What is the difference between an attorney and a family law attorney?

Picture this: you’re binge-watching your favorite TV series, sipping on a cup of tea (or maybe a bag of popcorn), and suddenly, the plot thickens as a legal showdown unfolds on screen. Attorneys, family law attorneys – they’re all there, battling it out in the courtroom. But wait, what’s the real difference between them in the world of law?

Well, dear reader, in this blog post, we’re about to spill the beans on the intriguing saga of “What is the difference between an attorney and a family law attorney?” Buckle up as we embark on this thrilling journey through the twists and turns of the legal world.

Short Answer: The difference between an attorney and a family law attorney lies in the specific realm of family-related legal matters. But the real drama unfolds in understanding how this difference impacts your life and legal battles. So, grab your legal gavel, and let’s get started!

What is the difference between an attorney and a family law attorney

People ask me all the time: do you need an attorney to represent you in a divorce or child custody case? The answer to that question depends largely upon what type of case you have and your circumstances. You need to understand the benefit of having an attorney to represent you and what it can mean for you not to be represented by a lawyer as you begin a child custody or divorce case.

Much of the time, we concern ourselves with the extreme short-term downsides of hiring an attorney. Mainly that he will have to spend money to pay for an attorney; not only would you not want to go through a divorce, but you would also prefer not to spend money on an attorney in the first place. However, sometimes in life, we do unpleasant things to realize again in the future. It would help decide whether that gain is sufficient to endure the cost.

Is there a law that requires you to be represented by an attorney in your divorce?

The bottom line is that no law in Texas requires an attorney to guide you if you are going through a divorce or child custody case. Many people go through family law cases each day without ever hiring an attorney. There is no requirement in any statutes, civil or criminal, that mandates you be represented by an attorney. You need to figure out then whether your circumstances justify or can be improved by hiring an attorney.

To begin with, they’re not a requirement for you to be represented by an attorney in your divorce does not necessarily mean that you do not need an attorney on a practical level. There is so much riding on the result of your divorce or child custody case that you need to seriously consider your options when it comes to hiring an attorney.

Is there a law that requires you to be represented by an attorney in your divorce

The first thing an experienced attorney can do for you within a child custody or divorce case is help you get the case started. This may not sound like a big deal or something important, but it truly is. There’s an old proverb that goes something like the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. This means that you cannot complete a long journey until you start it. This may sound simplistic, but it makes a great deal of sense when it comes to a divorce case.

Nobody wants to get a divorce. Many people look for all sorts of excuses and rationalizations as to how they can avoid getting divorced. However, we know that you must first go through it if you want to get past something. By going through the trouble of hiring an attorney, paying them to represent you, and making an emotional commitment to go through with the case, you will have done a great deal to move the case along and complete a divorce. Often, unless you go through these steps, you will not push yourself enough to go outside of your comfort zone to get a divorce.

In that case, an attorney acts as your accountability partner. My accountability partner keeps you honest and focused on your goals at hand. Whereas you may not have anyone in your life to keep you on track with your divorce, an attorney can be that person for you on a professional level.

Next, an attorney understands what it means to go through a divorce and can guide you on your way. So much of a divorce case isn’t about flashy courtroom antics or anything like that. It is the simple nuts and bolts process of not making mistakes, filing the documents you need when needed, and allowing the case to progress from beginning to end. You may be surprised to learn that some of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan’s clients originally began representing themselves in a divorce case. Only after making mistakes and incurring delays in their lawsuit do they realize the responsibilities of filing a divorce or beyond what they were capable of. As a result, they decided to hire our law office to represent them and never looked back.

Are there any circumstances in which it would not be necessary, in my opinion, to have an attorney represent you in your divorce case? The only scenario that I could think of where having an attorney by your side in a divorce would not be incredibly beneficial would be if you have a divorce with no children involved and no property or very little property in play. This would be a somewhat common scenario for young people, for example, who were married right out of high school or out of college, who have not yet begun to accumulate property, and who have been married for a brief period. When it comes to switching the names on car titles and making sure that small credit card bills are paid in a reasonable amount of time, these are probably circumstances where you could handle them without the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.

