Family law pertains to the relationships between family members from a legal standpoint. While many issues concerning family law may seem personal or even more distressing when under the scrutiny of a court of law, problems often arise in families where legal action is an appropriate avenue for resolving these conflicts. There are a vast number of areas involving family law, all with a multitude of options to help solve these issues. Some of the most common areas within family law are:
Divorce is the legal termination of a governmentally-sanctioned marriage. A divorce involves many different aspects of the law, including marital and pre-marital agreements, custody rights, and property rights.
This is a quickly growing area of the law. According to statistics, fifty percent of the marriages granted in 1997 ended in divorce. Unfortunately, divorces are typically complicated and emotionally charged, so they should not be conducted without some form of legal assistance.
There are many different forms of divorce and separation, depending on the nature of the remaining relationship between the two parties, and the means in which the marriage was entered upon.
Child custody is when an individual is given the responsibility of being the primary caregiver over a child. Custody is typically given to the child’s natural parents, but may be passed on to another qualifying individual should the parents be deemed unfit caregivers. Custody is a common issue after parents go through a divorce and both wish to care for their child or children. Then, either the parents or a court must decide what the best situation for the child will be. Both parties’ parenting abilities and histories are evaluated and custody is granted accordingly. There are many solutions to custody problems, as well as many different forms of custody. This can be a touchy situation for any parent or child, so utilizing some form of mediation or legal assistance is always a good idea.
Child support is the payment of a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent for the care of their natural child. Child support is typically paid when the parents are unmarried or divorced, and is appropriated by a court of law or mutual out-of-court arbitration. The amount of payments made is usually a factor of the parent’s income, and criminal charges can be brought against a parent who fails to meet payment guidelines.
Spousal support is the payment of one spouse to another to help provide for the spouse’s livelihood. Spousal support is paid when one spouse was financially dependent on the other, and the couple goes through a divorce. Payments are made to help support the dependent party while they find employment or go through training or education necessary for them to secure adequate employment. Support may also be paid if one spouse gave up their own resources or employment to better support the other in their education or employment. Spousal support is typically decided through mutual arbitration or through the decision of a court of law.
Adoption is the legal acquirement of a child by unnatural parents. Adoption is typically a venue for couples who cannot give birth to a child of their own, but still want to experience parenthood and have a family. Adopted children are usually placed in homes by a public or private agency, and have been given to that agency by their natural parents because of their inability to properly care for the child. Family members may also adopt a child in the event of the natural parents no longer being able to care for the child. For example, a child’s aunt or uncle may be granted legal custody in the event of the child being orphaned. Adoption is usually a very long and stressful process, especially for non-related parents in search of a child.