Understanding Family Law As an Administrative Assistant

Understanding Family Law As an Administrative Assistant

Understanding family law is essential for anyone in the legal field. It will help you to understand specific legal terminology better, promoting clarity and a higher quality of work in your future career as a legal administrative assistant.

Child Custody

In custody cases, a judge decides who will make the significant legal decisions for a child and who will provide primary physical care. In some states, non-parents can ask for custody if they can prove extraordinary circumstances or if a parent is unfit to care for the child. Custody orders last until the child reaches age 18 or is emancipated.

If parents divorce, they might collaborate to write a parenting plan specifying how they will spend time with their children. A judge will consider various factors when making these decisions, including the child’s preference, each parent’s ability to care for the child, and whether either parent committed a marital offense. Many judges favor shared (or 50/50) custody arrangements. This is consistent with social science research, which shows that children fare better when both parents are involved.

Child Support

Parents have a legal obligation to support their children financially. In divorces, legal separations, and some cases of unmarried parents, a court may order one parent to pay another for child support.

The amount a person is required to pay is determined by a complex formula. It considers both parents’ incomes, the number of overnight stays each parent has with the children, and additional expenses such as health insurance, unreimbursed medical costs, and daycare.

Family court officials typically determine the amount of child support and set up a regular payment schedule.

Property Distribution

Property distribution is one of divorce’s most complex and emotionally charged issues. It involves dividing up the assets and debts you acquired during your marriage. It also includes pre-existing assets that increased in value during your relationship or marriage.

Assets may include a home, business interests, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, and retirement funds.

Judges consider several factors to determine how to distribute assets, such as the amount of income each spouse contributes or the potential earning power of each spouse. A judge also considers age and health to make a fair decision. Working with an experienced family law Hernando County FL attorney in property distribution cases is essential.


Guardianship is a court-ordered status that authorizes an individual to make personal and property decisions for someone who cannot manage their affairs due to mental illness or physical disability. The role of a guardian may include duties such as consenting to medical treatment, arranging professional services, monitoring living conditions, making end-of-life plans and preparations, or managing a ward’s estate.

Parents can appoint legal guardians in their wills or through state courts, such as surrogate or family courts. The court will examine the child’s best interests when deciding who will be appointed as a guardian. Generally, the child’s parent or parents will retain custody rights. However, a legal guardian can be granted full custody or visitation rights in some situations.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence is a severe criminal issue that often directly impacts family law matters. Depending on the case’s specifics, abuse allegations can influence¬†custody, child support, and property distribution.

Different types of domestic violence may include physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. It also includes stalking, threats, and harassment. The perpetrator may attempt to intimidate the victim through menacing looks or expressions, destroying property, and hurting or killing pets.

Unfortunately, despite some new protections patched into family law, abuse victims have difficulty in the family court system. The reason for this is straightforward. When deciding cases, the court applies the ‘preponderance of evidence’ standard, which is much less stringent than the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard employed in criminal courts. This gives a massive advantage to the abusive perpetrator, who can just hurl accusations at his victim and expect to be believed.