Family Law Overview
When people think of family law, they automatically connect the term with divorce court. Although divorces definitely fall under the category of family law, there are many other legal issues that are resolved with the help of a family law attorney. Some of the areas which a family lawyer can assist you with include, but are not limited to:
- Prenuptial agreements
- Determining whether your marriage is valid in Illinois
- Legal separation
- Division of assets and liabilities
- Child custody and visitation
- Grandparent rights
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Establishing paternity
- Right to an abortion
- Domestic abuse
- Protective orders
- Same-sex marriage issues
- Same-sex divorce
- Child abuse
- Termination of parental rights
- Modification of court orders
Although all the above fall under the auspices of family law, some issues are more common than others.
Divorce is the most common reason that people to seek the services of a family court lawyer. Almost all family law issues are fraught with emotion, but divorce, even when both parties agree it is in their best interest, is always stressful. For example, in evaluating the stress level of 43 different life events, psychologists rate divorce as second only to death of a spouse. Marital separation ranks third. Marriage itself ranks seventh.
If you are considering a divorce, or in the process of getting a divorce, choose a skilled family law attorney who will work diligently to make the process as amicable and stress free as possible.
Illinois has strict laws concerning how paternity is established and fathers of children born out of wedlock are not automatically given parental rights just because they claim to be the father. A court order declaring a man to be the legal father of the child is required. The law recently changed concerning paternity and the importance of DNA testing. A family court lawyer is the best person to assist fathers who want to exercise their parental rights and for mothers, who are unsure of who is the father of the child, the get the answer they seek.
Over the past few years, prenuptial agreements have become more common. They provide a way for a single person with substantial personal wealth prior to the marriage to protect assets from later claims that they are marital property in the event of a divorce.
There are certain factors that must be considered and included in the agreement. If the agreement is not properly drafted, it may later be challenged and declared invalid. There are also ways to challenge an agreement that may appear valid on its face, but circumstances surrounding its preparation or public policy may also be factors to invalidate it.
Modification of court orders
There may come a time when the terms of a court order issued in family court becomes unworkable. A petition must be made to the court to modify the orders. There are certain requirements that must be met and it is not as easy as it sounds. A family court lawyer will help with this.