a Paralegal in California

Individuals who wish to work as paralegals in the state of California will need to be in compliance with California Business and Professions Code §6450, et seq. In California, these are the steps to becoming a paralegal.

1. Complete a paralegal program, which can be one of these.

  • Complete a minimum of 24 credits in paralegal studies at an accredited college or university.
  • Complete a bachelor's degree program in any field, and have one-year of experience working under the supervision of a California attorney who has been licensed for at least three years, or who works in the federal court system in California.
  • Complete a paralegal certificate program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

2. Gain paralegal work experience in a law office.

3. Become certified as a paralegal (Optional).

Becoming certified is completely optional in California, but it allows you to specialize in specific areas of the law. In California, paralegals who pass NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) and California Advanced Specialty (CAS) examinations may call themselves California Advanced Specialists, which can increase their employment options. Paralegals may voluntarily choose to become California Advanced Specialists.

4. Launch your paralegal career.

About 76% of paralegals work in law offices or for an attorney.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics[1] paralegals earned a median salary of $60,970 per year in 2023, and an average of $29.31 per hour. The BLS  projects a 4% increase in paralegal jobs between 2022 and 2032, as fast as other jobs during this period.

Become a Paralegal Through Our Online Training Program

The Paralegal Associate of Arts Degree program at Campus prepares graduates for employment as paralegals for both the private and public sector, performing substantive and procedural behind-the-scenes legal work for legal departments and law firms. With over 20 years of experience, our instructors train students to learn how to understand legal principles.

This fully online program allows paralegal students to attend classes through our Learning Management System (LMS). On graduation, students will be able to work under the supervision of licensed lawyers in a paralegal career. The Online Paralegal Program is ABA-approved, and has the same paralegal curriculum and benchmarks as traditional paralegal studies programs.

To find out more about our program, contact our Admissions team to get more information.


[1] Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with Campus, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to Campus graduates and, by providing the above information, Campus makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.