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What Family Law Is All About

Family law is a legal practice area dedicated to issues such as divorce, child support, child custody, adoption, domestic violence, and more.

Family law is a legal practice area dedicated to issues that affect families and domestic relationships. Some common family law issues include: 

  • Divorce 
  • Child custody 
  • Child support 
  • Spousal support 
  • Adoption 
  • Guardianship 
  • Domestic violence

How does the court define a family?

This seemingly simple question does not have one commonly accepted answer. Is a family defined as parents and children? Is a family defined as a group of people living in the same household? Or is a family a generation of people related by blood or marriage?

There is no exact legal definition. Instead, courts look at families according to the issue involved. This is part of the reason why seeking legal help for issues like divorce, child custody, and others 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 family lawyer for you and your situation is also essential.

Woman with lawyer
How do you choose the right family law attorney?

You should plan to interview several family law attorneys if possible. Ask family and friends for recommendations. You may not be able to have 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.

You should also have a list of questions prepared to go over with the family law 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 it’s important to choose a person whom you are comfortable with.

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.

It’s also crucial to evaluate 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.

Couple with lawyer

There are other options besides hiring a lawyer

Family law arbitration is another avenue that you can pursue in many states, which can be less expensive than going to court. Rather than going to court and having a judge decide a case, the family members agree to allow a trained, third-party decision maker determine the outcome of their disagreement. Learn more about family law arbitration. 

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