Family law is a sub-specialty of the practice of law that concentrates on assisting couples in the process of divorce or separation or in actions for custody and support for unmarried families. Good lawyers will encourage you to do all you can to save your marriage or relationship before embarking on the divorce or separation process; to separate is a decision only you can make with help from your support network such as family, friends and your therapist.
A family lawyer, sometimes with the help of other professionals, can help you with your parenting plan (“custody”), help you to equitably divide your property, and provide for financial assistance (“spousal support” and “child support”) to the person who needs it from the person who is able to provide it.
The practice of family law is defined by the California State Bar Association as:
… the practice of law dealing with all aspects of the California Family Code and including, but not limited to, the following: taxation issues incident to family law practice; contempt; enforcement proceedings; mediation and/or negotiation of family law disputes; psychological and counseling aspects of family law; family law writ and appellate practice; postmarital agreements; nonmarital domestic relationships; child custody in any forum; and public enforcement of child support.
Adoption, guardianship, probate, wills and trusts, while they are “family matters,” are their own sub-concentrations, and you should always look for a specialist to attend to those matters.