Family Law FAQ

1. Q. What is family law, exactly?

A. Family law covers needs of individuals as related to family matters, such as divorce, separation, adoption, domestic violence, child custody and more. It refers to the laws in place which are used as guidelines for these situations as well as the practice of following those laws.

2. Q. If you get a divorce from your spouse, but the two of you have children together – will you have to visit the court in order to be able to move out of state?

A. While different states have different laws, generally you will have to visit the court in order to be able to move out of state. If you have already moved, your ex spouse could take you to court and you could be forced to move back. While technically, you cannot be stopped from moving, the children can.

3. Q. If my spouse and I reach an agreement as far as custody goes, will we still need to hire attorneys?

A. It's in your best interest to hire an attorney to ensure that everything is legal and valid. Although you and your spouse are doing the right thing and being amicable, you should never let your case go to chance and a lawyer's advice is valuable.

4. Q. Should I hire a family law attorney?

A. Family law is about the things that are nearest and dearest to your heart – from adoption to child custody to divorce and much more. It is always advisable to hire an attorney to protect you and your family. An attorney knows the laws inside and out and would advise you as to the best routes to take.

5. Q. In order to have a non-biological parent adopt my children, what do the biological parents have to do?

A. In most cases, if the child's biological parent is on his or her birth certificate, that parent will have to sign over his or her rights to the child in order for the child to be adopted. However, if the biological parent has been gone from the child's life for a certain amount of time, it is possible to file abandonment. In cases of abandonment, the parent need not sign over custody as it will typically be taken from them by the court.

6. Q. In a divorce, when a significant amount of debt has been collected but one person is responsible for the debt – will both parties be responsible for paying it?

A. Yes, in most cases. Much like wealth incurred during a marriage, the debt will be split or divided between you and your spouse. Unless there are special circumstances, you will most likely be required to pay for half of the debt.

7. Q. What factors are considered in child custody cases?

A. While a judge will consider many different things during a child custody hearing, the most important factor will be the best interests of the child. The judge will determine what is best for the child and will place that child accordingly.

8. Q. Is there any reason a judge would refuse to allow visitation for a non-custodial parent?

A. There are typically very few reasons a judge would refuse visitation. Those reasons are usually that the child may be in danger from the non-custodial parent or that the parent may try to flee with the child.

9. Q. Do I need an attorney to receive a restraining order against my spouse?

A. While you do not actually need an attorney to receive a restraining order, it's advisable to have an attorney when you appear in court against your spouse. Since family law attorneys know the ins and outs of the law, there may be things you're unaware of which you should know before proceeding with any case against your spouse.

10. Q. What will happen if my spouse violates a restraining order?

A. If your spouse violates a restraining order you hold against him or her, you should alert the authorities immediately. It is a violation of the law and your spouse will most likely be arrested and will have to go to court.

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