And any other situation, it would be advisable to have an attorney guide you. You need to ask yourself what sort of attorney you need to hire and how you go about finding the attorney who offers you the right fit. We can talk about these subjects in the second half of today’s blog post, but bear in mind that this will only cover general information intended for a broad audience. If you have specific questions about hiring an attorney in the benefits of doing so in your circumstances, I recommend contacting the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys can take the time to sit with you and determine the best course for you and your family. You can go over specific scenarios with your attorney to help them be able to give you practical information. From there, you can determine the need in your circumstances as to whether or not it will be helpful for you to have an attorney guide you in providing you with advice in your divorce case.

What type of law is a divorce or child custody case?

When it comes to working through the details of a child custody or divorce case, all you may know is that you have some problems in your family that need to be solved. Specific information about who to contact, where to go from here, or even what kind of attorney you need to help you may all be things that you have to look out for. To start with, a divorce or child custody case is generally known in Texas as a family law case. Family law cases currently represent the majority of noncriminal cases. You can think of divorce and child custody cases more broadly as falling under the umbrella of civil law cases and, more specifically, family law cases. So, if you are interested in hiring an attorney to represent you in your divorce and child custody case, you would be looking for a family law attorney.

Fortunately for you, family law attorneys are relatively common. There may be many reasons for this, but the number of attorneys who practice in this area has increased, adding to the ever-growing list of people who need child custody and divorce representation. We probably will not suffer from a lack of options for hiring a lawyer. However, think of this scenario as one where you are trying to pick a dinner entree at a restaurant where the menu is huge. My point is that you may have trouble selecting just one meal from a list of 1,000 items that look similar.

What type of law is a divorce or child custody case

For this reason, you need to focus on how you will select from these attorneys and choose one who will suit you and your needs very well. For one, I would work to hire an attorney who practices primarily or solely in family law. For instance, the attorneys with the law office of Brian Fagan practice 99% in family law. We work some in probate and estate planning, but for the most part, our attorneys focus most of our time and attention on family-like clients just like you. Like anything else in life, there is a particular method of representation lock case. Even otherwise, experienced attorneys may not be thoroughly familiar with these processes. A lack of familiarity with fundamental family law processes can cost you time in your case and then hard your overall outcome and cause you to spend more money than you need be.

Beyond simply hiring a family law attorney, I would make sure that you have an opportunity to meet with that attorney in person before ultimately paying them any money to represent you. I know that we are all familiar with doing things virtually these days. The pandemic has ushered in a new era of comfort in virtual meetings and things of that nature. As a result, you may be very acclimated to meeting with a doctor or even your child’s teacher through a webcam visit. Our office has adjusted to technology, and we are more than happy to meet with you in a free-of-charge consultation on the phone or even using a webcam visit.

However, just because you can meet this way does not mean it is preferable. A family law attorney will be learning intricate and very private information about you and your family. There is something to be said with having a level of trust with your attorney that, in my opinion, requires you to sit near her and get a feel for them as an individual. If I were in your shoes having to decide on a divorce or child custody case, I would want to not only trust the attorney but feel comfortable with them. Many attorneys may be highly competent, and it caused you to feel uncomfortable and therefore not ready to move forward with the divorce. To avoid putting yourself in positions like this, I recommend sitting by the attorney and asking them questions.

It will be tempting to do all of the talking in your situation. You have a lot on your mind, and understandably you would like to know as much as you can about your circumstances and what the attorney can do to help you. I have sat with many people who have gone through as many of the events as they can of their life as quickly as possible with me. Remember that just because you were sitting with an attorney in any consultation does not mean that they represent you at that point. With that said, I would recommend giving the attorney only the necessary details of your case.

