Family law is an area of the legal system that deals exclusively with domestic family matters, including issues between a married couple and their children. It is also referred to as family law because it is governed by the Family Code. This code contains both civil and criminal codes that deal with the family and domestic issues of individuals. While each state usually has its own unique laws pertaining to family and domestic matters, the family courts usually have concurrent jurisdiction over all matters involving the family, regardless of where those matters happen to be filed. These courts are part of the state courts. A family lawyer represents the client in family court, which means that this lawyer must also be licensed in the state in which the proceedings are held.
A divorce involves the division of one’s property and liabilities to one or both of the parties to the divorce. It is one of the most important family law matters. A divorce can occur for a variety of reasons, such as: a husband and wife have differing opinions on key issues (such as the division of their property and children), they are no longer able to remain married because of their differences, or the marriage is coming to an end due to serious domestic problems. In some instances, even if one spouse is at fault for the divorce, the other spouse may still be able to bring a motion for a divorce.
In cases where the parents are divorced, one of them (usually the father) may seek custody of the children. Custody agreements are made between the two parents after a brief amount of time (many hours) spent talking with the children’s other parent and with the other legal professionals handling the case. The parents often have a choice as to the type of custody arrangement they enter into, but they generally have equal parenting time and parental rights with the children. When the parents decide to divide up the physical custody of the children, they will need to file a request for custody with the family law courts. They will be required to demonstrate why they should have sole custody over the children, how they will care for the children, and how they will financially support the children.
In addition to joint legal custody, one of the parties may include the other in child support obligations. The terms of this obligation will vary from state to state. It may include financial obligation or it may include responsibility for any medical expenses the child might require. It may also include visitation rights and/or temporary custody of the children while the divorce proceeding is underway. If a parent changes their mind about how they want to handle the divorce, they must inform the court about their new wishes.
When a person is seeking custody or visitation, it is best to retain the services of experienced, compassionate family law lawyers. Because family law tends to be very sensitive and complex, only experienced lawyers should be consulted. Good lawyers always try to maintain a professional relationship with their clients, especially during a period of litigation. After a divorce, lawyers are often asked to be “on call” for their client, so it is important for them to stay in regular contact with their clients. There are many ways in which good lawyers can help their clients, including preparing and executing their winning strategy, ensuring that they have adequate facts and documentation concerning the case, and assisting their clients in the preparation of a court filing.
Teixeira de Sousa believes, “Families are made stronger by faith, love, and respect.” She believes that families need the guidance and legal representation of an attorney at the time of a divorce proceeding so that they have the information they need to make informed decisions. “When a family has to face a challenge, it’s wise to seek the counsel of an attorney who has the expertise and experience needed to guide them through the legal issues that may arise,” she states. Teixeira de Sousa believes that a good lawyer can increase a parent’s chance of “lasting positive effects” on their children.