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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Understanding Law: What Does Family Law Cover?

Before I filed for divorce, I used a lawyer one time. To buy a house. I have had very little experience with lawyers thankfully, and I'll admit I'm fairly uninformed about things having to do with law. This piece from a reader explains what types of things a family lawyer may be involved with.


People usually aren’t aware that there are different fields in law. Like doctors, legal professionals can specialize in certain subjects such as criminal law, corporate law, intellectual property law, and more. So if you were a business owner who wishes to merge with another company, you would have to hire someone with corporate law expertise rather than criminal law.

But what if you’re facing legal battles such as divorce and child custody? The three legal fields above wouldn’t suit that kind of conflict. So what kind of professional legal representation should you seek? The answer to this is easy. You need to hire a lawyer who is an expert in family law. But to understand exactly how they can help, you need to know what Family Law covers. 

What Is Family Law?

Family Law is a legal practice area that primarily covers and addresses family-related issues and domestic relations. Most lawyers practicing family law focus on representing clients who need legal separation assistance and other divorce-related matters. This often includes alimony, child custody and support, visitation, and marital property.

People usually think of family law in the context of divorce. But this legal practice is not limited to the dissolution of marriage. It consists of several issues that regulate family relationships. Some family lawyers draft prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and litigate related concerns. While others work with victims or perpetrators of domestic violence in criminal proceedings.

Some family law practices also represent clients in adoption, guardianship, surrogacy, and In Vitro Fertilization cases. Juvenile justice issues and child abuse and neglect are also areas of family law. While there are legal professionals who have developed a particular specialty, such as divorce law, others have expertise in various family law practice areas.

What Does a Family Lawyer Do?

A family lawyer needs to have a wide range of legal skills since they carry out several tasks. They draft and negotiate court petitions, contracts, and other legal documents. Family lawyers also litigate contested matters, although this is a less prevalent aspect of the practice. They provide legal advice and counsel their clients on their legal rights and options.

And of course, family lawyers attempt to resolve legal battles and disputes. Since they handle clients who might still experience emotional turmoil from their family conflicts, lawyers need to have exceptional interpersonal skills. They need to be adept at managing emotionally volatile situations.

What Cases Do Family Lawyers Handle?

As mentioned before, family law covers a broad range of practice areas that deals with family relationships. Hence, it’s not surprising that they also handle different kinds of cases. Since family law involves matters close to home, hiring a trusted and expert legal professional can help you or your loved one be properly represented and protected at court. 

Here are some of the family law cases that a lawyer handles:
  • Divorce – When a married person wants to end their marital union, they can file a written petition asking the court for a Dissolution of Marriage.
  • Alimony or Spousal Support – When a marriage ends, one party usually needs financial support from the other to make ends meet. A spouse can request alimony in court for a Judge to consider it. When it gets granted, the other person provides the petitioner with an allowance, either continuously or lump sum.
  • Child Custody – Child custody is usually included in divorce cases, but it also has its branch of family law. That is because some child custody cases do not involve a married couple. If two parents can’t agree upon their child’s arrangement, the father or the mother can fight for custody.
  • Paternity – Paternity is a little similar to child custody cases. If a man wants to be declared as the father of the child, they can file a case and undergo DNA testing. Women can also file this if they’re seeking child support from their child’s biological father.
  • Adoption – Adoption is a complicated process that requires consultation with a family lawyer. It involves paperwork and regulations that adopters must comply with and complete before the request gets granted.
  • Protection Orders Against Domestic Violence – Those who are victims of domestic violence can ask the family court to issue a restraining order or protection order to keep their abusers away.
Let’s Wrap Up

Family law is a complicated and diverse area of law that covers family-related issues and domestic relations. It usually involves high stakes and more emotion than other cases. But getting help from a family lawyer can help make the whole process and court battle easier.

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