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Newsletter - May 2019

- Featured article by LAWYERS-ONLINE.CO.ZA

Keeping it In The Family

Often when we think of engaging the services of a lawyer, the mind immediately conjures up a criminal association, such as defending a charge for driving under the influence or suing someone for damage to your property. But what about those tricky situations that are not necessarily criminal in nature, but still needs the law to step in? What about family disputes, divorces and custody? That is where this newsletter’s topic comes into focus. That’s right, let’s have a quick chat about family law.

As the name implies, this branch of law deals with those matters that have a direct impact on family issues. And though you may think that it pertains only to divorces and custody battles, this field of law covers far more than that, and many lawyers specialise in specific fields of family. So what more than couples duking it out for access to the holiday house in court does this field of law cover? Let’s break it down below:

  • Custody issues
  • Domestic violence, such as protection orders
  • Dealing with parenting laws such as adoption, surrogacy, and the termination of paternal rights
  • The emancipation of a minor
  • Domestic partnerships and civil unions

But how do you know when to call in a family law expert and when is it best to settle the matter over dinner and bottle of wine? The answer lies in how serious the issue is and what the potential consequences could be. For example, it would be an expensive exercise to call in a family lawyer to settle a dispute with your aunt over her breaking your favourite teacup, but it may be best to consult with someone in the family field if you find yourself unsure of your rights in your marriage pertaining to violence or even custody of your children. Or perhaps you need a family lawyer to deal with a paternity issue, such as the need to secure proper child maintenance payments.

It is important to remember that family law is not a solitary branch of law, instead, it often crosses paths with other legal areas such mediation, estate planning and even criminal law in cases where domestic violence is brought up.

Of course, there are areas not mentioned that also fall under the purview of a family law specialist, and therefore it is always best to consult someone who has dedicated their career to studying this field.

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Article News Letter May 2019