Find Lawyers in Washington, District of Columbia for Family Law
Practice Area Overview
Family law is the broad practice area dedicated to marriage, divorce, child custody, adoption, domestic violence, reproductive rights and many other matters regarding familial relationships. The most common family law issue involves divorce, which includes all the related concerns that arise from it, such as the division of marital property, child custody, support and alimony.
While many family law attorneys eventually develop a specialty, such as adoption law or domestic partnership law, many practicing attorneys usually hold experience in more than one area. Additionally, family law attorneys can draft and negotiate contracts, pleadings and other legal documents, all while possessing the interpersonal skills to adapt to and manage each case's unique, emotional history.
The following subspecialities are a sampling of the types of legal issues that family law lawyers will address:
- Child Custody
- Marital Settlement Agreements
- Family Businesses
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Domestic Relations
- Child Support
- Family Based
- Family Law Mediation
- Partnership Disputes
- Child Abuse
- Family Law Appeals
- Juvenile Matters
- Collaborative Family Law
Family lawyers interact with many aspects of marriage and the marriage relationship. The legal definition of marriage varies from state to state, but generally it is a contract between two people that is recognized by the state and gives both parties certain legal rights and responsibilities. Some of the key rights and responsibilities that come with marriage include property rights, inheritance rights and the responsibility to support one another financially.
Prenuptial arrangements, or the arrangements that are made before a marriage regarding the topic of a future separation, are handled by family attorneys. These agreements are legally binding contracts.
Another major area of family law is divorce. Divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage, and it can be a complicated and emotionally difficult process for all parties involved. For a divorce to occur, one of the parties must file a petition with the court, and the court will then decide on issues such as property division, alimony, and child custody.
Child Custody and Support
Child custody and support is another important aspect of family law. When parents divorce, the court will often make a determination as to which parent will have primary physical custody of the children, as well as how much financial child support will be required from the parent without custody. Child custody and support issues can also arise in situations where the parents were never married.
Adoption is another important area of family law. Adoption is the legal process of becoming a parent to a child who is not biologically related to you. The laws surrounding adoption vary from state to state, but generally, adopting parents must meet certain qualifications and go through a rigorous process before the adoption is finalized.
Family law also encompasses issues related to domestic violence. Domestic violence refers to any type of abuse that occurs within a domestic relationship, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Individuals who are victims of domestic violence can seek legal protection through restraining orders and other legal remedies.
Hiring a Lawyer: Best Lawyers in America for Family Law
The Best Lawyers’ family lawyer directory has an extensive list of experienced family law attorneys who work with marriage, divorce, adoption, and all other specialties within family court.
When searching for a family attorney, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Experience and Specialization: While some of the best family lawyers will have experience representing clients in a variety of legal issues, not all attorneys have the same level of expertise or experience in the field of family law. It is important to find an attorney who specializes in this area of law and has a proven track record of success in handling similar cases.
- Communication: A good attorney should be able to clearly explain the legal process and your options to you and be responsive to your questions and concerns.
- Availability: Family law matters can be time-sensitive, and it is important to find an attorney who is available and responsive to your needs.
- Professionalism and Ethics: Look for an attorney who is a member of a professional organization, such as the state bar association, and who adheres to a strict code of ethics.
- Cost: It is also important to consider the cost of hiring an attorney. Make sure to ask about the attorney's fee structure and any additional expenses you may incur. There will generally not be a lawyer cost for initial consultations, but not all law firms have the same structure.
Emily, a partner in the family law practice at Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP, believes that a key step in constructing creative solutions for her clients is to listen carefully as they develop their goals. She assists clients who have a variety of issues relating to separation and divorce and has particular expertise in representing clients in complex, high net-worth family law matters. Depending on the specifics of the situation, Emily helps clients reach resolution of the issues in the...
A partner of the firm, Marina excels in dealing with international and complex family law matters. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) as well as the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) and has been consistently named a Washingtonian Top Lawyer since 2015. Always emphasizing the importance of family, Marina is skilled at resolving complex custody and property division cases. Marina serves a wide range of clients, including accomplished career execu...
During family transitions like divorce, strategic thinking can be difficult. Empathetic and understanding, Jonathan Dana helps clients work through their emotions to make sound decisions for the future. Acting as a trusted advisor, Jonathan engages clients in a business-like approach to decision-making, analyzing costs and benefits to arrive at pragmatic solutions. A partner at Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP, Jonathan is continually recognized as a leader in his field. With more than 25 y...
