Before hiring a family law attorney, it's a good idea to understand what fields of practice they actually handle. Family law covers matters that arise from marriages, domestic partnerships and having children. That covers a lot of territory, and you should make a point to ask for a consultation and learn what a particular lawyer is most comfortable dealing with. This list will give you a better starting point for that conversation.
A family law attorney can advise anyone who wants to put together a marriage agreement and anyone who has entered into a marriage without one. If you're looking to get a divorce, annul a marriage, or execute the terms of a prenuptial agreement, a family lawyer can be an asset. Be aware that not all lawyers will take on litigation, so ask about how they handle court cases if you're worried that a dispute may not be resolved through negotiation.
The government takes a particular interest in seeing that problems involving children are resolved in as orderly a manner as possible. From adoptions to child custody disputes, a family law attorney can guide you through the system. More complex issues covered by family law include surrogate pregnancies, abductions of kids, and the payment of child support. Should responsibilities for child care need to be assigned, such as ensuring that a kid's education is paid for, the court can step in to see that this is addressed.
Access to children is a big matter, too. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, and other relatives all have the right to petition the court to set up visitation schedules. The court can also appoint a family law attorney to serve explicitly as counsel to represent a child's interests when there are conflicts with parents.
Domestic Abuse Concerns
Questions about the abuse of a spouse, domestic partner, or child typically go to family court. Even if the instance of abuse was bad enough to lead to criminal charges, eventually the family law system will be asked to weigh in. Depending upon the circumstances and the disposition of the involved parties, the court may take action to separate children from abusive parents, restrain abusive partners from contact with victims, and compel parties to enter into counseling.
The court also weighs in when agreements or judgments are not being followed. Matters enforced under the system include alimony, child support, visitations and restraining orders.
If you need help with any of these situations, contact a lawyer from a firm like the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C.