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Elements of Family Law


In short, family law Is a type of noncriminal law that deals with domestic issues. Cases commonly involve spouses, civil partners, children and other family members. This branch of law clearly defines the rights, responsibilities and obligations of family members toward one another. Sometimes, it may remove such responsibilities and rights and dissolve family ties. This guide provides an in-depth overview of family law.

Common Family Law Matters


Family law attorneys specialize in wide-ranging aspects of family law. Attorneys may deal with a broad range of matters or focus on particular niche areas. Family law aspects can include:

  • Prenuptial agreements, whereby individuals make a binding agreement before they get married as to what would happen with property and assets in the event of future divorce or death

  • Divorce proceedings, including the legal ending of the marriage, child custody arrangements and the division of marital property and other assets

  • Alimony payments following a marital breakdown, whereby one spouse is legally obligated to provide financial support the other for a set period of time during or after separation or divorce proceedings

  • Legal separations and annulments

  • Marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships

  • Establishing paternity by way of tests to confirm the biological father of a child

  • Parental responsibility toward a minor child

  • Surrogacy agreements, fostering and adoption, including adult adoptions

  • Child custody, child visitation and child protective matters

  • Guardianship of a child

  • Grandparents' rights in relation to visitation / partial custody, namely in cases where one or both parent has passed away, parents have separated or the child in question lived with the grandparent(s) for at least 12 months

  • Child support payments, whether following a marital breakdown or involving an absent parent

  • Emancipation, whereby a minor is legally separated from their parents and neither party has any rights, responsibilities or obligations toward the other

  • Domestic abuse, including physical, emotional and financial abuse between couples, parents and children, siblings and other family members

Role of a Family Law Attorney

Family law attorneys represent their clients in family law courts, where cases are typically heard in front of a specialist family law judge. Family law cases don't take place in front of a jury.

However, the role of a family law attorney goes much further than as an advocate and representative. Family law attorneys often act as negotiators, counselors and mediators to try and help people resolve issues without needing to go to court. Attorneys advise their clients as to diverse options and outcomes, as well as to what the law says on a particular matter. It's common for lawyers to be involved in drafting agreements and correspondence.

Because of the nature of many family law cases, attorneys must often exercise compassion when dealing with both their clients and with other parties. Although family law attorneys always seek to protect their clients' rights, they should aim to do so in the least antagonistic manner possible. After all, parties may still need to have dealings with each other long after court cases have been resolved; this is especially true in matters where children are involved.

Family Law Attorney in Wilkes-Barre, PA


If you're in need of family law advice in Kingston, PA, contact the Law Offices of Matthew Kelly Associates at (570) 405-8710 or via the online contact form. Book a free initial consultation to help you decide how to move forward and resolve your family issues.

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