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What is Family Law?

What is Family Law?: Family law is a practice area that encompasses all legal concerns surrounding family relationships, including divorces, child custody, and adoption. A family law attorney can help you with any matters related to these relationships by helping you file proper legal documentation, negotiating on your behalf, and representing you in court or a trial. In Colorado, family law cases can often be challenging, particularly from an emotional standpoint. That’s why it’s essential that you have reliable, experienced, and compassionate Denver family lawyers at your side for working through these legal concerns. 

While it might look like your family law case will go smoothly from the outset, that’s rarely the case. Negotiations for dividing property, custody, and financial responsibilities can get tricky, particularly with both sides bringing their own legal support and counselor. To navigate these situations and get reliable advice you can trust, an attorney practicing family law is a must. However, many people who need a family law attorney aren’t even aware that their situation requires legal counsel. This article will review the types of cases a family lawyer can help you with and discuss your route to a settlement or division that works in your favor. 

Family Law Case Types

The practice area of family law encompasses a handful of case types, including divorces, child custody, guardianship, and adoption. However, attorneys specializing in family law tend to support families, couples, and individuals in all of these situations. Specialized knowledge and licensure for your state and local jurisdiction laws are necessary for any attorney working in family law. 

The variety of outcomes, length of the relationship, and perspective of the involved parties can shift the length and cost of the case dramatically. In all these case types, you’ll need an attorney that acts in your best interest by reducing the time it takes to reach a settlement, though not at the expense of a fair division of property, finances, and child custody. Here’s a breakdown of these common family law case types. 

Divorce and Annulment

Cases involving the dissolution of a marriage are the most common type of family law case. In many situations, they also branch out to other aspects of family law, including child custody and guardianship orders. One of the most frequently asked questions about these cases is whether or not a divorce or dissolution is the right move for your specific situation. A divorce is a formal dissolution of a marriage agreement and usually requires a division of property and financial responsibility. 

Annulment works a bit differently in comparison with a divorce. Where a divorce ends a marriage, an annulment instead treats the union as though it never happened. In an annulment case, the validity of the union is called into question and can thereby be canceled, treating each party involved as though they were never married in the first place. Annulments offer a range of benefits, but they aren’t possible in all cases. To determine if a divorce or an annulment is the right move for your situation, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with an experienced family law attorney.  

Child Custody and Parental Responsibilities

Child custody cases are undoubtedly one of the most complex aspects of family law. The laws and regulations involved with these cases vary significantly from state to state. There are no set rules as to who gets custody by default in almost all locations. In the United States, it’s also illegal to select one parent over another to be a primary guardian based on gender or sex. Some states, like Colorado, do not have joint custody or sole custody as legal terms in defining the parents. Instead, the term parental responsibility references what would otherwise formally be known as the custody status. 

If a parent in Colorado shares the parental responsibility with someone else, they enter a joint parental responsibility agreement. One parent, by Colorado law, does not have “sole custody.” Instead, the parent with a more significant share of the parental responsibility is considered to have “primary parental responsibility,” as long as the number of overnight stays with the other parent total less than 90 days per year. Laws vary from state to state, which means it’s essential to have high-quality, compassionate, and comprehensive legal advice on hand to answer all your questions. 


Guardianship cases involve the petition of one individual to become the legal guardian of a minor, senior citizen, or individual with a mental or physical disability that prevents them from taking care of themselves. You’ll need to speak with a family lawyer to determine a legal claim to guardianship if you believe you are the best available guardian for the individual in the event that their parent dies, they are abandoned, their parent surrenders their parental rights, or the current legal guardian is unfit or incapable of providing adequate, safe care. 

Substantial evidence for presentation before a judge is necessary for assembling an effective guardianship case. It’s very easy to let emotions overwhelm you in these cases. However, the law must look at the situation with a focus on the logistics and technical availability of care, rather than the involved partys’ emotions. Many family lawyers specialize in this specific aspect of family law. To determine guardianship, you’ll need significant legal support on your side. 

Legal Separation

A separation agreement varies significantly from a divorce or formal annulment. The two individuals are still recognized as married under the law but are no longer living together under one roof. The separation allows the two people involved in the case to have separate income streams, property, and tax filing rights. However, the separation stills allow the parties involved to keep medical benefits and share the responsibilities of parenthood together. If you’re not ready to get a divorce or have a formal religious reason to avoid a divorce, a separation agreement might be the right move for you. 

Conclusion- What is Family Law?

Regardless of what kind of case you’re dealing with, you must have a reliable legal resource that you can count on to get you through this challenging time. Family law cases are highly emotional and rarely involve 100% good news for a single involved party. In most cases, the result is a division of custody and finances. To learn more about your options for your case, call a family law attorney today.

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