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Family court is a subdivision of the state circuit court that deals with familial legal issues across a broad spectrum of categories. In this article, we discuss the types of cases that are seen in family court and how an attorney can help to navigate them. We also cover resources for survivors of domestic violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by their partners in the United States. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, please use caution and ensure your internet usage is safe before following the resources linked below. Follow along to learn more about the types of cases handled in family law courts. 

Types of Family Court Cases

Though there is always the option for mediation and collaboration, if the two parties are unable to see eye to eye, litigation may be needed to resolve the issue. In these cases, it will be up to a judge to determine the result that best fits the situation at hand. The section below will dive deeper into some of the more common cases seen in family court and how an attorney may support the desired outcome. 


Divorce, marriage dissolution, and separation all fall under the family court umbrella. As this category involves separating what was once one life into two separate pieces, there can be a lot of difficult questions and issues to navigate. Aside from the division of assets and money, child support, custody, and alimony are all possible issues that may arise. Attorneys who specialize in divorce are there to help mediate difficult conversations and protect the rights (and assets) of their clients. Much of what will be discussed in the paragraphs below may need to be explored during the marriage dissolution process. 

Alimony or child support

Child support is a court-ordered series of payments that provides financial support by the noncustodial parent after a divorce. Alimony provides the same financial support to a spouse during the separation or divorce process. While these discussions can be mediated peacefully, it is not always possible for both parties to reach an agreement. Potentially, one parent is refusing the amount requested or being untruthful about their income, and this is where an attorney can step in. Attorneys help negotiate spousal and child support, provide evidence to support the amount requested and investigate the other party's wealth or hidden assets. Once financial support is secured, it is often paid through wage garnishment or other assets and, as it is court-ordered, enforced by law. Circumstances change, and attorneys are there to renegotiate previously established amounts as well due to increased financial need for medical costs or other important factors. 

Child custody

Child custody determines which parent or guardian will take bulk (or entire) responsibility for children or vulnerable adults. In these cases, a legal agreement is made with custody and visitation arrangements. Judges consider many factors, such as a child's health, age, and relationship with their parents. Parents will have the opportunity to collaborate on an agreement where their ability to provide for the children (financially and emotionally) will be discussed. If the conversations turn into litigation, attorneys can help negotiate potential arrangements such as who will have primary custody, whether either parent may move out of state, if that move would include the children, determining visitation schedules, and negotiating the overall terms of a custodial agreement. Life keeps moving, so an attorney can be called in to renegotiate any aspect of the agreement as the circumstances in the family change. 

Domestic violence

The UN describes domestic violence as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over a partner. Many continue to endure violence due to feelings of fear, shame, and powerlessness to escape their current situation. There are options in court to seek protective orders for you and your children. Experienced attorneys are able to file a petition for emergency, temporary, or permanent restraining or protective orders. In addition, they can advocate for emergency custody to be granted in order to keep kids away from potentially dangerous situations.  

Resources for Victims of Domestic and Family Violence

National Domestic Violence Hotline

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 every day to help survivors seek freedom from abusive situations. Their highly trained advocates offer compassionate support, resources, and referrals in over 200 languages. The NDVH services are free and confidential. Their website provides the option to call, chat, or text their representatives for help anytime and anywhere. 

You may contact them directly by calling 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or texting “START” to 88788.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is an organization dedicated to supporting survivors, holding offenders accountable, and demanding change from policymakers. On their site, they offer a personalized safety plan where survivors can prepare for future incidents, make a plan of escape, and begin to sort through their current situation without judgment.  Their websites host a plethora of websites for people across different races, genders, and sexual orientations.

NCADV Resource Page

StrongHearts Native Helpline

Indigenous women are approximately 3.5 times more likely to experience some form of spousal violence than non-indigenous women. The StrongHearts Native Hotline is a safe and confidential hotline that offers culturally appropriate support and advocacy for Native Americans and Alaskan Indigenous People. They offer peer support, crisis intervention, safety planning, and native-centered resources. 

StrongHearts Native Helpline can be reached at 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483)

StrongHearts Native Helpline Help Page

How To Find a Family Lawyer

If you are experiencing any of the situations mentioned above, it may be time to contact a family law attorney. For a full breakdown of How to Hire a Family Lawyer, check out the linked article, where we break down the best tips for finding an experienced lawyer. You may also peruse the directory of family attorneys who have gone through’s extensive selection process. If you’d like some extra help navigating your options, allow our concierge service to recommend the top providers in your area by calling 848-BookPro (848-266-5776).

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