Family law (also called matrimonial law) is an area of the law that deals with family matters and domestic relations. Family law generally concerns domestic relations and family-related matters such as marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, adoptions, paternity, guardianships, domestic abuse, surrogacy, child custody, child abduction, the dissolution of marriage and associated issues. Each state has its own set of family laws, and traveling across state borders can sometimes affect your rights and those of your family.
Family Law Attorneys
Family law attorneys represent clients seeking a divorce, annulment or legal separation, and the complicated issues that can arise as a result. Although domestic abuse is a criminal offense, some family law attorneys are skilled at handling these situations, as they are often entangled with other family law issues.
Prenuptial and post nuptial agreements identify one of the initial areas of family law. These are actual contracts entered into by individuals either prior to marriage or after marriage focusing on the characterizing of assets or addressing specific interests.
Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the unfortunate downside of family law. It can be one of the most difficult areas for couples who are facing the termination of the marital union to address. Not only will the marriage end but so will all associated marital legal duties and responsibilities. Divorce can include annulment or legal separation.
Family law quite often addresses concerns about the legal relationship between a parent, their child, and sometimes others. This includes legal custody – the right of a parent to make decisions regarding the child’s care and development; and, physical custody – the time a parent spends with a child. Again, both legal and physical custody can be held by someone who is not a parent.
Child Support is the ongoing and periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of a child following the end of a marriage or other relationship. As a rule of thumb, Child Support is paid to the custodial parent. The Court will consider the income of both parents upon deciding Child Support.
Also known as alimony, is a legal obligation for one spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse during separation and after marital separation or divorce. Those involved in a family law matter are often surprised to discover what they may be entitled to for support or the limitations they may face.
Court protective orders restrain a party who commits an act of domestic violence, with a restraining order or a civil harassment restraining order. Parties in a close relationship file for a domestic violence restraining order while others file for a civil harassment restraining order.
Guardianship & De Facto Parent
Individuals often hire family law attorneys to apply for guardianship. Guardianships are granted when a court finds the need for one individual to care for another individual’s well-being or property.
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Attorneys practicing family law can be very helpful to those who wish to assume the parenting role of another, usually a child, from that person’s biological or legal parent(s). Adoption not only creates a new legal relationship but also severs a prior legal relationship.
The legal right that grandparents have to see and interact with their grandchildren will most likely require the assistance of a family law attorney. Should a grandparent be denied contact with their grandchild, they will have to obtain a court order granting them the right to visitation.
An area of family law that addresses the disposition of a person’s estate. The process of anticipating and arranging for the management and disposal of a person’s estate is undertaken during the person’s life to ensure their requests are enforced after death.
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