1. Figure out the issues you want the court to decide

Which court do I start my family law case at?
This question has an answer and 3 steps
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1. Figure out the issues you want the court to decide

You have to start your family law court case in a court that deals with the family law issues you need to resolve. You first need to decide which family law issues you want to take to court.

For some issues, like getting a divorce, you have to go to court. But for others, like dividing property, custody and access, child support, and spousal support, you don’t have to go to court.

You and your partner may be able to agree on those issues and make a separation agreement.

Or you might want to ask a family law professional to help you resolve your issues. These are people who do not take sides and are trained to work with both of you. They can help you reach an agreement and some make a decision for you.

Family law professionals can work in:

These processes are sometimes called alternative dispute resolution because they help solve your issues without going to court.

But sometimes going to court can be necessary because:

  • you want a court order you can enforce
  • you don't think you can make an agreement with your partner, with or without the help of a lawyer or family law professional
  • there is a history of partner abuse, mental illness, or drug abuse

Once you decide which issues you want to take to court, you have to find out which court deals with those issues.

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Reviewed: July 31, 2017

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