What Are the Different Areas of Family Law?

When you think about the phrase “family law” your mind might automatically turn to divorce. While it is one of the most obvious reasons you would approach an attorney specializing in this field, it is not the only reason. You don’t have to be ending your marriage to consult one of these highly skilled representatives.


Unless you plan to adopt from the state’s child welfare services, chances are you will need to hire an attorney. There are several steps one must take in an adoption process, and someone who is trained in this area can help you navigate the system. It still takes time for the process to be finalized. However, this individual will ensure all the paperwork is completed and filed appropriately so that you can add to your family.

If you are a stepparent who wishes to adopt your stepchild, the steps differ from those for bringing a child into your home. It is still in your best interest to rely on the advice of an attorney in order to ensure you are now the legal parent of that child.

Name Change

Family law also extends to name changes. While the courthouse office that issues marriage licenses can easily guide you through the process of changing your last name after marriage, there is not a lot of information on how to change it any other time. There are many reasons you may want to change your name legally. Remember, you can call yourself whatever you want, but the government won’t recognize it unless you go through the paperwork to make it so.

Restraining Orders

Sometimes you may be in a situation where you need legal protection from a former lover or family member. You can do this through a protection or restraining order. It is easy to get a temporary order by going to the courthouse. However, making it permanent is not as easy. The judge will want to hear all sides of the case and then may only extend the protection from six months to a year. Having an attorney who is trained in this area of the law can help you get adequate legal protection from your abuser.

Pre-marital Agreements

Pre-marital agreements are not just for the rich in order to protect their assets. On the contrary, these can be drawn up and entered into by anyone who has stipulations on the marriage. More often than not, the main goal is to keep one spouse from taking too much money from the other spouse in the event of a divorce. However, other stipulations such as reasons for ending the marriage and how the property is divided based on fault can be included. Someone who is trained in family law will be able to ensure the entire document is legally binding.

Custody Arrangements

Of course, the most common area of domestic law is custody arrangements within divorce settlements. Divorce is hard on everyone, but it is especially difficult on the kids who are used to having both parents under one roof. An attorney can help you and your former spouse sort out what is best not just for yourselves, but for any children involved. This includes who is going to have primary custody, what visitation looks like, and how child support is handled. They will also help negotiate who contributes to what aspects of the child’s health, dental, and vision insurance or care.

Family law isn’t just about divorce. Instead, it covers a wide array of areas that include adding children into your family and protecting yourself and your loved ones.

For more information on family law, Massachusetts residents can visit http://mrichardslaw.com/index.html.

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Common Questions and Answers About Family Law

Also known as matrimonial law, family law is an area of legal practice that deals with domestic subjects, including marriage, civil unions, guardianship, adoption, child custody, domestic violence, restraining orders, and more. Because these matters are usually kept quiet for the good of all parties involved, the average person has many questions when they visit a family lawyer for the first time. Here are the most common questions attorneys answer on a regular basis.

What is the Difference Between Divorce and Annulment?

Although both can be used to dissolve a marriage, there are important legal distinctions between the two. The most obvious is that an annulment treats the marriage as if it never happened. As such, neither party is subject to any penalties, contracts, or agreements that might normally accompany a dissolution of marriage. Fraud, forced consent, and underage marriage are the most common grounds family law attorneys use for seeking an annulment.

How is Child Custody Established?

If the former couple cannot agree on primary guardianship, a court will make the decision for them based on what is in the best interests of the child. At that point, the couple may discuss visitation privileges and come to an agreement, or the court set a schedule for them.

What is Child Support?

Because caring for a child can be expensive, the court may order a parent to pay a certain amount of money to the spouse who retains primary custody on a monthly basis. These payments may be used to cover the following expenses:

– Clothing, food, and shelter
– Medical care
– Educational needs

What is Alimony?

Also known as spousal support, alimony is a means of financial assistance that is paid from one spouse to another during or after a divorce. In most cases, it is ordered by a court when one spouse is substantially dependent on the other for maintenance and support. For example, alimony is often ordered when the spouse who stayed home with the children must go back to work after a long absence. Because that spouse may not have the work history and/or skills to support themselves in the manner they’ve become accustomed to, alimony may be ordered to help them make up the difference after separation or divorce.

