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Family Law Lawyers That Can Help
Family Lawyers handle cases that involve the legal relationships among family members, including - parents, children, husbands, wives, and domestic partners. Family laws differ from state to state but generally they are broken down into the sub-categories below.
Adoption lawyers are those that specialize in the process that recognizes an adult as the parent of a child who is not their biological child. All adoptions must be approved through the court system. Married couples, single people, and gay or lesbian couples all have an equal right to adoption through adoption laws, though the costs of adoption can be prohibitive.
Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody and visitation laws can frame contentious issues for divorced or separated couples. Legal and physical custody lawyers handle the two types of child custody. Physical custody laws describe a type of child custody that permits a parent to have a child live with him/her. Visitation rights are usually granted to a parent who has legal, but not physical, custody over his/her child.
Child support lawyers can request payments to be made by a mother or father to the partner who has primary custody of his or her child. These payments are intended to provide for the child's essential needs: food, shelter, clothing, health care, and educational expenses. Child support enforcement laws are enforced by the State and family law lawyers with the help of FPLS (Federal Parent Locator Service).
Divorce lawyers specialize in the largest area of Family Law. Divided into Contested" and "Uncontested" cases, divorces are inextricably tied to issues of property division, child custody, and spousal support. In certain states, divorce laws further divide divorce into "Fault" and "No-Fault" categories.
Guardianship lawyers arrange relationships that allow an adult to assume the role of a legal protector or guardian of an individual or "ward." Legal guardians are usually assigned to children whose natural parents are no longer able or willing to take care of him/her. Guardians of property, or "conservators," may also be assigned to see after the property of incapacitated adults under guardianship laws.
Paternity lawyers help to decide who should be legally recognized as the father of a child. Paternity law provides for voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, but prefers establishing paternity in court via a modern DNA test. Paternity and child support lawyers are a subset of family law lawyers who can handle paternity law issues that arise in child support cases. In certain situations, they may also manage paternity law cases dealing with inheritance, adoption, or custody.
Marital separation laws provide a legal alternative to divorce wherein a couple remains married, but comes to an agreement on how to live and divide their assets separately. While there are pros and cons to marital separation, it may be required by some states as a precursor to divorce.
Spousal Support or Alimony
Spousal support, or "alimony," encompasses regular payments made from one spouse to another either during a separation or after a legal divorce. Alimony laws are intended to help individuals achieve financial independence after separation or divorce, although spousal support is automatically terminated upon remarriage or death. Family law lawyers can also help terminate a spousal support agreement in certain events.
For more information on family law, feel free to visit our Family Law Blog.