What Types of Cases Fall Under Family Law?


Your romantic relationship has ended, and you are facing divorce. Your parents have died, and now you’re dealing with their estate. Or, you’re a parent who is trying to protect your child from the other parent.

If these situations sound familiar, you might benefit from discussing your case with an attorney who practices Family law Scottsdale, Arizona —laws that govern relationships between family members. Based on their experience and knowledge, family lawyers secure favorable results for their clients quickly, minimizing stress and cutting down on costs. Read on to learn the types of cases falling under family law.


Adoption is a legal process that allows a child to be adopted by someone who isn’t their biological parent. In the United States, adoption laws vary from state to state. Still, adoptions are only allowed if the birth parents consent and sign off on giving their rights away.

Parents would want to give up their child for adoption because they may be unable to care for the child because of financial or other personal issues (such as mental illness). Sometimes, they may not want to be parents anymore or received pressure to give up their child from family members or friends.

Suppose you’re considering adopting a child through an agency or legal entity. In that case, you must know what type of cases fall under family law to choose the right attorney for your needs.

Child Support

It’s payment by one spouse to help with the expenses of raising their child. Child support payments ensure that children have enough money to meet their basic needs. Child support gets paid by the non-custodial parent (the parent who doesn’t have physical custody of their child), while others require both parents to contribute equally towards their child’s expenses.

Child Custody

When parents separate, the court must decide who will have custody of the children and how often the other parent will see them.

Arizona allows for joint custody when both parents agree to it. In joint custody, both parents share equal responsibility for raising their children. It can include making decisions about school, extracurricular activities, medical care, and religious upbringing.

When deciding who should have custody of a child, courts look at several factors, including:

  • What’s the child’s best interest?
  • How involved has each parent been in their life?
  • Who has been caring for them while they were apart?


Divorce is the legal dissolution of marriage. It involves a court order that terminates the marital relationship and sets out the parties’ rights to alimony, child support, custody of minor children, and use of the marital property.

It can be contested or uncontested. To receive a divorce, you will need to have grounds for divorce. Grounds for divorce vary by state but include adultery, abandonment, abuse or neglect of children or spouse, and cruelty (physical or mental). Divorce proceedings are complicated and expensive, ranging from $15,000 to $100,000.

When you get divorced, you have options to choose from for how to handle your case:

  • You can negotiate your settlement with your spouse. You can do this on your own or with the help of an attorney. If you cannot agree with your spouse, you must take them to court for a judge to decide who gets what.
  • You can hire a mediator instead of going through court proceedings to resolve your divorce; it costs $3,000-$8,000.

Termination of Rights

Termination of rights is a family law case that can be brought to court when there has been abuse. Abuse includes physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Terminating rights remove the abuser from the child’s life and protects the child from further harm. The parent won’t have rights to custody or visitation of their child.

To pursue this action, you must have evidence proving that there has been abuse or neglect by your ex-partner or spouse.

Protection Orders

Protection orders issued by a judge protect a person or property from harm. They get issued for stalking, domestic violence, and harassment.

Protection orders can be temporary or permanent. Temporary protection orders will last for three months, while permanent protection orders last indefinitely.

Property Division

Property division can occur when a couple divorces or when an unmarried couple separates-stayed for three years or more. Family law judges order property division between spouses and unmarried partners.

Each spouse gets to keep whatever they brought into the marriage (called separate property), and then both spouses divide up assets they acquired together (called community property). Community property includes bank accounts, cars, furniture, and household items purchased during the marriage. It also includes income earned while married—even if only one spouse worked.

In most states, property division is equitable distribution. It means that while one spouse may have earned more money during the marriage, they’ll still split their assets 50/50.

When Do You File a Case In a Family Law Court?

When the couple can’t reach an agreement, they must file a case in a family law court. You must have a valid reason for filing a case in a family law court. A valid reason can include the following:

  • When you cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, you may need to court. You can file for mediation or arbitration. During mediation, two parties meet with a third party to reach an agreement. Arbitration is similar; however, it is more formal, and all parties must follow specific rules. If you can’t agree to these terms, you will need to file for divorce in court.
  • One spouse refuses to sign the papers.
  • Violence against one spouse by the other spouse or their child(ren).

If your reason is valid, you must file a petition for dissolution of marriage or annulment with your county clerk’s office. The court then schedules a date and notifies both parties that they must appear at this hearing.

If you’re divorcing or have questions about what grounds you have for filing one, consult with a family law attorney. Family law can be complicated, especially regarding the types of cases and the specific grounds used to file them.

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