What types of issues are covered by family law, or the law of domestic relations?

This area encompasses all aspects of intra familial life, including but not limited to marriage, divorce, child custody, child support, child visitation, adoption, paternity, and surrogacy. Most state law codes contain a separate section or sections called a title or titles that deal exclusively with family law. For example, there is a separate title (Title 25) in Arizona called Marital and Domestic Relations. Tennessee has a separate title (Title 36) called Domestic Relations. Often attorneys will specialize in particular aspects of family law given the complexity and depth of the subject.

Family law interacts with many other areas of law, including contracts, torts, crimes, and other areas. Marriage itself is a civil contract between two parties (in nearly every state between one man and one woman). Both parties must consent to the marriage just as with any other type of contract. Sometimes parties will enter into contractual arrangements before marriage referred to as prenuptial agreements. Sometimes parties to a marriage will allege criminal and/or tortious (wrongful) conduct committed by their partner.