Family Law

Diving Into the Different Types & Details of Family Law

In its simplest form, family law deals with family matters and domestic relations. However, there are a wide variety of marriage and divorce matters that fall under the umbrella of this type of law.

Let’s Start at the Beginning: First Comes Marriage

When most people think about marriage, they think about the wedding and the honeymoon. But, there are many other things to consider when entering into a legal union with another person.

Not all relationships are the same, either. Some couples might have a harder time getting married, depending on where they live and what the laws say. But, there are some common things all couples need to think about.

Family Law Marriage

Let's Dive Into the Different Kinds of Divorce

 A big part of family law is matters dealing with divorce. No one enters a marriage thinking they’ll end up getting a divorce. 

The length of the marriage, whether you have kids, and what assets you have all become factors in how long your divorce will take.

Family law attorneys deal with a variety of divorce cases, including:

  • Summary Divorce

    This is for couples who have been married 5 years or less, have no children, don’t own much property, and don’t have much joint debt. Also known as a “simplified” divorce, this type involves a lot less paperwork than other kinds.

  • Uncontested Divorce

    This type usually is the least stressful because both parties agree to settle their differences ahead of time, before going to court. Your written agreement will include custody, child support, alimony, etc. Then, you can file for divorce with the court. These cases take less time in the courts, and you might not even have to make an appearance in court.

  • Default Divorce

    What happens if you file for divorce, but your spouse doesn’t respond? The type of case you have is Default Divorce. This might happen if your spouse takes off and you can't locate them. If you follow all the court’s rules, a judge can grant your divorce even if your spouse doesn’t participate.

  • Fault & No-Fault Divorce

    You used to have to prove your spouse committed some sort of wrongdoing, like adultery or cruelty, to end your marriage. Now, many states offer “no-fault” divorce where you can claim “irreconcilable differences” instead of blaming your spouse for something specific.

  • Mediated Divorce

    If you need help resolving your differences before filing for divorce, mediation is an option. A neutral person, a mediator, sits down with you and your spouse and helps you resolve your issues. The mediator guides you and helps you communicate until you can hopefully reach an agreement.

  • Collaborative Divorce

    This option is the most similar to a trial. A lawyer or retired judge, the arbitrator, will make a decision on your case after reviewing all the facts and documents in the case. It’s pretty informal and less expensive. However, the arbitrator’s decision is usually final, since you give up your right to appeal it.

  • Divorce Arbitration

    This option is the most similar to a trial. A lawyer or retired judge, the arbitrator, will make a decision on your case after reviewing all the facts and documents in the case. It’s pretty informal and less expensive. However, the arbitrator’s decision is usually final, since you give up your right to appeal it.

Dealing With the Effects of Divorce in Family Law Cases

a boy in a blue shirt holding a bear watching his parents fight over family law and child custody during their divorce

When your marriage ends and the proceedings involve kids, there are some things you need to consider. You might need a family law attorney’s help to resolve child custody and child support issues.

Please remember, no matter how ugly it gets...

It’s important to keep the children’s best interests top of mind when deciding what to do.  

There are 4 main types of child custody agreements:

  1. 1
    Legal Custody - Gives a parent the right to make long-term decisions about the child’s welfare, including education, medical care, dental care, and religious decisions.
  2. 2
    Physical Custody - The parent cares for the child on a daily basis. The child almost always lives with the parent with physical custody.
  3. 3
    Sole Custody - These custody arrangements are rare, but give sole physical and legal custody concerning the child’s rights to one parent. This is common if one parent is incapable of caring for the child due to drug abuse or evidence of child abuse.
  4. 4
    Joint Custody - Both parents are actively involved in making decisions for the child. Joint custody can refer to joint physical custody, joint legal custody, or both. If joint physical custody is granted, the child will alternate living with each parent for periods of time.

No matter how ugly it gets... or how much disdain you have for the other person, It's important to keep the children’s best interests top of mind when deciding what to do.  #divorce #custodybattle

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Child support is the other main thing to consider when you have kids and are going through a divorce. When a marriage ends, one parent might end up with custody of the child. The court might order the parent the child does not live with to use a portion of their income to pay monthly child support.

Sometimes, child support agencies get involved to make sure the child is getting the money they need to help with their daily needs. The court and agency often work together to put a withholding order in place, so money is automatically taken out of the parent’s paycheck.

Common Family Law Case Types

While you may think family law just deals with marriage and divorce, there are several other subject areas that lawyers in this practice of law cover.

Here is a list of some of the types of family law cases:

  • Civil unions and domestic partnerships
  • Annulment, alimony, & property settlements
  • Child custody, child support, and visitation
  • Adoption
  • Surrogacy
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Juvenile law, including delinquency & emancipation
  • Paternity
  • Guardianship

Making Plans to Protect Your Family in the Future

As we have discussed, family law covers a wide variety of things. When we think of family law, marriage and divorce are usually top of mind. However, what about planning for your future...and your family's future?

Whether you marry or divorce, it’s best to be sure that you and your family are protected. The easiest way to start is by writing a last will and testament. This legal document spells out your wishes for when you die.

It outlines who you want to get your assets after you’re gone and how you want your property managed. If you have children and pets, your will addresses who will take care of them.

A will is the most important document you can have to protect you and your family.  


There are other important estate planning and preparation documents you should definitely have in place as well.

Such as...

  • Advance Care Directive - An advance care directive is a legal document that outlines what actions should be taken for people if they are no longer able to make the decisions themselves due to illness or incapacity.
  • Health Care Proxy - A health care proxy is a legal document in which a person names an agent to make medical decisions on the person’s behalf, if that person is incapable of making decisions for themself.
  • Enduring Power of Attorney - An enduring power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to name someone to act on your behalf in legal and financial matters.
  • Enduring Guardian - An enduring guardian is someone you appoint to make decisions about your lifestyle, health care, and personal circumstances if you can’t make those decisions for yourself. 

What Family Law is All About

If you think about it, family law offers a variety of ways to protect you and your family. Whether you are trying to reach a child custody settlement, thinking about adoption, or establishing guardianship, you’re ultimately looking for ways to make life better for you and/or your family.

My LifeJars knows how important family is, and we know exactly what you need to make sure yours is taken care of if something should happen to you.

Storing Your Important Documents in One Place

As much as we don’t like to think about dying, it’s important to make sure everything is in order for the family we leave behind. That’s where we step in to help. My LifeJars offers you a safe, secure online place to store everything your family needs when you’re no longer with them.

Our app is the perfect place to organize and share all of your important documents, like your last will and testament, your advance care directive, your health care proxy, your enduring power of attorney, and your enduring guardian. We make it simple for you to give access to all the people who will need this information in the future.

What Are the Benefits of My LifeJars?

My LifeJars offers a basic account that is free forever and never expires, as long as you are active and assign a My LifeJars Guardian.

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