family court

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Family court (often referred to as domestic courts) is a court of limited jurisdiction that hears cases involving family law. For example, family courts typically hear cases involving divorce, child custody, and domestic abuse. Given that the majority of family law comes from states and local governments, family courts are governed by state and local law and vary greatly in procedure from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. 

In some jurisdictions, family courts also handle guardianship and incompetence hearings. Other jurisdictions leave these matters to probate courts.

[Last updated in December of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]