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All About Family Court

All About Family Court


Family court is a specialized court system that deals with family-related issues and disputes. These cases typically involve divorce, child custody, child support, and other matters that arise in the context of family relationships. Family court plays a critical role in providing a forum for resolving disputes in a fair and efficient manner. This article will provide an overview of family court, including its history, jurisdiction, and procedures.

History of Family Court

Family court has its roots in the Juvenile Courts Act of 1899, which provided for the establishment of specialized courts to deal with the needs of dependent and neglected children. This law was amended in 1925 to include provisions for the establishment of separate courts to handle divorce and custody cases. In the years that followed, these courts evolved into a system of specialized family courts that now exist in most states.

Jurisdiction of Family Court

Family court has jurisdiction over a wide range of family-related issues, including divorce, child custody, child support, domestic violence, and adoptions. Each state has its own laws and procedures governing family court proceedings, but there are some general principles that apply across the board.


One of the most common reasons for family court proceedings is divorce. When a couple decides to end their marriage, they must file a petition for divorce in family court. The court will then hear evidence from both parties and make a determination as to how to divide property and assets, spousal support, child custody, and child support.

Child Custody

Another common issue in family court is child custody. When parents separate or divorce, the court will determine who will have legal and physical custody of the children. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, including education and medical care. Physical custody refers to where the child will live.

Child Support

Child support is another issue that family court handles. When one parent has custody of a child, the other parent is typically required to pay child support. The court will generally use a formula to determine the amount of support, based on the income of both parents and the needs of the child.

Domestic Violence

Family court also has jurisdiction over cases of domestic violence. When one family member is a victim of domestic violence, they can petition the court for a protective order. This order will prohibit the abuser from having any contact with the victim, and may require them to leave the family home.


Finally, family court handles adoptions. When a child is adopted, the biological parents’ rights are terminated, and the adoptive parents assume legal responsibility for the child.

Procedures in Family Court

Family court proceedings vary depending on the specific issue being addressed. However, there are some general procedures that apply to most cases.

Filing a Petition

The first step in initiating a family court proceeding is to file a petition with the court. This petition will outline the issue being addressed, and what relief the petitioners are seeking. Once the petition is filed, the court will set a hearing date.


The hearing is the forum in which the parties will present evidence to the court, and the court will make a determination regarding the issues at hand. Depending on the case, the hearing may be conducted by a judge or a mediator.


Discovery is the process by which each party is allowed to gather evidence in support of their case. This can include requests for documents, sworn statements, and depositions.


In some cases, the parties may be able to reach a settlement without going to trial. This can save time and money, and may be facilitated through mediation or negotiation.


If one party is dissatisfied with the court’s decision, they may have the right to appeal to a higher court. This can be a lengthy and expensive process, but is sometimes necessary in order to challenge an unfair or incorrect ruling.


Family court plays a critical role in resolving disputes in the context of family relationships. It provides a forum for the fair and efficient resolution of issues such as divorce, child custody, and child support. While each state has its own laws and procedures for family court proceedings, there are some general principles that apply across the board. These include the filing of a petition, the conduct of a hearing, the process of discovery, the possibility of settlement, and the right to appeal. Whatever the underlying issue, family court provides a crucial mechanism for resolving disputes and protecting the rights of all involved parties.

Family courts are a division of each state’s superior courts. Family courts deal only with certain issues that relate to family matters. For example, some of the issue that family court may hear are divorce cases, domestic and child abuse cases, custody cases and adoption cases.

Family courts were set up to help determine outcomes for any cases that relate to the institution of family. They were created to resolve family issues in a fair manner, one in which the rights of each family member are held to be important.

In fact, a family court is suppose to promote family as an institution. Since family courts have only one focus, to promote the interests of the family, they are able to devote full time and attention to these very specific types of court cases.

A family court will deal with cases that relate to abuse and neglect allegations, of both children and spouses. By having a specific focus, family courts can address the seriousness of the allegations while also striving to maintain the family as an institution. In fact, in cases of abuse, judges set out to protect all family members from the abuser, in order to promote the family’s well being.

For example, in the case of spousal abuse, the judge is not likely to allow the children contact with the abuser. In fact, family courts resulted from the frequency of such cases, and inability of the regular courts to deal with cases in a timely and efficient manner.

In the past, courts were so backlogged that individuals who suffered from abuse were left waiting for orders of protection, which often put victims lives in jeopardy. In addition, family courts can deal with several issues at once. In a divorce, a judge can deal with property distribution, support payments and custody issues.

While the issues may not all be heard at the same time, they are likely to be assigned to the same judge. As a result, families can be assured that the judge is familiar with their case and can make decision based on the health and well being of the family unit as a whole.

Families are also spared the necessity of repeating their entire family history every time they need to go to court to handle another related issue. Also, judges in family court become experts in making the best decision on family matters, because they are focused on such issues exclusively. In the past, courts had to handle a myriad of issues, and could not possibly be familiar with the intricacies of family law.

Family courts strive to handle all issues in a way that best contributes to the overall interests of the family. In fact, family courts strive to find timely and fair resolutions to all family matters. In addition, courts may mandate that the family tries to resolve their issues through mediation.

This can be helpful for families because the become able to resolve issues in an effective manner, without the need for constant court intervention. In addition to saving money, these families are also able to learn conflict resolution which often results in a stronger and closer family.