‘Family Law’ is a familiar phrase for most of us. Unfortunately, only a few have a clear idea about family law. To put it simple and straightforward, family law can be defined as a practice area pertaining to family disputes such as separation, divorce, child custody, child support and related matters. Some family law attorneys’ practice area is exclusive to paternity, emancipation, adoption and other matters not related to or resulting from divorce.
States enjoy an absolute right to determine the “reasonable requirements” including age for marriage. It is interesting to note that same-sex marriage is strictly prohibited in many states though with gays and lesbians claiming for legal rights to marry, the scenario is changing at a rapid pace. States have several laws governing the requirements and rules for divorce and other family disputes.
Important Terms of Family Law
- Marital Property: Property purchased by either spouse after marriage and subject to division in case of a divorce.
- Emancipation: A court process to help a minor become self-sufficient and enable him/her to take responsibility for his/her welfare.
- Paternity: Establishing paternity is all about confirmation about the child’s biological father
- Alimony: An allowance provided to support a spouse financially by the other spouse following the legal separation or divorce.
- Prenuptial Agreement: A mutual agreement reached by both the spouses before marriage in which they vow to give up their rights to each other’s property after divorce or death.
Why to Hire a Family Lawyer
There are several reasons that may prompt you to hire a Mesa family law attorney. Most of the times, person seek help of a family lawyer for divorce proceedings and divorce-related matters. However, family law encompasses a larger spectrum. It is not exclusive to only divorce related matters and actual divorce. Reproductive rights and foster care are very much a part of family law.
Here are the most common and convenient reasons to hire a family lawyer:
- Divorce: Many times, the couples are in favor of an amicable divorce to avoid a trial that requires a great deal of time, effort and money. Most lawyers also suggest for out-of-court settlement. Each spouse hires his/her own lawyer for representation. Divorce lawyers have expertise in the areas of marital property division, making a child custody plan and estimating spousal support.
- Paternity: In most cases, the mothers lodge a paternity claim to secure child support allowance from an absent father. Sometimes, a father also files for paternity in order to establish his biological relationship with a child. DNA testing is a usual requirement to settle a paternity issue.
- Child Custody/Support: Settlement agreements and court orders in this regard are a part of any larger divorce case. However, the court may order for a revisit of its settlement verdict if the condition changes. For example, the court may order for a change in child support allowance following a change in non-custodian parent’s financial condition.
- Foster Care/Adoption: Adoption is not an easy process. It differs due to several factors including the adoption type, the residential state of the child etc. Foster parents sometimes apply for adoption of their foster children. However, it does not necessarily calls for legal representation.