Family Law

Family law is a term that refers to divorce and related types of legal practice. A family law attorney can help you with all aspects of marriage and family life in a legal capacity from a prenuptial agreement to divorce to child support and custody. A family law attorney should not be confused with a family attorney, however. Typically a family attorney is the go-to lawyer that you call if you're having a dispute with your neighbor or if you need to contest a traffic ticket. A family law attorney, on the other hand, is a specialist in divorce and related issues.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 18, 2021

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Overview

  • Family law refers to legal practice related to familial relations.
  • Most family law practice involves divorce and child custody.
  • Domestic violence and protective orders related to intimate partner violence crosses over between family law and criminal law.

Family law is the body of law that governs domestic issues. The specifics of the law will vary depending on the situation, but generally, the aim is to protect each individual’s rights within the context of family.

For instance, divorce law will address how property is divided and who will pay spousal support when a married couple separates, while child custody and visitation law will help determine what is in the best interest of a child when parents separate.

Domestic violence is another aspect of family law, but one that goes beyond the rest. Domestic violence can have very serious impacts on a victim or victims, but can also subsequently affect other family-related issues such as divorce or child custody, for this reason, it will often fall under the umbrella of family law. However, given the violence involved, it can also be considered a criminal offense and thus a matter of criminal law.

Whether you’re getting an amicable divorce or going through a complex child custody dispute or dealing with domestic violence, you can find an experienced family law attorney with our FREE search tool.

Family law attorneys

A family law attorney shouldn’t be confused with a family attorney or a family lawyer. The latter, typically, is the sort of general practice lawyer that many people go to for a variety of issues over the years. If you get a speeding ticket that you need to contest or if you need to update your will, you would likely reach out to your family lawyer first.

Family law attorneys, however, are those who specialize in family law.

If you have a simple divorce, your family lawyer may be able to handle it, but for complex divorces or contentious child custody matters, it’s better to find a specialist in family law.

In order to start your search for a family law attorney, use our FREE search tool now.

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