What is Mediation?

Because filing for divorce can be an extremely lengthy, expensive legal process, many couples choose family law mediation instead. A simple, surprisingly effective method of resolving disputes, mediation puts the two parties together to discuss an amicable settlement. Although lawyers may be involved in the process, it is really the third-party mediator that gets the sides talking. When successful, this dispassionate interlocutor can save couples huge amounts of money on legal fees.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Stress, emotion, and uncertainty about the future make family law cases extremely difficult to get through. An experienced attorney can help explain your legal rights and protect your interests both in and out of the courtroom. Whether you are fighting for custody of your kids or filing a restraining order against an ex, a seasoned attorney can lend a hand during a stressful, confusing time.

Now that you have answers to these common questions, you can decide for yourself if you require assistance from a family lawyer.

When looking for an attorney that handles family law, Grand Rapids, MI residents go to Ada Legal Group. To learn more, visit http://www.adalegalgroup.com/practice-areas/family-law/.

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Family Law Advice: Handling Custody Arrangements

When couples decide to divorce, it not only affects the relationship between husband and wife, but it also greatly affects the children. This is a very difficult time for a family, so it is important that custody arrangements are made as smoothly as possible. The agreements will vary among individual families, but they don’t have to be difficult. It is ideal to work closely with a family law attorney to ensure the agreement is as fair and straightforward as possible.

Different Forms of Custody

One of the first details to think about is the type of custody each parent will have. There are generally three types: sole, joint, and split. Sole custody gives one parent both legal and physical custody of the children. Joint provides each parent equal time with the children with the option of sharing legal custody. Split occurs when there is more than one child and each parent takes care of the children, but not all of them at once.

Visitation Arrangements

When working with the family law attorney, a clear visitation schedule should be fully established for the non-custodial parent. It is best for parents to work these situations out themselves based on their own demands and circumstances. If a parent moves to a different state, he or she will have to have a specified visitation, since weekly visits will not be possible. Instead, an extended visit in the summer would make up for that. Holidays are another subject that needs special attention. Ideally, each parent would either rotate holidays or divide them equally.

Shared Costs

Another component of child custody is the major costs associated with the children and who will pay them. These expenses include items like health insurance coverage, dependents on tax returns, or school tuition. Keep in mind that these costs are not factored into child support payments. Both parties in the divorce should agree on these shared expenses and have the family law attorney place the finalized decision in the divorce agreement.

Power Over Major Decisions

In many instances, major life decisions will need to be made for the kids. While some decisions are not very significant and will not require the input of two parents, others will be more substantial. It needs to be clearly laid out in the divorce decree who is going to make these arrangements and whether or not the other parent will have any say. These decisions may include healthcare issues, school issues, religion, and how to discipline. It is best that both the mother and father work together for a consistent upbringing.

Keep in mind that custody agreements are not set in stone. There may be times when the arrangement needs to be altered, so always remember to consult your family law attorney if changes need to be made. These decisions are often made during a stressful time, and it is possible to forget about some details that need to be added. In addition, life events can happen that may require major changes, such as moving to another state. The best thing to remember is to be open for the betterment of the kids.

To learn more about their options for family law, Burlington residents should visit http://dknfamilylaw.com/.

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The Significance Of Family Law

The ever famous quote, “The only permanent thing in the world is change,” may be over used but it is true. Two people who may be very much in love today and so determined to get married and have a family can never be sure of how they are going to be in a few years time. They may be on very good terms today but they could also be the greatest enemies at some point of their lives. Because of this, family law is very important in today’s society. It may not be able to keep a family intact when their individual differences are tearing them apart but it is can help in giving them a civil and responsible end to the relationship.

Family law covers the legal concerns in a couple’s marriage especially when they find it necessary to divorce. A family lawyer will educate both parties about the consequences of divorce and their responsibilities. Family law covers the legal partition of conjugal properties in a way so that the separating parties do not have to fight over it and have an even more intense misunderstanding.

