Family law is a branch dealing with family-related issues and domestic relations. Lawyers in this branch often represent clients going through divorce, and they can oversee things like the division of assets, child custody, and alimony. A family law attorney may also draft prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and oversee related matters. They may also be involved in domestic violence cases, representing the abused or the perpetrator, and some even specialize in areas such as adoption, child neglect, and juvenile delinquency.
Family lawyers generally have a wide range of knowledge and skills due to the variety of situations they have to litigate. If you feel you’re in need of family lawyers, you might consider contacting a firm like these Brisbane family law services. Practices specializing in family law will sometimes have separate divisions to handle different kinds of cases.
Divorce law is a common specialization for family lawyers. Divorce is defined essentially as the legal termination of a marriage contract, and while at one time a spouse had to prove the other at fault, every state now allows for “no fault” divorce. Most courts will still take the behavior of each spouse into consideration when making major decisions such as custody, child support, and dividing properties or debts. Generally speaking, individual properties (those owned before the marriage) remain in possession of each respective spouse, while shared properties are divided fairly between each.
Terms of divorce are generally determined by the court, although any prenuptial agreements are taken into account and adhered to. Spouses can also reach private agreements regarding the terms of a divorce, often referred to as an “uncontested divorce,” and these divorces are usually far faster and less expensive.
Child support law
Family attorneys will frequently deal with child support law once custody has been determined following a divorce. Regulations are determined by each state, and orders stay in effect until the child is of age. Because of this, parents relocating can cause the issue to become more complicated as multiple jurisdictions get involved.
Child support typically covers the basic necessities needed, including food, shelter, and clothing. Unless otherwise noted, it does not cover extracurricular activities or items such as sports uniforms for afterschool activities, medical expenses not typically covered by insurance, or even birthday parties. The order to pay child support is determined separately from all other issues. For example, a parent may be ordered to pay child support even if they are not allowed visitation rights. Attempting to avoid child support payments will typically result in employer withholding and potentially other consequences.
A petition for child support is typically easy to file for any parent who is deemed entitled to it. Specific guidelines are put in place by the state, and the amount paid is usually determined by the payer’s income.
Other common and important issues handled by family lawyers can include child abuse and adoption laws. Child neglect is by far the most prevalent form of child abuse, and it involves a failure to meet a child’s basic physical, mental, emotional, and educational needs. Many factors contribute to child neglect cases such as poverty, drug use, and mental health disorders.
Family lawyers may also become involved in the adoption process. Firstly, for a child to be adopted, the parent’s legal rights to care for the child must be terminated. Afterwards, various standards and laws will have an effect on the child’s eligibility for adoption and potential foster parents’ prospects. Ultimately, the lawyer’s goal will be to finalize the adoption process.
Family attorneys can also take cases of juvenile delinquency. This can include anything from arguing a case for a juvenile or moving to try a delinquent as an adult for a particularly serious crime. In more minor cases, they will likely recommend intervention efforts.
Becoming a practitioner
To become a family lawyer, you’ll need to complete all appropriate classes offered on family law, and most recommend at least one course on taxes. Volunteering for nonprofits geared towards family issues is a good way to gain early experience. You’ll most likely have the best luck practicing in a smaller firm that specializes in family law or a midsized organization with a family law practice.