What is Family Law?

Today, we take a closer look at family law, the legal practice area that governs family relationships such as marriage, divorce, and adoption. Keep reading to discover more about family law and learn some important details about family law in California.

What is Family Law?

As the term suggests, family law focuses on family and domestic relationships. Attorneys who specialize in family law are known as family lawyers or family law attorneys.

Some common reasons to seek the assistance of a family lawyer include all matters related to:

  • Divorce
  • Adoption
  • Child support
  • Alimony/spousal support
  • Property division
  • Restraining orders
  • Guardianship and custody
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Among others

Success as a family lawyer means combining the traits that every effective attorney needs (such as strong analytical and communication skills) with a compassionate and deeply human touch. The reason is that family law matters carry a higher emotional burden compared to other legal practice areas and require a particularly sensitive approach.

Family Law in California

Family law can vary from state to state, so it’s crucial to work with a lawyer experienced in the laws and procedures of your state.

Here are some specifics of family law in California that are important to note.

  • California recognizes marriages and divorces between same-sex individuals.
  • To divorce in California, you must meet a residency requirement. You or your partner must have lived in California for the last six months and in the county where you plan to file for divorce for the last three months.
  • The residency requirement described above does not apply to same-sex couples because not all states recognize divorces between same-sex individuals. A same-sex couple married in California living in a different state that does not recognize same-sex divorce can file for divorce in California without being subject to the residency requirement.
  • California is a community property state. This means each spouse owns half of the community property (including earnings) and is responsible for half of the debts. This determines how assets are divided in case of divorce.

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