What Is the Difference Between a Divorce Lawyer & a Family Lawyer?
By Teo Spengler
Updated March 30, 2020
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The terms divorce law and family law are sometimes used interchangeably, but they should not be. Divorce law is only one of a myriad issues involved in family law. An attorney specializing in family law matters can handle a divorce, but a divorce attorney may not have the expertise to represent you in other family law matters.
When divorce looms on your horizon, it seems to eclipse all other possible issues. But many other problems can arise for families that require court intervention. Family law includes most of them, like adoption, paternity determinations, name changes, juvenile delinquency, child abuse and child emancipation.
Choosing An Attorney
If you need an attorney for a family law matter, select an expert in your problem area. If divorce is the issue, be sure your attorney specializes in divorce. Lawyers specializing in family law may be experts in divorce as well as other family law issues. It is also worth your time to see whether the matter is one you can handle yourself, with assistance from your court's self-help program or from a reputable online legal service provider.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.