What is Family Law?
Family law is an area of the legal system that deals specifically with domestic relationships and family related matters. This part of the legal system is comprised of attorneys who are trained in different areas of this law. An attorney can specialize in a specific area such as criminal defense or may be a generalist. The primary function of a family lawyer is to represent the interests of their clients in family court as well as in criminal proceedings.
Criminal defense involves the legal representation of those charged with crimes. This area of family law involves the argument that one’s constitutional rights were violated by the state. It also deals with the argument that the person did not act deliberately when the act was committed. Criminal defense attorneys are experts at interpreting the laws of our nation and have the skills necessary to defend someone accused of a crime.
Civil cases deal with disputes over actions that occur between private parties. These types of cases can range from disagreements over property to accusations of abuse. Civil law only affects one party involved, whereas criminal cases involve both parties and often include attorneys for both sides. A civil case is less complex than criminal litigation and tends to resolve more quickly because there is not a necessity for a trial. In a civil case, the parties reach an agreement that goes before a judge and reach a settlement.
Adoption is a very important topic when discussing family law litigation. Adoption laws pertain to the rights of the adopted child or children of a couple. For parents who have made the choice to share their togetherness, but cannot wed, the laws govern how they can raise and manage their child or children. In certain states, the laws also govern guardianship of those who have been adopted. Adoption litigation is most often heard in family court.
Divorce is a topic that involves both marriage and divorce. When two married adults wish to end their marriage, they must first decide if it is better for them to separate legally or if they wish to get both parties to agree to a divorce. The laws regarding the division of assets, custody and visitation are different in marriage and divorce. In the state of Texas, a divorce is the final legal decree for a marriage.
The responsibility of a family lawyer is to assist clients in resolving the issues in family law that concern them. They will conduct depositions, interview witnesses, present arguments and collect and analyze evidence. While family law is a legal practice, many times family law attorneys are called upon to represent people who have been the subject of domestic violence, have been the victim of abuse, have children who need custody or are attempting to obtain equal representation under an employment dispute. It is vital that family lawyers are knowledgeable about the laws as well as local customs, so that they may best represent their clients.