The image of family law as nothing but divorces and custody fights is one that has some basis in reality, but that it is also driven by depictions in movies and on TV. A family attorney, though, handles many more issues than those two. This article covers a few other topics that come up in family law.
Yes, there are legal concerns to addressed going into a marriage. For example, a couple may elect to put agreements in place governing money and property, protecting their interests down the road. Marriage forms, particularly the license, also have to be submitted to the government. If you got married overseas, you may also have to deal with some bureaucracy in getting your marriage recognized in the U.S.
Families come into being in lots of ways, and adoption figures into the plans for many folks. Depending on the child's circumstances, there may be concerns about having a closed or open adoption. This influences the rights of the biological parent to have contact with and access to the kid. Working with agencies, especially ones that help people adopt kids from other countries, can be a very involved process. Stepparents also frequently adopt kids who aren't their biological offspring.
Being able to make decisions for someone who is in a vulnerable position is a major legal hurdle and for good reasons. Although guardianship is generally thought of as applying to non-biological relationships with children, it can also apply in situations where adults have been severely incapacitated in physical, mental, or emotional ways. Elderly care may also call for guardianship in some circumstances.
Asking someone to have your child for you is an honor, but it also bestows a lot of potential legal issues. Surrogacy arrangements need to protect a family's rights, and this is especially the case when privacy is desired in an arrangement similar to a closed adoption.
Termination of Parental Rights
This one is a big one to tackle, and it's hard to handle without a family law attorney at your side. Courts generally want to see massive amounts of evidence that a parent's legally recognized rights should be terminated. This often means documenting years of troubling behaviors like abuse and neglect.
Some scenarios are a bit sunnier. For example, termination of parental rights may be necessary for circumstances where adoptions are occurring. Sometimes parents who are struggling with their own problems may wish to terminate rights to free up their child for better family living arrangements.