Family disputes are unavoidable and can be challenging to resolve without the help of legal experts. In the US, the number of divorces reached 689,000 in 2021. The number underscores the growing need for the services and guidance of family lawyers.
This short article serves as a quick start guide to family law to help readers understand their rights during a family dispute. We briefly discuss the different family law proceedings to give you an idea of what to expect after consulting a family law firm.
What is family law?
Family law is the body of law that regulates family relationships, including the treatment of children, marriage and divorce, and economic matters. This area of law has historical ties to succession and property law.
It originated from questions associated with a woman’s transition from her parent’s family to her husband’s guardianship. Today, family law also handles disputes involving the following:
- Relationship between parent and child
- Child custody
- Child legitimacy
Family law also encompasses domestic and family matters like property issues, civil unions, and other similar issues. It is a lengthy and complicated concept with several sub-categories. It is also linked to other areas of law like real estate and criminal justice.
You must remember small details when going through a family law case. It can involve significant money and even destroy relationships.
Cases under this area of law often get emotionally and mentally draining since the parties involved have a deep, personal bond.
However, there are also family law cases where both parties decide to separate for their own happiness. In these cases, the people involved agree amicably to end the marriage and move on. Legal proceedings for these cases can even provide a positive and friendly environment.
Different Family Law Proceedings
If your family is facing legal issues you cannot resolve alone, you can hire a family lawyer. Below are examples of family law proceedings to give you an idea if you need the services of a legal expert to resolve your family disputes.
Separation or divorce
Divorce is one of the most common reasons people hire a family lawyer. If you want to get divorced, you need an attorney to resolve issues like alimony or spousal support and marital property division.
Divorce laws vary from country to country. In some US states, couples must first go past a “waiting period” as a married couple before they can file for divorce. Meanwhile, other states grant divorce regardless of the length of the marriage.
Foster care, adoption, and guardianship
Adopting a child can be a long and challenging process. Today, most private adoption agencies have their own lawyers, so they can get legal advice whenever needed.
Adoptive parents must consult an attorney before adopting and after filing the petition. Some cases, such as international adoptions, will require the skills and expertise of lawyers specializing in international law.
Guardianship is the legal process of taking care of a child without adopting them. Family members can be the guardian when parents are unfit for the role or unavailable. The process can be complex, and the family member will need legal advice to become a guardian.
Foster placement is the process of placing a minor as a ward of the state due to an unsafe home environment. These cases can be sensitive, and a lawyer may be necessary if there are criminal charges.
Child custody, support, and visitation
Child custody and support may be part of a divorce proceeding or handled separately. Sometimes, divorced couples may agree on most aspects but argue over visitation rights or child custody. Having the guidance of a family lawyer can make the process easier.
Other areas of family law
A family law attorney can also help you with the following family law proceedings:
- Protective and restraining orders can be a part of divorce proceedings. If domestic violence is involved, your lawyer may include a request for a restraining order with the divorce petition.
- Prenuptial agreements define spouses’ rights to marital property before they get married. The contracts are helpful for wives- or husbands-to-be with existing businesses or properties who want to protect their interests in case of death or divorce.
- Estate planning involves laying out wills and trusts in case of emergencies. A lawyer can help manage the disposition of property and guardianship of children after their client’s death.
Resolve Your Family’s Disputes With the Help of a Legal Expert
Family disputes can be quickly resolved with the help of a legal professional. A family lawyer can help you get the outcome you want without taking the case to court. They can also help you understand the legal process so you can go through it smoothly.
Today, countless law firms offer legal help to clients trying to resolve family disputes. Nussbaum Law is one such firm specializing in family law. The company, with its competent and compassionate legal experts, can help you get the legal outcome you want.