Family law has become a major component of law, including such legal issues as divorce, child custody, paternity, adoption, domestic violence, and other matters. In particular, divorces have created a growing need for lawyers who can handle the complex and sensitive issues involved in such cases.
A family law attorney can help a client navigate through the legal obstacles in a divorce to obtain the most favorable settlement or financial outcome for the client. It may be particularly advisable to have an attorney in a case involving the division of very valuable assets. An attorney can also assist a client to obtain a favorable outcome with regard to a child custody or alimony dispute. Though it may be attractive to think of the legal system as fair and objective, a person representing himself or herself may have to deal with the cognitive bias of the judge regarding those who represent themselves, and thus not be given as much flexibility or consideration as would be given to an attorney.
A divorce attorney who is experienced in the technical aspects of a divorce proceeding can also provide peace of mind to a client, allowing the client to focus on other things. Those who handle their divorces without legal representation are more likely to make mistakes that may cost them time and more money in the long run.
Another aspect to family law that has seen enormous growth are paternity cases, especially with the advent of DNA testing. Now, more than ever, the determination of biological relationships can be made with great accuracy in a scientific manner. DNA testing can provide a high probability that a person is a biological father, and can exclude a person who is not the biological father with 100 percent accuracy.
DNA tests can establish if a person is legally obligated to support a child, and conversely they can exonerate men who are falsely accused of being the biological father to a child so that they do not have to support them as if they were. These tests can also provide some men with a sense of closure in case there is uncertainty as to whether they are related to a child.
All states have enforcement measures for men deemed to be fathers under the law — or to have paternity. States can track down fathers by DMV records, employment records, social security numbers, and other methods to compel support for a child. Those who are found to be “deadbeat dads” may have their property seized, wages garnished, and can even be jailed.
In cases of domestic violence, besides criminal proceedings against an abuser there may also be civil proceedings. Domestic violence may involve the cost of hospitalization or treatment for injury, as well as emotional distress. In a civil case for domestic violence, the testimony of a mental health expert, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor may be beneficial for a plaintiff to prove the extent of psychological trauma he or she has suffered. Victims who have been stalked in particular may have a claim for emotional distress.
We aim to provide the public with information and resources to deal with these and other matters related to family law.