Family/Domestic Violence

VLAS Publications

Family/Domestic Violence

VLAS Publications

» Adoption

Learn about the steps in adopting a child, the factors the judge will consider when deciding whether to grant the adoption, and the legal effects of adoption.

» Back Child Support

Getting behind in paying court-ordered child support results in “arrearages.”  What might happen when there are arrearages, and what can you do about it?

» Child Abuse, Foster Care, and Court Termination of Parental Rights

What happens when children are abused or neglected?  The local Department of Social Services will receive complaints, investigate, and take action.  There are different steps that might be taken, including termination of parental rights in the most serious cases.

» Child Custody and Visitation

The factors and legal procedures in deciding who should have custody and who should have visitation of children when families are separated.  A court order is often necessary in order to provide some stability and certainty for the children.

» Child Support 

Who is obligated to pay child support and when?  Is a court order required?  How is child support determined and enforced?

» Divorce and Separation

The law and court procedures for divorce.  Includes the legal grounds for divorce.

» Divorce, Spousal Support, and Division of Marital Property and Debts

The law and court procedures for divorce.  Includes not only the legal grounds for divorce, but other things that can be part of the divorce.

» Domestic Violence

An explanation of what is meant by “domestic violence” and what can be done to address it.  It includes more than spousal abuse, and it includes more than physical violence.

» Domestic Violence and Protective Orders

How to get court-ordered legal protection against actual or threatened domestic abuse.  These are called Protective Orders, which are enforced by law enforcement.

» Emancipation of Children 

Conditions under which minors may be declared legally eligible to handle their own affairs.  How to do this, and what it means.

» Establishing a Birth Record

Getting a birth certificate when none was obtained at birth.  Changing or replacing an existing birth certificate.

» Guardianship and Conservatorship 

Getting appointed by the court to take care of someone and their property when they become incapacitated to the point where they’re not able to manage things for themselves.

» How to Respond to a Complaint for Divorce

Very general information on things to consider when properly answering a Complaint for Divorce that’s been served on you.  Pay careful attention to deadlines to respond.  Getting the assistance of an attorney is strongly recommended.

» Name Change: Adult

Describes the legal proceeding by which an adult may seek a change of name.

» Name Change: Child

This information describes ways that parents may change the name of their child under 18 years old.

» Paternity 

Proving someone is, or is not, the father of a child.  How someone is presumed to be the father even without a court order.

» Self-Help Divorce

Instructions on how to find and use online forms to do your own divorce. Does not apply to all divorces. Designed for simple uncontested no-fault divorces.

» Spousal Support

Getting financial support from your spouse when you’re separated, even if you’re not starting a divorce.  Also called alimony.

» Termination of Parental Rights

A person’s legal rights and responsibilities as a parent can be terminated in situations of extreme abuse, neglect, or other danger to the child.  Who can do this, how is it done, and what is the legal effect?

» Your Rights as a Caregiver of a Relative’s Child

Sometimes, when a child’s well-being is at risk while in the custody of a parent, the child may be removed from the home and placed temporarily with another relative.  Read about how this is done, why it’s done, and what your rights are if you are a relative having the care and custody of a child.

» Your Rights as a Parent when Dealing with Child Protection Services 

The child welfare system, through the Department of Social Services, is designed to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of the child.  However, parents also have rights in the legal process that’s used to protect the child.

Derecho de Familia y Violencia Doméstica

VLAS Publications en Español

Derecho de Familia y Violencia Doméstica

VLAS Publications en Español

Helpful Resources

» Legal and Law Enforcement General Information

Law Enforcement and Court Information Only- No Legal Aid information