Law is almost as extensive as healthcare in terms of specialization. In healthcare, you have different categories like oncology and cardiology. Likewise in law. Some attorneys focus on criminal defense. Others specialize in personal injury, immigration, or even real estate. One of the broadest categories is family law. It encompasses more than a dozen different practice areas.
ABM Family Law is a Chicago law firm consisting of three partners and two associates. They are family law specialists, representing clients involved in divorce, custody battles, and more. They say the top five areas of practice for family law firms are as follows:
It should be no surprise that doing a casual internet search on family law turns up a ton of results related to divorce. It could very well be that divorce attorneys constitute the majority of those who practice family law. At any rate, divorce is definitely a family law issue.
Divorce is technically a legal proceeding. Spouses and their respective attorneys work through a meticulous process that involves filing petitions, answering those petitions, working out child custody, negotiating property and financial settlements, and finalization. Courts do not need to get involved until couples are ready to finalize, unless said couples can’t reach amicable agreements. Then courts may have to intervene more aggressively.
2. Child Custody and Visitation
With divorce come issues relating to child custody and visitation. Family law attorneys represent parents as they work out such issues. This particular area of family law is especially sensitive due to those involved. Unfortunately, far too many couples use their children as weapons in divorce disputes. Attorneys have to navigate those waters while still looking out for the best interests of the children.
3. Child Support and Maintenance Payments
Child support and maintenance payments are also part-and-parcel with divorce proceedings. However, issues involving both can come up long after a divorce is finalized. ABM lawyers says it is not unheard of for family law attorneys to be retained to handle child support and maintenance cases that don’t come up until years after a divorce has been settled.
4. Marriage Annulment
There are times when couples split through annulment rather than divorce. In Illinois, as in most states, annulment is a legal recognition that the marriage in question was never legally valid. There are only a limited number of circumstances in which an annulment could be granted.
An example would be a case of bigamy. If it were demonstrated that a person was legally married to one spouse at the time that they married a second, that second marriage could be declared legally invalid. An annulment would be granted and that would be the end of it.
Adoption is another big area of family law. Unfortunately, there is a pervasive myth that suggests a distinction between attorney adoptions and agency adoptions. The myth suggests that parents can adopt a child directly through an agency without the need for any attorney intervention.
Here’s the dirty little secret on that: adoption agencies always utilize attorneys for the simple fact that adoption is a legal process. Adoptive parents choosing not to retain their own attorneys are essentially surrendering their rights to the adoption agency and its attorney. That’s not good. Adoptive parents need their own attorneys to protect their rights.
Family law firms also handle parental rights, grandparents’ rights, paternity cases, and even pre- and post-nuptial agreements. To say that family law is broad would be an understatement. That’s why it’s so important to seek out an attorney with experience in the particular issue you are dealing with.