Family law matters often hit a little too close to home, which is what makes it hard for everyone involved to see things objectively. This can make disagreements overwhelming and fraught with emotion.
That’s where a family law attorney can help. As an impartial third party, an attorney can work to ensure you and your loved ones get the best possible outcome, even in frustrating and scary situations.
But if you’re not sure what this practice area entails, you’re not alone. Here’s a guide to the basics of family law, as well as a breakdown of the most common practice areas.
What Is Family Law?
Family law is an area of legal practice that, as the name suggests, centers on family relationships.
A family law attorney may work to represent families in court or during legal negotiations. They can help with a wide spectrum of issues, most of which concern the formation or separation of a family. Common cases include those involving divorce, adoption, child custody, and marriage.
What Are the Different Types of Family Law?
While a family law firm will be able to handle the full spectrum of family law cases, most of them will specialize in just one or two areas. Here are the different types of family law:
Divorce and Separation
Family law attorneys help guide couples through their separation and/or divorce, representing one person in the proceedings. This can include negotiations about possession of the house, alimony and child support, and how to divide assets and liabilities of the marriage. Most of these cases will settle without ending up in family law court, but an attorney can also represent a client there as well.
If parents are separated or divorced, a family law attorney can help the couple make decisions about physical and legal custody of the children, as well as a schedule for visitation. They may also represent a single parent, helping them fight for sole custody.
Adoption and Guardianship
A lawyer specializing in adoption law can help parents navigate the adoption process, including any legal paperwork associated with it. This includes step-parent adoptions or same-sex couple adoptions.
The same is true of guardianship. Anyone trying to obtain guardianship of a minor (a grandchild niece, or foster child, for example) may need a family attorney to help them get legal custody.
Marriage and Civil Unions
A family lawyer can help couples draw up marriage contracts, prenuptial agreements, and cohabitation agreements. If a couple is already married, they can also help arrange a postnuptial agreement as well.
Reach Out for the Help You Need
When you’re dealing with difficult situations, it’s important to find a family law attorney you’re comfortable with—and someone who specializes in what you need. Whether you’re seeking to reunite with your child or draw up a prenuptial agreement, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from an expert!
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