The concept and practice of family law is rather broad, and sometimes the term is even vague. In general however, it is a matter of representing clients that have matters going on involving family members. Cases involving the custody of children are a very common theme in this line of legal work, although sometimes there might also be cases involving taking care of the handicapped and the elderly.
The very definition of family changes over time. As individuals age and pass away or get divorced, their bonds with a family are severed. Even though divorce attorneys are not always considered family lawyers, there is definitely overlap in two areas in many cases. Settling the estates and honoring the final wishes of a deceased loved also often falls into a family law area too.
On the flip side, sometimes families grow. Children may be conceived and born, or adopted, and marriages join two existing families into one. However, deciding the actual boundaries of a family are often the cause of need for family lawyers to represent clients. If a loved one is not yet dead, but dying, and unable to speak for themselves yet left no living will, who is to decide that person’s medical care and fate?
If there is a spouse from a second marriage, does that spouse have as much or more say than blood children from a first marriage? Just deciding who gets to make the decisions turns into a legal fight that a judge must often settle, and the involved parties need family lawyers or related attorneys to make their case for them.
Children are unfortunately another situation where family lawyers often have to get involved. This is commonly a source of dispute among parents that are divorcing, as they might fight over everything from full custody to visitation times and details, down to splitting up holidays down to the hour where custody changes happen.
Sometimes, it is the parents that are the source of a dispute, as grandparents might not feel like they are getting enough visitation with their grand kids, or even worse, they have been keeping their grand kids and feel the parents are not in good enough shape to resume custody of their children. This might happen because they were stricken with an illness or injury, doing time behind bars, or going through rehab for an addiction.