Which court do I start my family law case at?

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 , you have to go to court. But for others, you don't have to go to court. For example, issues like , , , , and . Decision-making responsibility and parenting time used to be called and .

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

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 (ADR) or family dispute resolution processes because they help resolve your issues without going to court. In family law, you must think about using ADR to resolve your issues out of court if it's suitable for your situation.

But sometimes going to court can be necessary because:

  • you want a that you can enforce
  • one person is afraid of another person because there is a history of family violence
  • there are serious mental health or drug abuse issues

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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