From there, the attorney can provide you with essential information that may help you to start a strategy that can translate into success in your circumstances. However, if you spend the entirety of your 30- or 45-minutes consultation providing the attorney with details that may not be relevant at that point, you will lose the opportunity to hear from the attorney and learn more about what they think about your case. This would be a severe opportunity lost and something that may end up harming you in the long run.

Deciding about hiring an attorney

Once you have had an opportunity to meet with, talk to, and then listen to several family law attorneys in your area, you can feel more comfortable deciding whether you believe you need an attorney representing you in your case. The attorney’s office that you meet with may contact you back to see if you have any questions for them. Or the attorney may put the ball in your court and have you follow up with them for any questions.

I would also recommend you speak to the attorney about attorney’s fees and a general timeline for a divorce or child custody case. You do not want to emotionally decide to move forward in a divorce or child custody case and then find out that he’s associated with representation or any other financial circumstances may make it impossible for you to hire that attorney. Brother, I would talk with the attorney in advance to go over fees and other financial considerations. You will find that different attorneys come into varying budgets for different cases. The attorney who is suitable for you and your family is one that you feel comfortable with, has the requisite level of experience, and comes in at a price point that suits you and your family.

Choosing The Right Lawyer For Your Legal Needs

Once you hire an attorney, I would recommend that you speak with them about the best way to get ahold of your lawyer in the future. It is natural to have questions throughout your case into want updates on the progress of things throughout the life of your case. However, the reality of the situation is that your lawyer will not always be available to take every phone call you make and will not be able to respond immediately to every email you send. This will undoubtedly be frustrating for almost everyone reading this blog post.

With that said, you can talk to your attorney about their preferred methods of communication throughout a case. For example, if your attorney does their best to have Thursday afternoons free from meetings or court dates, then you can work to get on their schedule for Thursday afternoon phone calls. Or, if you travel throughout the week and email works better for you, then you can request that the attorney put you on their calendar for a check-in email every week. I tell clients that our attorneys understand that you can only assume that no work is being done on your case if you do not hear from us. All the while, your attorney may be diligently working on your case. Receiving an update from your attorney about your case every week is not unreasonable. You need to express this expectation and work with your attorney to learn how they can best communicate with you moving forward.

Exploring Family Law: Attorney vs. Family Law Attorney

When it comes to navigating the complex world of family law, one might wonder, “What is the difference between an attorney and a family law attorney?” This question is more than just a matter of semantics; it can profoundly impact the outcome of your family-related legal matters. This long article will cover many areas of family law, including the different types of cases, the benefits of hiring a lawyer, the risks of representing yourself, money issues, picking the right lawyer, knowing the law, communicating well with your lawyer, settling disagreements outside of court, and keeping up with changes in family law.

The Importance of Hiring a Texas Divorce Attorney

Types of Family Law Cases:

Family law encompasses a wide range of legal issues that affect individuals and families. Understanding the differences between these cases is essential for making informed decisions. Here are some key types of family law cases:


Divorce is perhaps the most common family law case. It involves the legal termination of a marriage, addressing issues like property division, alimony (spousal support), and child custody and support. Each divorce is unique, and the specific issues to be resolved can vary widely.

Child Custody:

Child custody cases focus on determining the custody and visitation arrangements for children when parents separate or divorce. These cases can be emotionally charged, and the best interests of the child are paramount in court decisions.

Spousal Support:

Also known as alimony, spousal support involves financial payments from one spouse to another after divorce or separation. The amount and duration of support can vary based on factors such as the length of the marriage and financial circumstances.

Property Division:

Property division cases center around the allocation of assets and debts accumulated during a marriage. This can include real estate, bank accounts, investments, and even personal belongings.

Understanding the unique aspects and challenges of each type of family law case is crucial, as it influences the legal strategy and approach needed to achieve a favorable outcome.

