In today’s culture, attorneys for family law are among the most frequently sought law professionals. The areas of law covered by family law are extensive, and the types of cases they handle are prevalent. In this article, we’ll answer the question “What is a family law attorney?” and provide a brief overview of the types of cases they handle.
What is a family law attorney?
Family law attorneys handle a wide range of cases, including divorce, paternity testing, adoption and surrogacy, and child abuse and abduction. It is their job to provide legal council for those involved in family related disputes. Family courts have, in many jurisdictions, the most crowded dockets because they see representatives of all social and economic classes.
Many of those seeking family law information are interested in matters of divorce. Divorce law attorneys aren’t just involved with the actual separation, but in related matters including property settlements, alimony, and child custody and visitation. The best family law attorneys have expertise in all of these areas, providing their clients with assistance throughout the process.
Divorce proceedings have changed substantially, even within the last hundred years. While some states, including Arizona, now offer no fault divorce options allowing the dissolution of a marriage if even one partner is no longer interested in continuing the relationship, others do not allow for such separations. Many require that some charge be placed against the other spouse or require some period of legal separation before divorce is granted. Changing attitudes toward divorce can be pointed to as a cause for the shift, since even in colonial America, divorce was nearly unheard of. The cause was, in part, that it would have been costly and time consuming to obtain a divorce decree. Today, however, the best family law attorneys can expedite the process.
Statistically speaking, most divorces are filed, somewhat ironically, in February. Marriages by people who are older, have higher incomes, and have higher educations are more likely to succeed.
At least in Arizona, paternity is not legally proven for children born out of wedlock without some legal action. As a result, family law attorneys are essential in order to help children born out wedlock to receive the same rights and benefits that are afforded to children born of married parents. Paternity testing is one of the services provided by the best family law attorneys and is becoming more popular as more children are being born to unwed parents.
Adoption and Surrogacy
The process of adopting a child involves the legal transfer of all rights and responsibilities from a biological parent to another person. Effecting a permanent change in status, adoption has an involved litigation process. The best family law attorneys know all the ins and outs of the adoption process and are able to walk parents surrendering their rights or parents assuming rights through the process. Surrogacy is another area of family law that is expected to become more common as more states legalize gay marriage. Surrogacy arrangements involve a woman who agrees to carry and deliver a child for another couple or person who, usually, is unable to bear children for medical or biological reasons. Such cases involve heavy legal work including agreements about monetary compensation, parentage, and often legal contracts.
Though the best family law attorneys are well versed in a number of areas, many choose to focus on one area or another. However, areas will often overlap, requiring an understanding of the many types of cases involved in family law practice. Still, it is best to seek out an attorney who specializes in the type of case being brought. Helpful sites: www.gillaw.com