Family Law: The Basics


Marriage and divorce carry significant legal ramifications in today’s society. Domestic relations and family-related matters are a simple answer to those wondering what family law deals with. Most family law practices concentrate on defending clients in divorce proceedings and divorce-related matters.

The legal term ‘custody’ describes the practical and legal connection between a parent and child. It involves the parent’s responsibility to provide for the child and the parent’s right to make choices on the child’s behalf. In custody disputes, a family law judge provides visitation rights to the parent who loses custody.

Those involved in such a case need to consult a professional child custody lawyer, but first, they have to be aware of the family law attorney description. A family lawyer is a qualified attorney who handles legal disputes involving family members. These could involve emancipation, adoption, guardianship, or divorce.

They are in charge of managing family estates, observing mediation sessions, and providing legal counsel. They also have access to the phone number for family law court for easier and faster communication if the need arises.

In today’s culture, marriage and divorce are fraught with legal implications. Though during Anglo Saxon times in England, they were viewed as private matters, there are now entire practices devoted to family law. No longer dealing with only marriage, divorce, child custody, and child support, family law specialists now also handle areas of law related to the legal rights of persons who have never been married.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the components of family law, including divorce and child custody as they apply to those who are married, in a civil union, or part of a domestic partnership.


Divorce can only be sought by those who have already been married, and occurs most commonly about eight years into a first marriage. The highest national marriage and divorce rates are found in Western states, followed by the South. The Northeast region boasts the lowest marriage and divorce rates. The dissolution of marriage often involves issues of alimony, child custody, child support, distribution of property, and division of debt. There are four types of divorce.

  1. At fault divorce occurs when one party commits an act incompatible to the marriage. Faults include desertion, abandonment, cruelty, and adultery. They can be contested.
  2. No fault divorce is available in some jurisdictions and requires no allegation or proof of fault of either party. Generally, they are chalked up to irreconcilable differences or irretrievable breakdown.
  3. Summary divorce is used when spouses meet certain eligibility or can agree on key issues ahead of time. Key factors include a marriage lasting less than five years, no children, minimal or no real property, little marital property, and little personal property.
  4. Uncontested divorce is the most common type of divorce in the U.S. and occurs when two parties are able to agree about the property, children, and support issues.

Child Custody

Custody is the legal term used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and child and includes the right of the parent to make decisions for the child and the parent’s duty to care for the child. Visitation are also often granted during custody battles to the parent who does not receive custody. There are seven forms of custody.

  1. Alternating custody exists when the child lives for an extended period of time with each parent separately. The parent who is with the child retains sole authority over the child for that time.
  2. Shared custody also exists when the child lives with each parent separately for extended periods of time, but both parents retain authority over the child regardless of the child’s location.
  3. Bird’s nest custody is less common and involves the movement of parents back and forth from a residence where the child resides permanently.
  4. Joint custody is an arrangement where both parents have legal and physical custody.
  5. Sole custody exists when only one parent has physical and legal custody of the child. Visitation rights are sometimes granted to the non custodial parent.
  6. Split custody is when one parent has full time custody over some children and the other parent has full time custody over the other children. Again, visitation rights may be granted to non custodial parents.
  7. Third party custody involves a person who is not a biological parent. This person has legal responsibility for the child.

Establishment of visitation rights are often the most frequently contested issues related to custody battles. References.

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