If you are looking to become a divorce paralegal with a law firm that specializes in family law, you should first focus on getting paralegal training and then specialize in family law topics such as divorce. In order to be hired as a paralegal, you will need general skills for working in a law office, but to be a family law paralegal, you must understand specific aspects of family law. To become a divorce paralegal, you should first attend a training program or associate’s degree program to become a paralegal, and then get further training in family law, either through a college or on the job.
The first step to becoming a divorce paralegal is entering an associate’s degree or paralegal training program. Many community colleges, vocational schools, and some universities offer associate’s degrees in legal studies that are designed to prepare students for a career as a paralegal. Most associate’s degrees take two years to complete, and this can be a good option if you want to become a paralegal and you don’t already have a degree.
Training for a paralegal career in a certificate program can be a good option for those who already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Paralegal programs can last anywhere from three months to two years, depending on the student’s level of education. Most paralegal training programs will offer a certificate of completion for the program, though you should check to see which certificate they offer. While getting a certification as a paralegal is not necessary for most jobs, many employers prefer certified paralegals. You can become a divorce paralegal by becoming a Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) or Certified Paralegal (CP) through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
When choosing your paralegal training or associate’s degree program, ask the school if they offer specializations in family law while you are getting your degree or certificate. Some schools will allow you to specialize while you are enrolled in a paralegal training or degree program. You can also take specialized training in family law to become a divorce paralegal after you have completed an associate’s degree or paralegal training program. These additional paralegal courses are generally available at a college or through a vocational training center.
Another way to become a divorce paralegal is to get family law experience on the job. After you have completed your paralegal program and become a certified paralegal, you should target family law practices in your job search. To get a job in a family law office, you should focus your resume on experience with family law and highlight any family law volunteer experiences or courses you have taken.