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What Is Family Law?
Family law is the legal framework for resolving marriage and family issues. Family law deals with:
- Marriage and divorce
- Civil unions and domestic partnerships
- Legal separation
- Paternity or parentage
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support and spousal support or alimony
- Domestic violence and abuse
- Adoption and guardianship
Family Law Process
- Stipulation: When the parties agree on an issue, they can put the agreement, called a "stipulation," into writing and submit it to the court for approval. If the court approves the agreement, it will become an enforceable court order.
- Mediation: Usually the parties disagree about at least some of the issues in a family law matter. When there is disagreement, a court will often order the parties to go to “mediation.” At mediation, a third-party neutral, called a “mediator,” assists the parties in reaching an agreement. In child custody disputes, most states require that the parties go to mediation before the court will decide custody and visitation.
- Trial: If the parties are unable to agree after attempting mediation, the case may go to trial. At trial, the parties attempt to persuade the court to rule in their favor by presenting documentary evidence or calling witnesses At trial, judges, rather than juries, decide family law issues.
Should I Contact a Family Law Attorney?
Family law issues are not only emotionally taxing, but can have far-reaching financial and life consequences. A family lawyer can help you understand your situation and can represent your best interests in a legal dispute.
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Last Modified: 05-01-2014 10:42 AM PDT
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