Best Lawyers for Family Law in America

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Lawyer
Alton L. Abramowitz was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Alton L. Abramowitz

Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas LLP
  • Recognized Since: 2006
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2001
  • Location:
    Hackensack, New Jersey
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation Mediation Arbitration
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2012
  • Location:
    Rochester, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1983
  • Location:
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Real Estate Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2015
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1987
  • Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Greenwood Village, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2011
  • Location:
    Omaha, Nebraska
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2016
  • Location:
    Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2007
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2014
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2005
  • Location:
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Litigation - Antitrust Litigation - Banking and Finance Litigation - Trusts and Estates Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1993
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Somerville, New Jersey
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Bellevue, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Asheville, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2009
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Arbitration
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2014
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2007
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2016
  • Location:
    Red Bank, New Jersey
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Boca Raton, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2014
  • Location:
    Bethesda, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1999
  • Location:
    Smithfield, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2001
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Lewisville, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2009
  • Location:
    Fairfax, Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Media, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1987
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2012
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2015
  • Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Gaithersburg, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2015
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1999
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Castle Rock, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Fairfax, Virginia Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2013
  • Location:
    Los Angeles, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1995
  • Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation Mediation
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2007
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2006
  • Location:
    Denville, New Jersey
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2006
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2017
  • Location:
    Hartford, Connecticut
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2015
  • Location:
    Alexandria, Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2017
  • Location:
    Portland, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2006
  • Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2017
  • Location:
    Darien, Connecticut
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2014
  • Location:
    St. Louis, Missouri
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2016
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Lakewood, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
Miles N. Beermann was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Miles N. Beermann

Beermann LLP
  • Recognized Since: 1983
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2007
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Arbitration
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2012
  • Location:
    Omaha, Nebraska
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2016
  • Location:
    Irvine, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2017
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2003
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2008
  • Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Trusts and Estates
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2008
  • Location:
    Goldsboro, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1993
  • Location:
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2010
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1983
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2016
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2015
  • Location:
    West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
Leonidas L. Bezanis II was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Leonidas L. Bezanis II

Beermann LLP
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois Bannockburn, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2013
  • Location:
    Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1999
  • Location:
    Memphis, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1983
  • Location:
    Plano, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
Jay A. Blechman was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Jay A. Blechman

Steiner & Blechman LLC
  • Recognized Since: 2009
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Santa Rosa, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2006
  • Location:
    Santa Rosa, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2016
  • Location:
    Old Greenwich, Connecticut
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1995
  • Location:
    White Plains, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Arbitration
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1999
  • Location:
    Fairfax, Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1995
  • Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2009
  • Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Gaithersburg, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2013
  • Location:
    Denton, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2017
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2017
  • Location:
    Arlington, Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Brooklyn, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2006
  • Location:
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2016
  • Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Arbitration
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    White Plains, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2012
  • Location:
    Everett, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2017
  • Location:
    Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Westport, Connecticut
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Bowie, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2014
  • Location:
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2015
  • Location:
    Miami, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2011
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2007
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law Mediation
Lawyer
Sharon A. Bryan was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Sharon A. Bryan

Moore, Bryan, Schroff & Inoue LLP
  • Recognized Since: 2015
  • Location:
    Torrance, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2008
  • Location:
    Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Old Greenwich, Connecticut
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Lake Forest, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2007
  • Location:
    Rockville, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2013
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation Family Law Arbitration
Lawyer
Anne E. Burke was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Anne E. Burke

Burke McClasky Stevens
  • Recognized Since: 1995
  • Location:
    Overland Park, Kansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2001
  • Location:
    Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2011
  • Location:
    Fairfax, Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2007
  • Location:
    Canton, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2011
  • Location:
    Fairfax, Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2016
  • Location:
    Morristown, New Jersey
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation Family Law Arbitration
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2003
  • Location:
    Canton, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Criminal Defense: White-Collar Administrative / Regulatory Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1993
  • Location:
    St. Louis, Missouri
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1983
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
Lennea M. Cannon was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Lennea M. Cannon

