The overlap between divorce and family law is self-evident. However, it's important to understand the role family law plays in divorce so you can break a case into its pieces. Here is how family law factors into a typical divorce.
Understandably, issues involving children are an important part of why a divorce attorney also frequently wears the hat of a family attorney. If a couple had at least one kid together, there will be questions about who gets custody and how much time the child will spend with each parent. Likewise, the state will want to know that there is sufficient financial support for the child's upbringing.
The two parents will also have to sort out questions about the control of the kid's life decisions. If there are concerns about where the child will attend school, for example, the parents must determine how to handle those. Similar issues can appear when there are questions about everything from medical needs to religion.
Notably, these things are only issues if the kid is the biological child of the two parents or was legally adopted. Otherwise, the family law issues attached to the kid are legally separate from the divorce because one parent usually doesn't have the necessary standing to demand custody or visitation in the absence of that connection.
Another major family law issue in divorce is spousal support. If one of the two partners depended on the other for their standard of living, they may have a claim on part of the other person's income. This is support to ensure they maintain the standard of living from the marriage.
Every state handles the question of spousal support a bit differently. Most states have requirements that the marriage needs to have lasted a statutorily-specified time before anyone is entitled to support. Many states also taper the spousal support or cut it off after so many years. However, some states may order permanent spousal support after long marriages.
There are also scenarios where a judge may order support if one of the ex-partners has unique medical needs. If one person is paralyzed, for example, the court often has the discretion to order support based on their care requirements.
Resolving Family Legal Issues in Divorce
Ideally, the two sides can negotiate their differences without troubling the court. Even if this is the case for you, it's wise to hire a divorce attorney to protect your interests and rights. Also, if the matter goes before a judge, you'll want to have counsel.
Contact a divorce attorney to learn more.