Family law relates to all cases concerning family or domestic matters. The most common type of family law matter is divorce and the relating issues like child/spousal support, custody, and visitation. Beyond the considerable emotional pain, the end of a marriage is legally complex. You will need sound professional advice to determine child custody, financial support, and make a fair division of the property of the marriage.
ALTERNATIVES TO DIVORCE
Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to consider alternatives to divorce – marriage counseling, annulment or separation. Many couples try counseling from a marriage counselor, social worker or psychotherapist as an alternative to divorce. The counselor may be able to help you and your spouse learn communication skills and a better understanding of one another to prevent your marriage from failing. Counseling may also keep a relationship with your spouse from worsening even if divorce is unavoidable.
An annulment is a court ruling that a marriage was never legally valid. A marriage can only be annulled if there was a serious defect at the time of the marriage ceremony. Annulments are not that common and must meet specific requirements.
Legal separation is not the same as divorce, although it is very similar. When you and your spouse legally separate, the proceeding is much like a divorce in which you separate your assets and determine support payments. However, you do not dissolve your marital status for any legal purposes such as health insurance or taxes, and neither spouse can remarry until you receive a divorce.
If you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences that make it difficult to impossible for you coexist, divorce may be the best option.
Divorce can be uncontested or contested. Uncontested divorce is when both parties are in agreement to all issues of separation of property, visitation, and support. In a contested divorce, the parties cannot come to an agreement on these terms, so the court must make a ruling. Contested divorce is much more costly and time consuming because it is very similar to a lawsuit in a civil or criminal matter.
In addition, there are many matters that relate to divorce proceedings and are handled within the divorce case, such as child custody, child support, child visitation, and spousal support. During the divorce proceeding, the parties (or the court if necessary) will decide who gets custody of the children, when each parent will take care of the children, who is responsible for paying child or spousal support, and how much the support payments will be.
Divorce is emotionally and financially complex. It is important to see a lawyer to protect your rights and your future. Your lawyer may help you to save your marriage by referring you to a marriage counselor. If divorce is unavoidable, your lawyer can help you take the steps to end the marriage and advise you about obtaining custody of your children, support and fair division of property.
Domestic violence is behavior of one spouse towards the other spouse that is either physically, emotionally, sexually, or economically abusive. If you are a victim of or are being accused of domestic violence, our family law attorney can let you know what your rights are.
Family law matters include:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Restraining orders
- Domestic violence
- Legal separation
- Civil unions
- Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements
- Modification of family court orders
- Other domestic or family related issues