Familiar with US/State Constitutions, State/Federal Legislation, judgments, damages & remedies, internet research, Federal/State Civil Procedure, statutes of limitations, basic torts/contracts, basic administrative law, practice/procedure forms, & trial
This course concentrates on practice and procedure in the area of child custody, support, and visitation. Federal courts traditionally abstain from family law matters, considering state legislatures and local courts better suited for resolving family issues. As a result, state law is the primary law affecting the support and care of children in the United States. State law regarding children's issues in any given state is a collection of statutes and common law, labeled with topics such as marriage and family, husband and wife, family relations, divorce, guardian and ward, and support of minors. Because of the localized nature of family law, there is uniformity among the states on some principles, but also significant diversity in others. Applicable law, rules, procedures, and terminology may vary widely from state to state and within states from city to city.
Traditional models of child custody in divorce cases place the child with a custodial parent, while allowing visitation and imposing support obligations on the other parent. A modern trend in many jurisdictions dispenses with terms "custody" and "visitation" altogether, in favor of more flexible approaches to "parenting time" and "access" to children. Various aspects of custody are typically referred to as “parental responsibilities," and may be further divided into physical and legal responsibilities, or similar alternative terms. Where possible, these jurisdictions promote development of custom parenting plans tailored to the unique circumstances of the parties and the best interests of the children involved. However, from traditional models to modern innovation, through variations in practice and terminology, the basic underlying purpose of this area of practice is to maximize the child’s best interests and continuing relationships with parents and other adults.
The course begins with the framework of applicable state, federal, and Constitutional law, followed by discussions of paternity, child custody jurisdiction and determinations; visitation rights and factors; child support obligations, guidelines, and jurisdiction; enforcement and modification of custody, support, and visitation orders within and outside the state of origin; state regulation of the parent-child relationship; and common litigation issues.
The APC Certification Board has determined that an ACP designation in Family Law will be awarded to Certified Paralegals who complete the following courses:
- Child Support, Visitation and Child Custody
- Division of Property
- Adoption and Assisted Reproduction
- Dissolution Case Management
Successful completion of all 4 courses will lead to a certification in Family Law. Upon completion of the individual courses, and all course requirements, qualified Certified Paralegals will receive an Advanced Paralegal Certification credential in the individual area.