It is a branch of law that deals with domestic relations and family matters such as marriage, adoption, child abuse, child abduction, property settlement, child support and visitation, and more. It is also called matrimonial law. Among many jurisdictions, family courts are the most crowded. Lawyers who handle these types of cases are called family law lawyers or advocates. The main two issues that this lawyer will handle are legal separation and divorce. During these issues, the attorney will attempt to divide marital property, advocate for the amount to be paid for alimony and child support, settle child custody issues, and determine visitation rights. In cases of divorce and separation, each party will have its own family law attorney. If no agreement can be reached for any issues they may be taken to court and those judges will usually issue a final order on the issues.
Adoption is another area that a family law attorney handles. The lawyer will help the couple take several steps to make the adoption legal. In every jurisdiction, the laws are different and may vary according to the age of the child. In some jurisdictions the birth parent will always retain some rights while in other jurisdictions, all of their legal parental rights are completely waived.
Another duty that a family law attorney performs is preparing documents to help prevent future issues. One example is creating a pre-nuptial agreement that will determine how assets will be divided if the couple were to divorce. It can also be a postnuptial agreement not only about how assets will be divided but also how child visitation, custody, and support should be arranged. If they have that level of expertise, they can also set up a trust fund in the name of the children or spouse. In some situations, a family law attorney may have to handle criminal cases. The attorney may specialize in specific areas such as domestic violence or juvenile law.
A family law attorney may work for a law firm or open their own office. To become an attorney, you must attend law school and then pass an exam to become a practicing attorney. Before attending law school, you must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, as long as it is an approving jurisdiction. While in college, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, but it is helpful to prepare for a law career if it is in a business, law-related, or political science major. To help gain some experience, work as a clerk or intern at a law firm that specializes in family law.