What is a Family Law Attorney?

A family law attorney is a legal professional that specializes in all matters concerning family law.

If you think that sounds vague, you are absolutely right. That’s because family law encompasses a wide variety of legal issues relating to family relationships. They specialize in asserting the rights of their clients to protect their future and their assets. Having a trusted family law attorney at your side can help ensure you and your loved one’s rights are protected during any legal proceedings.

What Does a Family Lawyer Do?

Since ‘family law’ is such a broad area of practice, a family law attorney can cover a variety of legal issues. These might include paternity, foster care, reproductive rights, and even estate planning. However, the following are the most common types of cases a family law attorney might represent.


Adoption is a very complicated process. A lot depends on what type of adoption it is and why you are seeking custody. You might be fostering to adopt, adopting an infant or child currently in foster care. You might choose to adopt through an agency or do an independent adoption. Adoptions can also take place between family members or from other countries.

Regardless of the type of adoption, whether it is an open or closed arrangement, it is important to have a family law attorney by your side. They will be familiar with differences in state law that may complicate your case. An experienced attorney will also know what types of issues can arise before, during, and after an adoption. They will help you prepare to face or avoid these challenges so you can focus on getting your home ready for your child.


Divorce is difficult but it should not come at the cost of financial stability. If you are divorcing and make very little or no money, you may be entitled to alimony. These payments are usually meant to support you until you are financially independent. However, under certain circumstances these payments may continue for much longer.

If you need help with an alimony case it is a good idea to speak with a family law attorney. They will be knowledgeable of your rights and how much alimony you or your former spouse are entitled to. They will also know how best to protect your rights and assets during these proceedings.

Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody and visitation cases are some of the most common cases a Family Law attorney handles. These cases deal with deciding which parent has custody and how the children’s time will get split between homes. This includes holidays and vacations. Custody also should cover how the parents will make important decisions on behalf of their children. This should include legal, medical, educational, and religious decisions.

If you need to establish or change your agreement, consider hiring an attorney. They will ensure your agreement meets the needs of your children while protecting your parental rights.

Child Support

Many parents feel they have a right to child support if they get a divorce. This is a bit misleading. Child support has less to do with what either parent deserves, and everything to do with what the child needs.

Every child has a right to child support.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to meet those needs when you split your household. Especially when you make a lot less than your former spouse or no money at all. Most often it is the non-custodial parent who pays child support. However, in some rare cases it may be the custodial parent who pays.

A family lawyer will know how much child support your children can receive. A dedicated lawyer will work to ensure your agreement meets those needs.

Modification and Enforcement

The only thing in life you can be certain of is that change is inevitable. This is also true of any child support or custody agreement. Maybe you or your former spouse has moved, gotten married, or has had a change in financial situation. Your custody and child support agreements will need to change to reflect this.

A quality family lawyer will help you navigate the modification process. They will continue to help assert your rights as a parent and ensure the agreement meets the needs of your children. Your lawyer should also be sensitive to how difficult these situations are. They will be familiar with what steps you can take to enforce your agreement if your former spouse is not honoring the agreements.


Whether your marriage lasted for less than a year or more than 20, divorce is a stressful and emotional time. While you are changing your name or finding a new place to live, you will also need to split your household, assets, debts and much more.  This process is even more challenging when there are children involved. And when tensions are high it can be nearly impossible to negotiate a divorce settlement without an attorney.

Whether you settle through mediation or litigation, your family lawyer will be by your side throughout it all. They will guide you through whichever will produce the best possible results.

Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency Proceedings

If you have ever asked yourself the question: What is a family lawyer? It might surprise you to know they also handle juvenile delinquency and dependency proceedings.

If you have had the unfortunate experience of the authorities interfering with your family life, you know it can be a scary experience. You don’t have to face this alone. Whether you’re facing allegations of abuse or neglect, or your child is facing criminal charges, a family lawyer can help. A skilled family lawyer is your best bet to ensure your parental rights are upheld. Your lawyer will also help see to it that you get the best possible outcome for your child.

Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements

It may feel like setting yourself up for failure if you get a pre- or post-nuptial agreement. After all, it’s a document that details how you will split your assets in case you ever divorce. But think of it as an insurance policy. You hope you never have to use it, but you can rest assured it will ease some of the stress and strain if you ever do need it. An experienced attorney will help you anticipate the unexpected. They will draft an agreement that protects not only yours but your spouse’s interests too.

A Family Law Attorney Can Help

At Ilarraza Law we recognize that family law addresses some deeply personal and very emotional topics. We serve clients with a wide variety of legal needs. Our attorneys understand how difficult this all can be and will listen to your concerns. With our years of experience, we will help you find the best possible solution to your legal problems.


Call Ilarraza Law at (214) 646 – 3253 if you would like to know: What is a family law attorney?