What is Family Law?
Family law is an area of the law that covers all legal matters related to families and children. Most lawyers today specialize in one area of the law, like corporate law, criminal law, immigration law, personal injury law, etc. Lawyers who specialize in working with families and children are Family Law attorneys.
Any issues related to the family come under the umbrella of Family Law practice. And while most of us think of “family” as two heterosexual parents and their children, this area of the law also involves any issues between people who live together and/or have children together. In my own Family Law practice over the years, I have handled all of these family-related matters:
- Pre-Nuptial Agreements
- Property Settlement and Separation Agreements (where the parties negotiation the division of the assets and liabilities)
- Divorce – using traditional negotiation, litigation, mediation, or the collaborative process
- Civil Unions and same sex marriages and divorces
- Child custody, support and visitation
- Spousal Support
- Protective Orders and Domestic Violence
- Grandparents seeking custody or visitation
- Paternity issues
- Termination of Parental rights
This specialized area of the law can be complicated and confusing, as each family brings different concerns and challenges to the table. Because these cases typically involve intense emotions and can be difficult to manage, many lawyers avoid this area of the law like the plague.
An effective family law practitioner needs to be someone who has emotional and psychological savvy, as well as someone with good communication and listening skills, empathy, compassion, patience, and a solid knowledge of the law. Family law is not like other areas of the law where you can usually fit a square peg into a square hole and make your case fit with the law. These cases are like giant puzzles for the practitioner, with constantly moving parts and a goal of putting the pieces of the puzzle together in a way that brings the most value to the family. The needs of the parents need to be met. The needs of the children need to be met. And the financial future of the family is a critical factor as well.
Family law is a complicated area of practice, and there are always numerous options for the client to consider depending on his or her individual situation. If you have a family law case, seek out a competent family law attorney who specializes in this area.
Marcy Jones is a family law attorney with many years of experience working with clients in Central Virginia. She’s also a published author on the subject and her book, Graceful Divorce Solutions, was a Best Books Award winner from USA Book News. Marcy is trained in Collaborative Law and Mediation and that training imbues other areas of her family law practice.