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What is family law?

Family law is a specialty branch in the legal field that involves dealing with issues that are related to domestic relationships or families. In many states, including Virginia, some family law matters are handled by specific courts and judges. One reason family law is separated is to clear other court dockets, but it is also beneficial to families to have courts that are experienced in needs related to things such as custody or divorce.

According to the University of Baltimore, the majority of family law attorneys handle divorce and related issues. Common family law issues include alimony, child support, child custody and the division of marital property. Other work handled by family law attorneys includes postnuptial and prenuptial agreements, child abuse cases, adoptions, domestic violence or cases dealing with juvenile delinquency.

For individuals involved in any of the above issues, the benefit of dealing with someone familiar with such matters is that they understand the law and the local court system. Knowing what to expect from the court process and knowing the judges that may preside over issues can increase the possibility of a successful outcome in any legal matter.

Family law matters are often steeped in emotion, sometimes even involving a crisis. However, going into a legal situation full of emotion or in blind desperation can cause problems down the line. A third party who is able to remain logical and calm about issues may be able to better negotiate agreements or suggest possible solutions. In the end, every person and family must make their own choices, but having someone to explain the options can lead to a more educated decision.

Source: University of Baltimore, "Quick Guide to Family Law" Nov. 05, 2014

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