Beyond Divorce: Other Aspects of Family Law You Should Know About

The primary goal of family law is to contribute to the well-being and protection of individuals within the family unit, particularly in times of transition or conflict. While divorce is often the most well-known aspect of family law, it represents only one facet of the broader field. Family law extends beyond divorce proceedings to encompass other legal matters that impact families.

Many aspects of family law are interconnected, meaning that legal matters concerning child custody, child support, domestic violence, and more may arise within divorce proceedings or as standalone issues. For example, child custody and support arrangements are often central to divorce cases. Still, unmarried parents or those seeking modifications to existing arrangements can also pursue them independently. Similarly, domestic violence may be a factor in divorce proceedings. Yet, individuals may also seek restraining orders or protective measures outside of divorce.

Navigating the complexities of family law can be daunting, emotionally taxing, and legally intricate. In such circumstances, having the guidance and support of a knowledgeable attorney is beneficial. An experienced lawyer can provide crucial advice and advocacy, protecting your interests throughout the legal process. Whether you are facing divorce, seeking custody arrangements, or addressing other family-related legal matters, having a trusted advocate by you can be effective.

Claery & Hammond, LLP provides compassionate and effective representation to individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Contact us today at (310) 817-6904 to schedule a consultation.

Child Custody and Visitation Rights

In family law, child custody refers to a child's legal and physical guardianship, determining who will make decisions on behalf of the child and where the child will reside.

Custody arrangements can vary widely based on individual circumstances, but commonly include:

  • Legal custody
  • Physical custody
  • Joint custody
  • Sole custody

Visitation rights allow non-custodial parents (or other relatives) to maintain meaningful relationships with the child. If one parent has primary physical custody, the other may have visitation rights to maintain ongoing contact and involvement in the child's life. Regular visitation can foster a strong parent-child bond and promote the child's emotional well-being.

Custody and visitation rights are not exclusive to divorce cases. Unmarried couples who have children together may also seek legal arrangements regarding custody and visitation. In such cases, establishing paternity and determining parental rights can be crucial in allowing both parents to have a role in the child's life, regardless of the parents' relationship status.

Child Support

Child support is a legal obligation in which one parent provides financial assistance to the custodial parent for the care and upbringing of their child. The primary purpose of child support is to give children financial support to meet their basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, education, and healthcare. Child support payments are typically made regularly and are calculated based on several factors, including the income of the non-custodial parent and the child's needs.

Court-ordered child support is legally binding. Both parents must comply with its terms. However, in some cases, non-custodial parents may fail to fulfill their child support obligations. In such instances, enforcement mechanisms may be employed to facilitate compliance.

Child support orders can be requested outside of divorce proceedings, particularly in cases where parents were never married. In such situations, establishing paternity may be necessary to legally determine the non-custodial parent's obligation to provide child support. Regardless of the relationship status of the parents, ensuring that children receive the financial support they need is paramount, and legal avenues exist to address child support obligations effectively.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is a legal obligation in which one spouse provides financial assistance to the other spouse following a divorce or separation. The primary purpose of spousal support is to address any economic disparities between spouses that may arise because of the dissolution of the marriage. It aims to enable both parties to maintain a standard of living like that enjoyed during the marriage to the extent possible.

Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders

Domestic violence encompasses a pattern of abusive behavior used by one intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other partner. It can occur in any relationship, regardless of gender, age, race, or socioeconomic status.

Common types of domestic violence include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Stalking

Restraining orders are court-issued legal documents to protect individuals from domestic violence or harassment. These orders typically prohibit the abuser from contacting, harassing, or coming near the victim. They may include additional provisions to ensure the victim's safety.


Adoption establishes a permanent parent-child relationship between individuals who are not biologically related.

Types of adoption include the following:

  • Stepparent adoption
  • Adoption to confirm parentage (child conceived through assisted reproductive technology)
  • Independent adoption
  • Agency adoption
  • International adoption
  • Adult adoption

Family law attorneys can guide prospective adoptive parents through the complexities of the adoption process. They provide legal advice and representation at every stage. Family law attorneys assist with drafting and filing adoption petitions, navigating background checks and home studies, advocating for clients in court proceedings, and facilitating the finalization of adoptions.


Guardianship is a legal arrangement in which an adult who is not the parent of a child becomes legally responsible for the child's care and well-being. It is necessary when the child’s biological parent is unable to fulfill these obligations due to various circumstances, such as parental incapacity, abandonment, or abuse. Guardianship does not terminate parental rights. It supplements them by entrusting the guardian with the child's care and decision-making authority.

Below are the two primary types of guardianship arrangements:

  • Guardianship of the person
  • Guardianship of the estate

Once guardianship is established, the guardian assumes legal responsibility for the child's care and decision-making authority, subject to the court's oversight.


Establishing parentage, or paternity, is crucial for parents and children. It legally recognizes an individual as the child's parent, granting them rights and responsibilities concerning their upbringing. With legal parentage, individuals gain rights to custody and visitation, allowing them to maintain meaningful relationships with their children. Legal parents must provide financial support for their children, including child support payments, to ensure their well-being and needs are met.

Receiving counsel from a family law attorney can help individuals navigate the process of establishing parentage and understand their rights and obligations concerning their child.

Navigating the Complexities of Family Law

Family law encompasses various legal matters concerning familial relationships and domestic issues. From child custody and adoption to domestic violence, family law attorneys manage diverse cases that impact individuals and families at their core. This multifaceted field requires insights into navigating complex legal processes while prioritizing the parties' best interests.

Experienced family law attorneys can provide guidance, advocacy, and support, representing your interests and upholding your rights.

For individuals and families in Los Angeles seeking assistance with family law matters, Claery & Hammond, LLP is here to help. Call us at (310) 817-6904 or connect online.