Divorce Lawyer vs Family Law Attorney, What’s the Difference?

If you’ve found yourself wondering what the difference between a divorce lawyer vs family lawyer is, you’re in the right place. While these terms are often used interchangeably, divorce is actually a subset of family law.

Understanding 1 Difference between Divorce Lawyer vs Family Law Attorney

A divorce lawyer is a family law lawyer who does divorce. Most attorneys who practice family law handle divorce and divorce is usually the primary or main subset of work that a family law attorney does. However, a family law attorney usually does more than divorce.

Family Law encompasses divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, paternity (establishing the legal father/child relationship), adoption, guardianship, orders of protection, and other things.

So when you’re searching for a difference between a divorce lawyer vs family lawyer, it’s important to remember a divorce lawyer is a family lawyer. And that a family law attorney may encompass a fuller scale of family law services.

divorce lawyer vs family lawyer

Divorce Lawyer vs Family Lawyer, Is there a difference?

The short answer is no. The term “divorce” contemplates the dissolution of marriage, but both divorce and family law attorneys typically handle matters far beyond marriage break-ups. They may handle disputes involving unmarried parties who co-habit, as well as child custody and child support matters. A divorce lawyer is a family law lawyer who does divorce.

The terms “Divorce Lawyer”, “Family Law Attorney” or “Family Divorce Lawyer” are used interchangeably throughout the legal industry. They are not intended to represent greater or lesser degrees of capability on the part of the attorney or lawyer in question. Most attorneys who practice family law handle divorce and divorce is usually the primary or main subset of work that a family law attorney does. Which is how the title “divorce attorney” became so popular.

When Should I Hired A Family Law Attorney?

Divorce and Dissolution

Family law attorneys advise their clients on important financial and personal matters related to divorce. Including division of assets and debts, property, and separating the personal and financial affairs. A family law lawyer can also help with the award of the family home and mortgage, family and child support, and custody processes during a divorce.

Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony, sometimes referred to as maintenance, is a type of spousal support that where the spouse that makes significantly more income than the other pays to their soon-to-be ex to allow them to continue living under similar living conditions. Most jurisdictions have a time limit on when this begins to kick in, such as 7 or 10 years. Alimony can be permanent or temporary in nature.

Child Custody, Parental Rights, and Grandparent Rights

In addition to custody decisions resulting from divorce, dissolution, or separation of biological parents, family law attorneys advise in situations in which other family members (such as grandparents) may need or wish to be granted legal custody of children. These may be temporary or permanent arrangements.


In contrast to custody, adoption involves an adult becoming the full legal parent of a child. It usually requires one or more of the biological parents to abdicate their parental status, either voluntarily or involuntarily (if certain statutory requirements are met).

Child Support, Custody, and Visitation

Protecting a child’s well being or one’s own parental rights frequently requires the help of a family law attorney. Whether you are owed child support or are seeking/disputing custody or visitation rights, only an experienced attorney can provide the legal insight necessary to protect your family.

Domestic Abuse and Civil Protection Orders

Domestic abuse is never acceptable. If you or someone in your family has been abused, or you fear abuse is imminent, contact your local police department or an attorney.

In domestic abuse situations, a family law attorney can help you safely escape a dangerous situation. This may include assistance with obtaining protection orders to prevent future contact, seeking direct compensation for injuries and abuse, and any other remedy available under the law.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the legal scenarios covered under family law. If you’re still not sure whether an attorney can help in your situation, a consultation is the best way to determine your next steps. Experienced lawyers can quickly assess the risks of your case and explain them in layman’s terms, helping you make an informed decision.

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Divorce Lawyer vs Family Lawyer

Choosing the Right Family Divorce Lawyer for You

Going through a divorce is complicated, especially if both parties are not in agreeance. Find help through our team of divorce lawyers that can present your options to you.

There are many different types of ‘divorces.’ Therefore, meeting with an attorney will help you decide which one is the best fit for you. Talking to a divorce lawyer will allow you to understand the legal ramifications involved with a divorce. So you can make sure this is the right choice for your family.

When choosing a divorce lawyer, you shouldn’t jump to hire the first lawyer you meet. The ideal attorney has the legal knowledge and experience you need. He or she can help you understand the process and communicate and negotiate well. You should be able to depend on your divorce lawyer to solve problems creatively and be experienced in your specific court system.

Regardless of whether or not your divorce is headed to trial, your attorney needs to be experienced with the family law judges in your jurisdiction. So that he or she can advise you appropriately on legal strategy.

When interviewing divorce lawyers or family lawyers, ask about their rates. Most divorce lawyers charge an hourly fee and require a retainer — a fee charged in advance. Some lawyers will also negotiate fees based on anticipated settlements.

Don’t waste your time (or theirs) on a meeting if they’re out of your cost range. Most divorce attorneys provide a free consultation to discuss your specific situation and what their legal approach would be.

The divorce lawyer you choose should be someone you trust and feel comfortable with.

Contact Us

Attorney Cameron B. Pedro has built his practice on the belief that family always comes first. When your family needs help, he will be there. Schedule a free initial consultation.