In case the separating parties have children, family law also gives their children security for their future. It defines to parents their responsibilities, like child support and child custody. It gives them the obligation to perform their responsibilities as parents and not to let their children live in a tormented “broken family” type of situation. It obliges parents to secure their children’s future by still providing for their necessities and other family needs. In case one of the parents decide to marry again, family law also covers prenuptial agreements which gives protection to his or her assets and makes sure that they are rightfully given to the children when the right time comes. It guarantees the security of the children’s future.

Even after divorce, the children should have the right to meet the family that they came from. They deserve to know who their relatives are or who their grandparents are. Family law covers grandparents’ rights, as well. If you have a good family lawyer, despite having gone through a divorce you will be guaranteed that you and your ex-partner are still be able to enjoy a peaceful civil relationship. Your children will not be as deeply affected by your marital fate.

Domestic violent is a common problem. Because of this, family law ensures protection for every member of the family – especially the children. It serves as a shield against emotional and physical abuse. It gives restraining orders to those who threaten you and your children. It gives PFA, or Protection for Abuse, orders to those who are being threatened.

Family law is very significant in protecting families; a wife, a husband and their children can never be certain about what their lives will be like in the future. Whether you have a good family relationship right now or not, it is best to get family law advice to guarantee yourself and your family security for your future.

Hawkins Law firm is located in the Snead Building in Arab, Alabama. Hawkins Law LLC assists individuals and businesses with a broad range of legal services including family-law and estate-planning. For more information call now (256) 586-4510 or visit our website http://www.hawkinslawllc.com/.

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Family Law Continues To Evolve

The field of family law can be broadly described as the group of legal matters dealing with topics involving marriage, children, and related, domestic relations issues. Traditionally, attorneys would assist their clients in divorce, child custody, alimony, child support, and paternity suits. Adoptions and representation of juvenile clients in criminal matters also fall under the umbrella of this area of legal representation.

Changing attitudes concerning marriage and divorce, the impact of scientific advances in the realm of reproduction and fertility, and the expanding scope of parental rights and obligations have created a dynamic environment requiring practitioners to keep abreast of societal trends as well as those involving court decisions and changes in the laws.

Marriage and Divorce

No single aspect of family law has changed more dramatically than the related fields of marriage and divorce. Prior to the early 1970s, divorce was often a difficult and expensive proposition in most of the United States. The requirements of “finding fault” often made the act of dissolution of the marital relationship nearly impossible. Grounds such as abandonment, cruelty, and, of course, adultery had to be proven in court before a divorce could be granted.

With the creation of no-fault divorce, a simple statement that the parties had reached “irreconcilable differences” became sufficient to legally end the marriage. Even with this more realistic and streamlined approach, attorneys practicing domestic relations still have to resolve issues such as separate maintenance (alimony), child support and custody, visitation, and property division. The various changes impacting these elements continue to reflect the changing dynamic of the 21st-century family.

In addition to recognition of the legality of same-sex marriages by the US Supreme Court, the increase in non-married couples creating a familial relationship has dramatically redefined what “marriage” (in the legal sense) truly means. The legal status of children of these non-traditional families often has to be determined through a formal proceeding. Similarly, the increase in adoptions, both domestic and foreign, is also creating challenges that the modern domestic relations lawyer may face.

Science and Technology

Family law practice has been profoundly impacted by many of the scientific advances made in the areas of reproduction, fertility, and at the other end of the spectrum, death. The question of parental rights involving surrogate parents who owns embryos and semen that has been frozen and stored, and the legal relationship of children born as a result of artificial insemination, are some of the areas that have recently become a part of the domestic relations practice.

With all of these profound and dramatic changes, the family law practice of the 21st century encompasses the legal, financial, and medical dynamics that assert an impact on legal relationships involving the family. This state of evolving changes in the law will require lawyers in this field to constantly hone their skills and refresh their knowledge to meet the needs of their clients.

To learn more about their options for family law, Toms River, NJ residents should visit http://cldds.com/family-law/.

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