Family law is the area of law dealing with almost any issue that can come up in a family. These include cases dealing with marriage, separation, and divorce. Family lawyers also handle cases concerning child custody, child support, and spousal support. These are fairly well-known types of cases that are handled by divorce lawyers also known as family lawyers. Some less well-known areas of law that are handled in family courts are:
Civil unions: There is controversy over the legal standing of civil unions. Many countries recognize these as being similar to marriage. They are often applied to same-sex couples allowing them the same rights and responsibilities as marriage would.
Domestic relations: This is a broad term that basically covers all the areas of family law. Many countries have created special courts to deal with this area, know as family courts. Along with other matters dealt with by a family lawyer these courts also hear cases about guardianship, truancy, and juvenile delinquency.
Legitimacy: Legitimacy is not often referred to even in a court of law currently. It used to have a greater impact as only legitimate children were allowed to inherit estates. Today you are more likely to hear the terms extra-marital child or love child than illegitimate child.
Adoption: Adoption is understood by most people, it is a more common practice now than in the past. However, in both time frames when a person adopts a child they assume all parental rights and obligations to the child. There are many ways to adopt a child today, either within the country where a person lives or internationally. Family lawyers can help with these proceedings to ensure that the adoptive parents are not being given false information.
Child abuse: Unfortunately child abuse is a growing concern for most countries of the world. As the laws regarding how a child should be cared for and disciplined have changed, so have the number of cases being heard in court surrounding this topic. This is always a touchy subject to get a ruling on, all cases have to be well documented before being presented in a court of law.
Property settlements: In the case of the death of a spouse or the dissolution of a marriage the court system must decide on an equitable division of property and assets resulting from the marriage. Keep in mind that equitable does not mean equal. The court has a long list of things that they take into consideration before reaching their decision.
These are only a sampling of the types of cases that Family Lawyers deal with everyday. In almost every type of case emotions make working on these cases extremely difficult. Family lawyers are often as much counselor and lawyer; helping people work through their emotions to reach a desirable ending.