What is the Difference Between a Family Law Attorney and a Divorce Attorney?
If you are interested in speaking to a divorce lawyer, you may be wondering about the difference between a family law lawyer and a divorce lawyer. Is there a difference between a family law lawyer and a divorce lawyer?
In short, no, there is not a difference. Divorce refers specifically to the legal process of the dissolution of a marriage. However, both family law lawyers and divorce lawyers typically handle matters outside the scope of divorce. Most divorce lawyers also handle disputes of unmarried parties who cohabitate, child custody matters, and child support matters.
What Does a Divorce Lawyer Do?
The term ‘divorce lawyer’ probably originated when issues related to divorce such as child custody were exclusively linked to the dissolution of a marriage through divorce. For example, property division, child custody, and alimony represented the most significant portion of family law cases in times past. Today, these issues are not limited to divorcing couples. They can be just as prevalent among unmarried persons. Now, most family lawyers handle conflict in all of the following types of legal matters:
- Complex asset and debt division between spouses
- Complex child custody and support cases
- Alimony disputes
- Domestic violence cases
- Premarital and post-marital agreements
- Separation agreements
- Grandparent and non-parent child custody matters
- Visitation matters
- Juvenile court matters
- Termination of parental rights
Many family law attorneys are also involved in the arbitration, mediation, and litigation phases of these legal matters. When appropriate, we can assist clients and obtain or challenge restraining orders. We also assist clients with the enforcement of court orders and agreements, help them with name changes and assist them with appeals of unfavorable court decisions.
The Terms Divorce Lawyer and Family Law Lawyer are Interchangeable
Whether using an attorney referred to as a family lawyer, divorce lawyer, or domestic relations lawyer, these titles typically mean the same thing. These types of lawyers will help clients with domestic matters, whether they involve a divorce, child custody, or some type of other domestic dispute. These titles are used interchangeably throughout the legal industry today. They are not intended to represent greater or lesser degrees of skill or capability on the lawyer’s part in question.
When Should I Hire a Family Law Attorney?
Divorce is one of the most common reasons clients visit a divorce lawyer or a family law attorney. However, families today face a wide variety of challenges, and a divorce lawyer can help with all of these issues. If you are wondering whether a family law attorney can advise clients on divorce cases, the best thing you can do is call and schedule an initial consultation. We will discuss some of the most common reasons clients come to us and hire one of our family law attorneys.
Whether you have been served with a divorce petition or you are contemplating filing for a divorce yourself, discussing your case with a divorce lawyer is crucial. Family law attorneys advise their clients on important personal and financial matters related to divorce, including the division of debts and assets and which spouse will receive the family home and mortgage. A lawyer can also advise you on important child support and custody matters. If you are not married, it is still wise to discuss your case with a family law attorney. You will benefit from discussing your case if you wish to dissolve a committed intimate relationship after cohabitating and you are unsure how you will go about the legal process.
When contemplating divorce, child custody issues are often the most concerning for parents. Family attorneys have experience advising parents seeking a divorce about the different types of child custody. If you are concerned that your child will be in danger should your soon-to-be ex-spouse gain custody, we can help you advocate for your position in court. Family law attorneys also advise clients in situations where grandparents would like to be granted legal custody of children through a temporary or permanent arrangement.
In addition to child custody issues related to divorce, most family law attorneys also assist clients with adoption. Adoption involves an adult becoming the complete legal parent of a child who was not their biological child. The worst can be a complex process. It usually requires that one or more biological parents legally abdicate their parental status voluntarily or involuntarily due to the state revoking custody. We can help you navigate the adoption process effectively.
Pre or Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements have become more popular. They are not only for celebrities anymore. Many couples have benefited from signing a pre and postnatal agreement, which allows them to agree about dividing their assets index if they divorce. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are beneficial for couples who were getting married for the second or third time or individuals who are nearing retirement or have already had successful careers.
The list above is not an exhaustive list of all the different matters with which family law attorneys assist their clients. If you have a unique situation involving a spouse or partner, the best way for you to determine your next step is to schedule an initial consultation. Experienced family law attorneys can quickly listen to the facts in your case, explain them to you in layman’s terms, and help you make an informed decision about the best path forward.
About Brian Bishop
Brian Bishop started the Bishop Law Group in October 2018. Mr. Bishop is an active member of Maryland Association of Justice, The American Association of Justice, The Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. Mr. Bishop has received a nationally ranked Top 40 Under 40 Attorney award since 2017. Mr. Bishop has also been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named Brian Bishop as one of The 10 Best Attorneys for Outstanding Client Services.