What Is Family Law?

A Post by the best family law attorney Chicago IL

Family law is a specialized area of the law that deals specifically with family legal considerations. A family lawyer or attorney may, therefore, offer the following services:

1. Last Will And Testament

Your last will and testament dictate how you wish your belongings, finances, and estate to be distributed and dealt with when you pass away. It is recommended that every person have a will, no matter how old or young they are. A family lawyer will also act as executor of your estate and deal with probate issues as well as provide estate planning. In the event that a will comes under dispute, a family lawyer can provide you with a defense against a dispute or make a case for a dispute.

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2. Marriage

A family lawyer can advise you with regards to the different ways to get married and which may be the most suitable for you. Types of marriages include: in community of property, out of community of property, accrual system and prenuptial agreement. Your attorney will assist you with drawing up a prenuptial agreement that is fair and in your best interests.

3. Divorce

This is probably the largest area of law that family attorneys deal with due to the constantly rising divorce rate and the variety of matters that are related to divorce law. Some of the most common aspects related to divorce and family law include:

Division of Assets and Liabilities: This relates to how assets and liabilities that were brought into the marriage and accumulated throughout the marriage will be divided between the two parties once the marriage has been dissolved. Basically, it means who gets what and who pays for what. This is normally decided with regards to the type of marriage that was entered into or the prenuptial agreement but the party responsible for the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage may also play a role. For example, in the event of an affair or abuse, the injured party may receive greater benefits.

Child Custody: In most cases, the courts prefer to give joint custody to both parents of minor children that resulted from the marriage, including adopted children. Only under special circumstances where it is deemed to be in the best interest of the child, will sole custody be granted to one parent.

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Child Maintenance and Support: It is every parent’s responsibility to financially support their children and this obligation continues after the dissolution of marriage. Child support and maintenance is normally paid by a non-custodial parent or the parent with whom the child or children do not reside. However, the income of each parent is also taken into consideration. Child maintenance is one of the greatest issues that plague family lawyers due to non-payment that needs to be addressed on an ongoing basis.

Access to a Child: Every parent is allowed reasonable access to their children. Reasonable access is normally defined in an access and visitation agreement between the parents which will provide for when, where, how often and under which circumstances a parent may contact a child or have visitation.

Alimony: Traditionally, a husband was required to pay alimony to his ex-wife after a divorce in order to provide continued support, especially if he was found to be responsible for the divorce. However, due to the fact that most households are now dual income (meaning both wife and husband work), alimony is only awarded under special circumstances. For example, if a wife can prove that the husband provided financial support while she took care of other duties which prevented her from earning an income, alimony may be awarded.

Family attorneys may also negotiate divorce settlements as well as provide mediation.

4. Paternity

If the paternity of the father of a child is in dispute, this can be dealt with in the family courts. Normally, a DNA test will be ordered by the court to either confirm or negate paternity of a specific individual. If paternity is confirmed, the father will assume all the rights and responsibilities attributed to a parent.

5. Adoption

Family law deals with all areas of adoption to ensure that the process is legal.

A family lawyer may represent the best interests of an individual or an entire family unit.