In the world of family law, having a skilled attorney by your side can make all the difference. Here are some specific benefits of having legal representation in a family law case:

Family law attorneys have specialized knowledge and experience in family-related legal matters. They understand the intricacies of the law and can provide expert guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Negotiation Skills:

Family law cases often involve negotiations with the opposing party or their attorney. A skilled family law attorney can negotiate on your behalf, striving for a fair resolution while protecting your rights and interests.

Family law cases can be complex, involving extensive paperwork, court appearances, and legal procedures. An attorney can navigate these processes efficiently, ensuring that deadlines are met and paperwork is filed correctly.

Navigating Complex Legal Processes

Real-Life Examples:

To illustrate the impact of legal representation, consider the following scenario: Sarah and John are going through a contentious divorce, with disagreements over child custody and property division. Sarah decides to hire an experienced family law attorney, while John chooses to represent himself. As the case unfolds, Sarah’s attorney successfully negotiates a favorable custody arrangement and ensures that Sarah receives her fair share of marital assets. In contrast, John faces challenges in court due to his lack of legal expertise, leading to less favorable outcomes in both custody and property division.

These examples emphasize how legal representation can significantly influence the outcome of a family law case.

Self-Representation Pitfalls:

While some individuals may consider representing themselves in a family law case, known as pro se representation, it comes with potential pitfalls and challenges:

Family law is complex, and self-represented individuals may lack the legal knowledge needed to navigate their case effectively. This can lead to misunderstandings of the law and legal procedures.

Preparing and filing legal documents is a critical aspect of family law cases. Self-represented individuals may make errors in documents, leading to delays or even adverse judgments.

Errors in Legal Documents

Unfavorable Judgments:

Without legal expertise, individuals may unknowingly make decisions or concessions that are not in their best interests, resulting in unfavorable court rulings.

To avoid these pitfalls, it is essential to carefully consider whether self-representation is a viable option for your specific family law case.

Cost-Benefit Analysis:

Before deciding on legal representation, it’s crucial to conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. While hiring an attorney incurs costs, the advantages may outweigh the expenses in many cases. Consider the following factors:

Factors to Consider


Potential Cost Savings

Hiring an attorney may involve fees, but it can prevent costly mistakes and lead to better outcomes in the long run.

Payment Options

Family law attorneys offer various payment options, including hourly rates, flat fees, and sliding-scale fees for clients with limited financial resources.

Legal Expertise

Legal representation can help you avoid unfavorable judgments and achieve cost-effective resolutions.

Potential Cost Savings:

While hiring an attorney involves fees, their expertise can help you avoid costly mistakes, achieve better outcomes, and ultimately save money in the long run.

Payment Options:

Family law attorneys offer various payment options, including hourly rates, flat fees for specific services, and sliding-scale fees for clients with limited financial resources. Exploring these options can help you find affordable legal representation.

Finding the Right Family Law Attorney:

Selecting the right family law attorney is a crucial step in your legal journey. Here are practical tips to help you find the attorney who suits your needs:

Top Tips for Selecting the Perfect Divorce Attorney: An Insider’s Perspective

Experience and Specialization:

Look for an attorney with significant experience in family law cases. Specialization in family law indicates a deep understanding of the field and its nuances.

Client Reviews:

Read reviews and testimonials from previous clients to gauge an attorney’s reputation and client satisfaction. Positive feedback can be a good indicator of a reliable attorney.

Initial Consultations:

Most family law attorneys offer free initial consultations. Use this opportunity to meet with potential attorneys, ask questions, and assess whether you feel comfortable working with them.

Prepare for Meetings:

Before your initial consultation, prepare a list of questions and provide essential details about your case. This will help the attorney provide more specific guidance.

Prepare for Meetings in a divorce case

Understanding the typical legal procedures and timelines in family law cases is essential for managing expectations. Here are key aspects to consider:

Filing Documents:

Family law cases involve filing various documents with the court. Your attorney will guide you through this process, ensuring that all necessary paperwork is submitted correctly and on time.

Court Hearings:

Depending on your case, you may need to attend court hearings. Your attorney will prepare you for these appearances, ensuring that you are well-informed and confident.

