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2024

Family Law Resources & FAQs

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FAQs

  • What kinds of cases do family lawyers handle?

    Family lawyers handle all types of family-related issues, including divorce, child support and spousal support, custody, adoption, paternity and guardianship. Family attorneys can also handle prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and divide marital assets based on the policies outlined in these documents. Domestic violence cases are also within the purview of family law attorneys.

  • Is family court different from district court?

    In most states, family court is a division of the district court rather than a separate court system. Family law judges primarily preside over family disputes, such as divorce and custody hearings. Most states require family law judges to receive special training on how to best address family law matters.

  • How long do custody cases last in family court?

    The duration of custody cases can differ based on the circumstances surrounding the claim. A case in which parents agree to split custody can be quick, while lawsuits in which both parents or guardians are fighting for full custody can take much longer. Most child custody cases last three to 10 days, but this can vary under more challenging circumstances.

  • Why is there no jury in family court?

    There are no juries in family court cases because the concept of innocence or guilt does not apply. While there may be some cases in which additional opinions could be helpful, most cases are based on the letter of the law versus individual circumstances. Some states, including Texas, permit jury trials for family court cases, but this is uncommon.

  • What are the most common cases in family court?

    Family law covers a variety of different cases pertaining to familial relations. The most common cases in family court include:

    • Divorce cases, including settling issues of alimony, property distribution, and child care
    • Child custody and the determination of paternity
    • Domestic violence protection orders
    • Name changes, including modifications due to adoption or personal preference
    • Guardianship, including who will handle the care of a child or adult should current caretakers be unable to do so
    • Adoptions and the termination of parental rights
    • Juvenile matters, including child abuse and neglect, foster placements, and criminal conduct
    • Emancipation, which is the process of declaring a minor as independent from their parents
    • Approval of underage marriages

  • Do family lawyers handle mediation?

    Mediation can be a valuable part of a divorce case, counseling spouses to work through areas of disagreement in a fair, calm, and unbiased manner. Most, but not all, family lawyers handle mediation. Anyone who believes they may need intervention services is encouraged to ask about an attorney’s experience with resolving disputes, to ensure that support is available if necessary.

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