When people talk about family law, one of the first things that come to mind is divorce and some of the issues surrounding it. However, family law covers a wider scope of matters. Whether you are in the process of hiring a family law practitioner, or simply curious, it will definitely help to understand some of the matters covered under family law.
- Legal Separation
One of the prominent matters involved in family law is divorce. A divorce is a legal dissolution of a marriage by a family law court. In most divorce cases, the family law attorneys that are hired by each spouse will try to reach a legal agreement to prevent the divorce case from going to trial. If a compromise can be made, the lawyers can draft the conditions for the dissolution of the marriage.
- Child Custody
When there is a divorce, and the separating partners have children, there are certain provisions under family law that ensure that the children are properly cared for. Child custody deals with issues that determine which of the parent the child(ren) will continue to live with after the divorce. Whoever gets custody of the child(ren) will also make the major decisions regarding care for the child.
- Child Support
Child custody and child support are usually addressed together under family law but, they are two different things. Child support in family law deals with financial support given by one of the parents to the other. It is usually paid by the parent who doesn’t have custody, and earns more, to the parent that has custody and is the primary caregiver of the children.
Under family law, alimony is described as the allowance paid by one of the divorcing parties to the other party for financial support during or after a legal separation. Another word for alimony is spousal support. The terms of alimony depend on the financial status of either partner, because the partner that makes more money pays alimony to the partner that makes less.
- Paternity Cases
In a family setting where the father is absent in providing the necessary care and support to his child or children, the mother can file for a paternity case in a family court, through a family lawyer. The goal of filing a paternity case is to secure support payments from the father for the child(ren).
Family law covers a lot of issues and it cuts across some other sectors of legal practices that relate to children and human rights. For example, cases of domestic violence and child abuse are treated as criminal cases, however, it still falls on family law to make provisions to protect the victims by providing a safe environment for them.