This branch of the law covers all legal matters that pertain to a family. This can include marriages, divorces, prenuptial agreements, adoption, civil unions, property settlement, child custody and visitation and more. To become an attorney that deals with family law you have to first get your bachelor’s degree, attend law school and then pass the bar but if you plan to specialize in family law there are many different specialties to choose from, including adoption, neglect, abuse, divorce, paternity, custody and visitation, paternity, and more.
Under this category marital unions include civil and traditional marriage unions. It rarely includes formal pleadings. The reason is that this area of the progress of family life is less contentious. This means that not many couples at this stage are filing actions against each other. Some of the documents include:
- Name change forms
- Certificates of marriage
- Prenuptial or premarital agreements
These documents may be called by other names in different jurisdictions but they all cover the same area. Some jurisdictions may also enable other types of actions under the category of martial unions but the general concepts as to what is handled by these forms, agreements, and certificates are common in all jurisdictions.
This category is where you will find most of the documents. These documents deal with marital terminations and include divorce, separation, and annulment. One of the parties will initiate a court action to sue for relief. These particular documents will mirror the types of pleadings that are filed. In addition to asking for termination of the marriage the documents can also include replies to the court action filed and any counterclaims. Some of the more common documents can include motions to restrain a spouse from deleting the marital assets, temporary alimony, and court costs. This category of family law documents include all the attachments and forms that are used to establish the marital estate as part of the proof that will be needed to reach an amicable and fair divorce settlement.
In this category are the actions that will do the following:
- Appoint a legal guardian
- Establish paternity
- Deal with the issues of support, custody, and visitation
- Removing a child from a home for cause
The petitions can also include motions to modify an order for child support, and motions for contempt for failure for either party to comply with any prior court orders.
As you can see there are many different documents that a family law attorney has to deal with so that is why many specialize in one particular area although some may practice in more than one area. To be sure which specialty volunteer to work for a family law firm.