Cannon Law
  • Recognized Since: 2017
  • Location:
    Sugar Land, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Marietta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2011
  • Location:
    Fairfax, Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2006
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado Aspen, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1997
  • Location:
    Miami, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2020
  • Location:
    Charleston, South Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2009
  • Location:
    Summit, New Jersey
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2013
  • Location:
    Miami, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2018
  • Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation Family Law Arbitration
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2007
  • Location:
    Summit, New Jersey
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2012
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2001
  • Location:
    Jackson, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2005
  • Location:
    Tacoma, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2019
  • Location:
    Rockville, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2014
  • Location:
    Broomfield, Colorado Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Family Law Mediation
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Newport Beach, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2006
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Workers' Compensation Law - Claimants
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2015
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2016
  • Location:
    Plano, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law Collaborative Law: Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 2021
  • Location:
    Falls Church, Virginia Bethesda, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law
Lawyer
  • Recognized Since: 1995
  • Location:
    Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Family Law

  • Recognized Since: Ones to Watch Since:
  • Location:
  • Practice Areas:

Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Our methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

Best Lawyers employs a sophisticated, conscientious, rational, and transparent survey process designed to elicit meaningful and substantive evaluations of the quality of legal services. Our belief has always been that the quality of a peer review survey is directly related to the quality of the voters.

Practice Area Definition

Family Law Definition

Family law is a specialized practice area dealing with issues arising from domestic relationships of all kinds, including marriage, domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other family structures, both traditional and non-traditional. Dissolution of these relationships through divorce or separation gives rise to matters most commonly handled by family law practitioners, notably child custody and visitation, the division of assets and liabilities between the parties, and spousal alimony and child support. Other and often related aspects of a family law practice include domestic violence, paternity, annulment, adoption, surrogacy, child abduction (domestic and international), termination of parental rights, and pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. The statutes and case law of individual states determine most domestic matters, although there are also uniform laws adopted by all of the states, as well as international treaties that relate to parentage, child custody, parental abduction, and child support enforcement.

Many financial aspects of family law are highly complex. Family attorneys must have proficiency in other areas of law that impact these financial issues and a roster of outside experts to assist them when necessary. Knowledge of tax law as it pertains to alimony, support, asset allocation, filing status, and dependency exemptions is essential. Familiarity with accounting principles, financial statements and balance sheets, retirement plans, asset (including business) valuation, health insurance following divorce, the effect of bankruptcy, wills and trusts, and real estate also is important.

The psychological aspects of family law are also highly complex. Dealing with families in conflict, often emotional and highly charged, requires special sensitivity and a broad array of skills. A good family lawyer must have, in addition to substantive knowledge, the ability to listen, to counsel, to investigate, to negotiate, to plan, to draft, to defuse conflict, to advocate and, when necessary, to litigate. Recognizing that out-of-court settlements are vastly preferable for their clients, and with the growing burden on court dockets, an increasing number of practitioners are using (and becoming trained in) alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration, and private judging.

Verrill Dana LLP

Verrill Dana LLP logo

Family law is a specialized practice area dealing with issues arising from domestic relationships of all kinds, including marriage, domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other family structures, both traditional and non-traditional. Dissolution of these relationships through divorce or separation gives rise to matters most commonly handled by family law practitioners, notably child custody and visitation, the division of assets and liabilities between the parties, and spousal alimony and child support. Other and often related aspects of a family law practice include domestic violence, paternity, annulment, adoption, surrogacy, child abduction (domestic and international), termination of parental rights, and pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. The statutes and case law of individual states determine most domestic matters, although there are also uniform laws adopted by all of the states, as well as international treaties that relate to parentage, child custody, parental abduction, and child support enforcement.

Many financial aspects of family law are highly complex. Family attorneys must have proficiency in other areas of law that impact these financial issues and a roster of outside experts to assist them when necessary. Knowledge of tax law as it pertains to alimony, support, asset allocation, filing status, and dependency exemptions is essential. Familiarity with accounting principles, financial statements and balance sheets, retirement plans, asset (including business) valuation, health insurance following divorce, the effect of bankruptcy, wills and trusts, and real estate also is important.

The psychological aspects of family law are also highly complex. Dealing with families in conflict, often emotional and highly charged, requires special sensitivity and a broad array of skills. A good family lawyer must have, in addition to substantive knowledge, the ability to listen, to counsel, to investigate, to negotiate, to plan, to draft, to defuse conflict, to advocate and, when necessary, to litigate. Recognizing that out-of-court settlements are vastly preferable for their clients, and with the growing burden on court dockets, an increasing number of practitioners are using (and becoming trained in) alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration, and private judging.