Jennifer A. Davison is a partner in the Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell's Family Law practice group. Ms. Davison helps her clients identify, prioritize and realize their unique goals for the future. Her clients appreciate her efficient, pragmatic approach to reaching agreements that provide for the whole gamut of clients’ short- and long-term financial needs, including daily living expenses, career planning, retirement security, and funding for college. Where child-related issues are con...
Matthew W. Edwards focuses on high-stakes matrimonial cases involving complex financial arrangements, family-owned or closely held businesses, and complex custody matters. In addition to legal analysis, Matt routinely works with forensic accountants, valuation experts, certified financial planners, and professional therapists to provide a clear path to a quick and favorable resolution of his clients’ divorce and custody matters. When necessary, Matt is a tenacious courtroom and trial ad...
Marcia Kuntz resumed her family law practice in 2012 at the firm of Kuder, Smollar, Friedman & Mihalik, PC after years as a legislative counsel and committee staffer on Capitol Hill and as an adviser, editor, and executive in the non-profit sector. In addition to her legal practice, Ms. Kuntz has taught Family Law as an adjunct professor at American University Washington College of Law. In April 2022, she co-founded the firm of Smollar Kuntz Locey, PLLC. Ms. Kuntz started her legal career...
Chris Locey practices in the District of Columbia and Virginia. Combining an analytic and sensitive approach to client issues, as a litigator and negotiator, Mr. Locey’s practice includes experience in the interface between foreign law, especially Shari’a and Islamic law, and the courts and laws of the local jurisdictions, as well as custody cases involving sexually abused and neglected children. Prior to becoming a principal of Smollar Kuntz Locey, PLLC, Mr. Locey spent three yea...
Conflict is at the core of many divorces and can produce volatile emotions. Divorcing clients appreciate the combination of strength and compassion Katherine brings to her cases, especially when substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence or contested child custody issues are involved. Katherine firmly believes in putting the children first in every divorce situation and in trying to reduce conflict between divorcing parents. A skilled problem-solver, Katherine acts decisively on behal...
Paul Smollar has been practicing family law for more than forty years, and has become a leader in Collaborative Practice in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Recognized as the only trained mediator in the District of Columbia by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Mr. Smollar nevertheless is an accomplished litigator when matters do not settle. Mr. Smollar practices in both the District of Columbia and Virginia and is an active member of the Fairfax County Bar, the Virginia Trial Law...
Marna S. Tucker has practiced law in the domestic relations field for almost forty years, and is a nationwide expert in complex divorces, domestic violence and prenuptial matters. She has been recognized several times as one of the "Top Divorce Lawyers" by the Washingtonian Magazine as well as one of the "Top Lawyers" in Washington, D.C. She was noted as one of the top divorce lawyers in the nation by Town and Country magazine. She is a Fellow of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawy...
Sogand Zamani is the founder of Zamani & Associates PLLC, a family law firm dedicated exclusively to all aspects of family law and family formation. With almost two decades of legal experience to guide her, Sogand is valued for her thoughtful consideration of her client’s financial needs, complex real estate and business assets, deeply-felt custody concerns, and jurisdictional challenges. Sogand regularly mediates, represents individuals as Collaborative counsel, and negotiates to a...
Though divorce can be one of life’s most distressing events, by building relationships, cultivating trust and creating solutions, Sarah Zimmerman helps clients achieve the best outcome possible while attempting to minimize the financial and emotional impact of divorce. Sarah excels in guiding clients through complex financial and custody issues, and serves a wide range of individuals including high-asset clients and working or stay-at-home spouses who are financially dependent. Sarah's ...
Rachel Rubinstein is a Senior Associate in the firm’s Family Law Group. She graduated cum laude from the University of Richmond School of Law and from Tulane University in New Orleans. After working as a language arts teacher in New Orleans, Rachel chose to further her passion for advocating for the rights of children and families by attending law school. In law school, Rachel worked as a research assistant and was credited on publications related to school-finance law and constitutiona...
Amy Spain is a dedicated advocate who focuses her practice on all aspects of the Virginia family law litigation to include divorce, equitable distribution of assets, spousal and child support determinations and modifications, and child custody and visitation matters. Her practice also includes appellate advocacy. She has written and contributed to briefs for the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Court of Appeals of Virginia. She also routinely negotiates successful settlements to family law d...
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