What is Family Law?

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Everyone has heard the term “family law” before. But, the term doesn’t do a good job of describing itself or what it includes. At some point in your life you may have wondered if you need a family law lawyer. Broadly speaking, “family law” doesn’t describe a narrow specialty or area of the law, but instead the term refers to a broad range of legal issues that deal with family matters and relationships. It consists of different laws, rules, and court decisions that govern the legal rights and responsibilities between individuals who share a close connection.

These relationships usually involve people who are related by blood or marriage, but family law can affect those in more distant relationship as well. Often times family law issues become more apparent when families or relationships are going through a time of transition. This could mean divorce or separation, or it could be a child custody, support or visitation dispute. It could be seeking protection from domestic violence. It could mean proactively defining a couple’s legal rights before entering into a marriage relationship through an Antenuptial/Prenuptial Agreement. Or, it could mean seeking to expand a family through adoption, or wanting to establish a parent/child relationship in a paternity matter. The “family law” umbrella covers many legal areas which include but aren’t necessarily limited to:

  • Divorce, Marriage Dissolution, Legal Separation
  • Child Custody
  • Parenting Time or Child Visitation
  • Alimony or Spousal Maintenance
  • Child Support
  • Paternity
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Antenuptial or Prenuptial Agreements
  • Property Division
  • Grandparent Visitation

Attorneys who practice family law must have a diverse range of skills to effectively guide clients through a family law case which includes one, and often many, of the above legal areas. Family Law Attorneys must draft and negotiate contracts and other legal documents, represent clients in motion hearings and trials, analyze and understand financial records and information, apply mathematical formulas for calculating support and property divisions, counsel clients on their legal rights and options, and resolve disputes. Family law often involves very personal and emotional feelings, so it is important that a family law attorney be compassionate, nonjudgmental, and have exceptional interpersonal skills.

If you are facing a family law issue, the law firm of Swenson Lervick has experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate lawyers and staff who will guide you through your family law case. 

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