As the name suggests, family law is a branch of law that deals with matters related to families. While most people think that family law only deals with divorce and custody, the truth is far beyond. Family lawyers deal with many cases, including adoption, guardianship, emancipation, etc.
Family lawyers are legal professionals who deal with and overlook matters and issues relating to families. While they handle divorce, custody, and domestic problems, they also help with family economic matters. Family lawyers tend to assist with all family issues, whether children with dysfunctional families or people who have abusive spouses. Let’s further elaborate on this:
Role of lawyers in helping families
While the legal system is present in almost every country and region, its application and execution differ. Each sector, industry, and field within a country is subject to multiple laws, regulations, and rules governed and implemented by a state body or authority. Amongst all these laws, the laws protecting families and their rights are the focus of this article.
Nowadays, families can approach lawyers to settle issues arising from domestic relationships such as custody, emancipation, adoption, etc. Moreover, they can even hire lawyers to help fight for their rights, specifically where others have wronged them, such as medical professionals. For instance, a cerebral palsy attorney can help families seek justice against the childbirth injury caused to their child. They help families attain the rightful financial compensation needed to provide treatment. While this domain of law doesn’t directly fall under family law, it’s worth mentioning how lawyers can assist families with any worrying matter.
Now, let’s discuss the various types of family law:
1. Divorce and separation
In the case of a divorce, a family lawyer aims to provide the two parties with guidance regarding the procedures of obtaining the divorce. Moreover, lawyers seek to educate the parties on the possible outcomes before arriving at a final decision. They also help negotiate the division of property, assets, and liabilities.
In some cases, they even help the two reach a settlement, such as a separation. It’s a situation where the parties in conflict remain legally married, but orders against property division are issued.
2. Child custody
If the divorcing party has children, the lawyer helps determine which parent gets custody. It consists of the rights and responsibilities of parents in taking care of their children. Child custody consists of legal custody and physical custody. The former means that they possess the right to make legal decisions about the child. In contrast, the latter means that the kid will live with the parent having physical custody.
Moreover, lawyers also help establish visitation rights for the parents. Other duties include determining the amount of child support contributed by each parent.
Adoption is when an adult officially becomes the guardian of a child, incurring the rights and responsibilities of a parent. Laws regarding the legal adoption of a child are complex and consist of multiple formalities one has to navigate through. A family lawyer assists in making sure the paperwork is done correctly, and the adoption is legally documented.
The lawyer also deals with any legal proceedings against the adoption.
4. Abuse and domestic violence
As for children suffering from abuse, family lawyers can help assess the case, gather proof, and even terminate the parent’s guardianship if deemed necessary.
5. Guardianship Lawyers
Guardianship is different from adoption, as a guardian tends to hold responsibility for the child’s well-being. On the other hand, adoption is a procedure whereby the adult becomes the permanent parent. A family lawyer can assist individuals looking to obtain guardianship of a minor. They can facilitate you with paperwork or help you get custody when required.
If the child has entered the foster care system, a lawyer can be helpful for guidance on how to re-obtain the child.
Emancipation refers to someone choosing to be “free” or out of bound of their parental guardianship before they turn eighteen. Children who want to be emancipated can contact a family lawyer to help them with the legal proceedings and prove their claim in court. However, gaining emancipation is not that easy as the child has to file a petition with the state court. Afterward, the court checks and ensures whether the child is meeting the criteria set by the court or not.
7. Juvenile cases
In this branch of family law, lawyers deal with minors below 14 (may vary in some states). The cases can range from child abuse, illegal behaviors, to even neglect. Matters might even take the child to a juvenile prison or hold them on probation until adulthood. Moreover, work permits may also be granted depending on the child’s financial situation.
Contrary to what most believe, family law deals with many aspects of family matters, not just divorce and child custody. A few of these matters are abuse and domestic violence cases, guardianship, emancipation, and juvenile-related cases. Being well informed about these branches can help you gain more knowledge and help tackle emerging family issues accordingly. While most people resolve family issues themselves, seeking professional help is always viable.