What Is Family Law?

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What is Family Law in California?

You might have a view of the law that a lawyer can handle any type of case. There are actually so many different fields of law that apply to different aspects of life that this is simply not possible. Family law is one such area. It includes laws that specifically have to do with marriage and divorce, children and child custody, child support, adoption and other issues. This law is very specialized and attorneys who practice in this area are themselves generally specialists or limit their practice to family law matters. The Irvine family law attorneys at Red Hill Law Group limit their practice to these matters.

What it Covers

Most issues having to do with families will be handled under the broad category of family law. For example, if a married or unmarried couple has a child and they are separated, the issue of child support will be handled by family courts. These courts, as well as the lawyers who argue cases in them, are versed in an area of the law that specifically handles the issues that pertain to families, which makes them better prepared to ensure that everybody’s interests are represented fairly.

There are issues where family law can cross over into other areas of the law. For instance, somebody who is ordered by a family court to pay a certain amount of child support every month and who fails to do so consistently may end up in criminal court. The child support agreement itself, however, will be handled by a court dedicated to family law.

Difficult Issues

Some of the issues that families deal with are extremely complex. For example, cases of child abuse and neglect may well involve a criminal case, but there will be areas of these cases where family law and as such a family law attorney is much more appropriate. Here is an example of how this might work.

If a complaint is filed because a parent is being abusive to a child, the police and a social worker will generally get involved immediately. The social worker will determine whether the child needs to be taken away for their own safety. They may be placed in temporary foster care, for instance.

The social worker will be concerned with issues such as whether or not the child had adequate supervision, whether the child seemed to be fed and healthy and whether or not there were signs of abuse, molestation or other factors that may denote that the parents were unfit to have the child. The criminal courts would handle any charges against either of the parents for abuse or molestation.

If, at some time in the future, the parent who was responsible for harming the child chose to seek partial or full time custody of the child, that would be determined by a family court. A family court may decide that one of the parents should not be around their child, that they may be eligible to have supervised visits or that somebody else entirely should be in charge of the child, whether or not they are actually the parent. The child may be placed in permanent foster care, given to a more distant relative, or even given to somebody who has the wherewithal to take care of the child and who knows the child.

Family attorneys handle these complex issues. Generally, any law pertaining specifically to families or children will be handled by a family court


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  • Bert and his staff are truly exceptional. They treated me with respect and the utmost sensitivity. They were always easy to reach by phone too, which is huge. Altogether, working with them was a very positive experience for me, and I could not recommend them highly enough.

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  • Red Hill Law Group has been very helpful and resourceful. I was treated with respect and care.  The results were beyond my expectations.

Orange County Bankruptcy Attorney Bert Briones

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