Family law is the loose description given to a variety of legal issues that are addressed by an attorney who practices in the area of domestic law. Since many of the legal issues overlap, an attorney who practices “Family Law” is familiar with the laws and practices on a wide variety of litigation that impacts the family. This will include actions for the termination of a marriage (divorce, dissolutions, annulment and legal separation), custody (both during the termination of the marriage and afterward, which is generally referred to as “post decree”). It will also include adoptions and legal custody actions involving third parties, such as grandparents seeking legal custody of their grandchildren or visitation, with or without the consent of the parents. Other alternatives would include a “grandparent’s affidavit” which is revocable by the parents, but allows the child to live with the grandparent, attend school in the grandparent's school district and permits the grandparent to make medical decisions for the child. A lawyer who practices in this area will often become involved in actions where Children’s Services is requesting either temporary or permanent custody of a child.
The practice of family law also requires that the practitioner be aware of other legal issues that may impact a family, particularly during a divorce, dissolution or legal separation. This would include familiarity with tax issues, bankruptcy, retirement plans, immigration and criminal actions that may impact custody issues, such as domestic violence or convictions for OVI or drug offenses. Since this is not the primary focus of their practice, lawyers practicing family law may refer you to an attorney who specializes in these areas and will work with that attorney if necessary.
Many of the issues involved with Family Law are discussed in other sections of my website, and I would suggest that you also review these if they are germane to the legal issue you are confronting.