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What’s the Difference Between a Divorce Lawyer and a Family Law Lawyer?

Over 40,000 couples went through a divorce in 2020. Unless things have changed significantly, thousands more will get divorced this year. Marriage and family law are a major part of American legal practice, but people often confuse the two.

What is the difference between marriage and divorce law versus family law? More specifically, when do you need a divorce lawyer, and when do you need a family law lawyer?

The answer is much simpler than many would think. We'll discuss the difference between the two fields of law and why it matters in this article.


Categories and Subcategories

The most important difference between marriage and family law is that marriage is a subcategory within family law. Families may deal with any number of different issues, and divorce is just one of them.

Most family law attorneys handle divorce. They are often the family attorney's primary source of income.

This is why 'divorce lawyer' has become such a common term. It makes family lawyers much easier to find. 


Children and Parenting

Divorce is just one aspect of family law, and it often has much wider implications. The 2016 census found that roughly 38% of households had at least one child living in them.

The presence of dependent children automatically complicates divorce proceedings, since the children's future must also be decided. In most cases, clients make these decisions without help from a child custody lawyer, but sometimes the courts must get involved.

Keep in mind that divorce is different from a trial separation. Though both serve similar functions, a legal separation doesn't officially dissolve the marriage. Since the couple is still married, neither of them has the right to limit the other's custody.


Children's Issues

In addition to issues associated with divorce, there are also child-centred issues that aren't always linked to divorce. These include things like establishing paternity if the identity of the father is in question.

There are also issues such as emancipation when a child asks for the right to be legally recognized as an adult. Emancipation isn't the only reason a child might be legally separated from their family. 

The opposite circumstances also fall under the purview of what family attorneys do. Adoption is an amazing thing, but the government has to be careful about it. Not everybody is qualified to raise a child and family law attorneys must be there to ensure that everything is being handled legally and ethically.


Divorce Lawyer Vs. Family Law Lawyer

Family lawyers and divorce lawyers are technically the same. However, the terms are often separated because family law can cover several different aspects of family life. Many of these lawyers refer to themselves as divorce lawyers, because they handle more divorce cases than any other type.

There's a lot more to know about family law than what we can discuss here. The good news is that you can learn more about lawyers ad various legal issues by reading our blog. We also encourage you to contact us at Cassidy Ramsey if you have any questions or need a lawyer.



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