Court Hearings

Negotiating Settlements:

Many family law cases are resolved through negotiations between parties. Your attorney will represent your interests during these negotiations, striving for favorable outcomes.

Case Duration:

Family law cases can vary in duration, from several months to years, depending on their complexity. Understanding the expected timeline can help you plan accordingly.

Client-Attorney Communication:

Effective communication between clients and their attorneys is vital throughout the legal process. Here’s how to ensure a productive attorney-client relationship:

Trust and Comfort:

Building trust and feeling comfortable with your attorney is essential. Meeting in person allows you to establish a rapport and ensure that you are on the same page.

Necessary Details:

While it’s natural to want to share every detail of your case, focus on providing the necessary information during consultations. This allows your attorney to offer targeted advice.

Timely Updates:

Discuss your preferred methods of communication with your attorney. Regular updates on your case can provide peace of mind and help you stay informed.

Alternatives to Traditional Litigation:

Traditional litigation is not the only option in family law cases. Alternative dispute resolution methods can offer a more amicable and cost-effective approach:

Alternatives to Traditional Litigation


Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps parties in a family law dispute reach a mutually acceptable agreement. It can lead to quicker resolutions and lower costs compared to litigation.

Collaborative Divorce:

In collaborative divorce, both parties and their attorneys commit to working together to find solutions outside of court. This approach promotes open communication and reduces conflict.

Updates and Changes in Family Law:

Staying informed about legal developments in family law is crucial for making informed decisions. Here’s how to stay updated:

Consult your attorney for updates on changes in family law regulations or procedures that may impact your case.

Explore legal resources, such as reputable legal websites and publications, to stay informed about recent developments in family law.

Consider attending legal seminars or workshops related to family law to gain insights into the latest trends and changes.

Understanding the difference between an attorney and a family law attorney is just the beginning of your journey into the realm of family law. By exploring the various types of family law cases, recognizing the benefits of legal representation, being aware of self-representation pitfalls, conducting a cost-benefit analysis, finding the right attorney, understanding legal procedures, prioritizing client-attorney communication, considering alternative dispute resolution, and staying updated on changes in family law, you can navigate your family-related legal matters with confidence and clarity. Remember that the right legal guidance can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected.


And there you have it, fellow legal enthusiasts! We’ve taken you on a rollercoaster ride through the world of attorneys and family law attorneys. It’s like the legal equivalent of your favorite binge-worthy series – full of suspense, drama, and those “aha” moments.

Just remember, when it comes to family-related legal matters, having the right attorney by your side can be your secret weapon. They’re not just characters in this legal soap opera; they’re your allies in the courtroom showdown of a lifetime.

So, whether you’re in the midst of a divorce, grappling with child custody issues, or just curious about the legal landscape, keep in mind that knowledge is power. Understanding the differences between these legal players can make all the difference in your own legal saga.

But don’t stop here! The legal world is a vast and ever-evolving stage. Stay tuned for more insights, tips, and legal wisdom as we continue to unravel the mysteries of the legal universe together. Until then, happy reading and may your legal battles be as thrilling as a season finale!

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  1. Details about the Attorney-Client Relationship
  2. Tips for hiring a divorce attorney in Texas, Part Three
  3. Tips for hiring a divorce attorney in Texas
  4. Tips for hiring a divorce attorney in Texas, Part Two
  5. Hiring a Divorce or Family Lawyer
  6. Why do divorces cost so much in Texas?
  7. No Money, No Problem: Pro Bono Divorce Attorneys in Texas
  8. How to Find a Family Law Attorney in Texas
  9. How Can I Get Attorney Fees From My Spouse?
  10. The Benefits of Working with an Experienced Divorce Attorney
  11. Benefits of Retaining an Attorney
  12. Attorneys Collect Evidence from social media for Use in Family Law Cases
  13. What qualities make a good divorce attorney?
  14. The attorney-client relationship is the key to winning your Texas divorce case

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