Family Law, Matrimonial Law, and Divorce

Family Law is a broad category that is not necessarily dependent upon a marriage or civil unions.

Many people think that family and matrimonial law are the same, but they are in fact very different. At Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, our Illinois attorneys handle cases across both areas of focus. 

What Does Family Law Include? 

Family Law is a broad category that is not necessarily dependent upon a marriage or civil union. For example, paternity, adoption, juvenile abuse or neglect, domestic violence proceedings, and custody/visitation controversies involving non-parents (i.e. grandparents or siblings) fall under Family Law. Divorce, or dissolution of marriage, also falls beneath the Family Law umbrella. 

How Does Matrimonial Law Differ? 

Matrimonial Law is more specialized and relates to controversies that arise out of the marital type of relationship. With civil unions being legalized in Illinois, their dissolution is governed by the Dissolution of Marriage Act, which places civil union disputes within the scope of Matrimonial Law. This term is also not restricted to dissolution of marriage or a civil union, but would also encompass, for example, legal separation, a declaration of invalidity (formerly annulment), pre- and post-marriage or civil union agreements, the modification of judgments, the enforcement of judgments, and the like. 

Divorce (in Illinois referred to as Dissolution of Marriage) is essentially the same as matrimonial law. Matrimonial law is a more modern term used instead of divorce law, and it is considered part of the trend to make dissolutions of marriage sound less hostile. 

Matrimonial law is essentially a subset of family law. The terms are not interchangeable, but there can be some overlap. Regardless of your situation, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck offers experience, knowledge, and professionalism in all areas of family and matrimonial law in Illinois. Our attorneys provide skilled and sensitive services to clients in Chicago, Wheaton, and Lake Forest. With three convenient office locations, our Illinois divorce attorneys and family lawyers are ready to assist you. Contact us today.  

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