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Family Law

Help for family law cases

Family law is comprised largely of civil regulations (as opposed to criminal ones), and is designed to govern a complete range of legal issues arising from domestic relationships, marriage and children. Hearings, lawsuits and mediations are conducted in a dedicated branch of family courts. Family law cases can take a long time to resolve, in part because of the complex nature of the legal issues at stake, but also because family courts experience regular backlogs due to public demand for litigation.

To some extent, you can bypass the family court system by filing your own family law forms with the appropriate authorities, where possible. Examples include cohabitation forms, uncontested divorce forms and separation agreements. However, you should always have an attorney review the forms before you sign or file them.

Family law cases can be highly volatile, especially those involving child custody or alimony. Because of this, it may be beneficial to try out custody or divorce mediation before resorting to a court hearing in an attempt to bridge gaps with fewer hurt feelings.

Branches of Family Law

The following legal topics are usually grouped under the umbrella heading of "family law":

  • Marriage law. This branch of law includes issues surrounding marriage, separation and divorce as well as domestic partnerships of both heterosexual and homosexual couples.
  • Child law. If a divorcing or separating couple has children, custody and child support issues will need to be legally resolved. Adoption, surrogacy and child welfare and protection are also covered under these laws.
  • Property law. Whether a couple is uniting and wants to legally define what property belongs to whom or a divorcing couple wants to fairly and equitably split their assets, property law often comes into play in family law cases.

How Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Whenever a family comes together or breaks apart, the legal rights of every individual member must be protected. Remember: the law is not there to create divisions or fracture relationships; it's intended to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equitably. If children, finances or property are affected by a domestic relationship, you should consult an attorney to ensure you are operating within the confines of the law and are receiving everything you're entitled to.

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