Family law is a branch of law that deals specifically with domestic issues and family-related matters. Family law can be very broad. The entire breadth of family law is further divided into several areas including marriages and similar statues, the dissolution of marriages and other unions, parent and child legal matters, conflict of related laws and several other miscellaneous, but related aspects that may be considered part of family law in different jurisdictions.
Civil unions and domestic partnerships are treated like marriages within family law. The area concerned with marriages and unions also includes the handling of prenuptial agreements. The second area of family law involves the dissolution of those legal relationships and includes divorce, annulments and alimony issues as well as parental rights and custodial concerns that may follow the termination of a marriage or other union. The conflict of laws area handles any conflicts that may arise in divorce or nullity concerning custody and prenuptial agreements.
Parental laws that are governed by family law include the paternity and legitimacy of children. It also encompasses other areas involving parent child relationships such as legal guardianship, parental visitation after a divorce and grandparent visitation as well. Child legal areas are more centered around the rights of children in particular, handling adoption and surrogacy, emancipation, foster care, child abuse and neglect along with child abductions, especially those committed by a parent or guardian.
There are a number of miscellaneous facets that may be included under the family law umbrella like adultery and bigamy charges, incest and child-selling laws. Family law may also handle domestic violence issues. Family law varies widely from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction in the United States. In many locations family court has extremely crowded dockets and handling legal issues in family court can often take a long time.