Family law is a branch of the law dedicated to issues that affect families and domestic relationships.
Common Family Law Issues
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Domestic violence
How the Court Defines a Family
This seemingly simple question has no one commonly accepted answer. Is family parents and children? Is a family a group of people living in the same household? Is a family generation of people related by blood or marriage? There is no legal definition. Instead, courts look at families according to the issue involved, and part of the reason why seeking legal help for issues like divorce, child custody and more is so important.
Family law can be highly emotional and stressful, as it impacts extremely personal areas of people’s lives, so choosing the right lawyer for you and your situation also is essential.
How to Choose a Family Law Attorney
Plan on interviewing several attorneys, if possible. Ask family and friends for recommendations. You may not be able to get sit-down meetings with every lawyer, but you should be able to have an initial phone consultation to find out how you and the attorney will get along.
Have a list of questions prepared to go over with the attorney. Evaluate the attorney’s responses not only by his or her answers but by how the lawyer relates to you and shows compassion to you and your situation. You must trust your attorney fully and be completely honest with him or her, so choose a person with whom you are comfortable.
Evaluate the attorney’s experience in handling cases like yours. Local experience is extremely important when it comes to family law as laws vary so widely between municipalities.
Also, figure out what you can afford ahead of time and make sure this is an integral part of your interview discussions with prospective attorneys. You don’t want to end up in bankruptcy court too.
There are other options besides hiring a lawyer. Family law arbitration
is another option in many states that can be less expensive than going to court.