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What is a Family Law Attorney?

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Family law is an important branch of legal services. A family law attorney is someone who helps families plan for the future through sound legal advice and documents built to last. We forge the foundations that help families grow, come together, or separate peacefully. A family law attorney can help you build the legal structures necessary to take care of your family, solving immediate concerns or preparing for long-term success.

In this article, we will explain what services are offered by a family law attorney. We will also explore what – perhaps surprisingly – is not encompassed by family law.

What a Family Law Attorney Can Do

Family law includes most matters that relate to the family, especially marriage and children. Most people seek out a family law attorney to represent them in a divorce and child custody. However, we also assist in family-building matters such as adoptions and prenuptial or postnuptial agreements between spouses.


Each divorce requires two family law attorneys, one to represent each spouse. These lawyers will help their divorcing clients negotiate terms and create a divorce agreement that will be legally accepted by the court. Ideally, each divorce agreement builds a positive future for both separating spouses.

Child Support and Spousal Support

Family law provides the guidelines for a functional child support policy ensuring that both parents have enough money to raise the children together. Spousal support, when appropriate is also built from a framework of family law.

Child Custody and Support Modifications

Family circumstances, schedules, and finances change over time. If you need to modify an existing child custody or support agreement, a family law attorney is the right person to turn to.


Are you ready to welcome a new child into your home through adoption? Your family law attorney can help you through this challenging yet ultimately rewarding process.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial (before the wedding) and postnuptial (after the wedding) agreements are special contracts between spouses that can help strengthen a marriage through mutual agreements and trust. A family law attorney can help you build a legally binding agreement and file it with the court.

What Is Not Included in Family Law

It is also important to understand that family law is only one branch of legal practice. There are several things relating to the family that a family law attorney has not specialized in. While these types legal matters may overlap with family law cases, your family law attorney will need to partner with lawyers who specialize in other fields of law to address any of the following case types.

  • Estate Planning
    • Estate law may involve the family, but it is focused on planning for your future with wills and trusts, it requires knowledge outside what a family lawyer may have experience.
  • Business Law
    • Running a family business will require the help of an attorney who specializes in business law. Family law is for marriage, divorce, custody, and adoptions.
  • Contract Law
    • Surrogacy is a matter that closely relates to the family, but surrogacy contract disputes will mostly often be reviewed and negotiated by a contract lawyer.
  • Insurance Law
    • Insurance matters, from health insurance to home insurance, will require someone who practices in insurance law to address.
  • Real Estate Law
    • Matters of the home typically benefit from a real estate law attorney, unless you are only discussing a divorce division of assets.
  • Military Divorce
    • Interestingly, military divorce is also a special branch of law, many family law attorneys do not handle divorce and family law when one partentis aive duty. Government Agency Management
    • Not all family lawyers support clients in family matters where government agencies, such as child protective services are involved.
  • Immigration or Visas
    • While a family lawyer can help you get married, often they do not also focus on immigration law, so may not be able to help you get your spouse a visa or address matters of family immigration.
  • Criminal Law
    • If there are criminal elements related to your divorce, your family law attorney may need to team up with a criminal law attorney.

Dealing with Cases that Overlap with Family Law

We know that family matters can be complicated. That is why it is important to understand the full extent of what a family law attorney can do for you. Family law relates to marriage, divorce, custody, support, and adoption. If you have a case that also overlaps with other areas of legal practice, you may need to build a legal team including attorneys who come from different practice backgrounds to provide the full scope of legal guidance that your case requires.

Your family law attorney can work together with other lawyers to address things like a divorce with criminal elements, an adoption that includes a surrogacy contract, or a nuptial agreement that includes extensive business law.

To learn more about how a Petrelli Previtera, LLC Family Law attorneys can help with your unique family matters, contact us today.

Client Testimonials

Here's what our clients have to say about working with us. Please note, results may vary based on individual circumstances.

Melinda Previtera, Esq. came highly recommended to our family. Her knowledge base, professionalism, and compassion paved the way for a successful outcome. Melinda is efficient, detailed, and informative. She helps manage expectations, and postures her client for a fair and equitable result. We are happy to recommend Melinda!

Jennifer A.

My experience was very good. Everyone was professional and attentive to my needs, keeping me updated every step of the way. I couldn’t ask for a better result, highly recommended.

David R.

My marriage life has been a hell for me for the past four years until I decided to put an end to what has to be ended. Choosing a lawyer was another additional stressful part of the long process. I’m so glad that I’ve found the right one for me at Petrelli Previtera. Life isn’t always fair, but at least having her in my corner, felt even better. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough!

Caitlin B.

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