If you are in the middle of a divorce or going through complex family matters, family law can help with understanding your rights and seeking counsel can be very important, during this process.
The rules governing those matters would fall under family law, which can be a very complex subject.
However, if you want to assert your rights and know your obligations, understanding the basics of family law can be helpful, throughout this process.
If you have previously tried reading about family law and failed, you do not have to get tangled in its webs; here’s what you need to know about it:
What is Family Law?
Family law is a body of laws, which govern and regulate family relationships or individuals who share a domestic connection.
The majority of the cases regulated by family law usually involve parties related by blood or marriage.
However, there are several subjects that fall under family law, including marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, divorce, property settlements, alimony, child support, visitation rights, adoption, surrogacy, as well as several other relevant subjects.
The majority of family law proceedings come as a result of the termination of a marriage or a domestic relationship.
In the United States, all matters related to family law are under the legal jurisdictions of state and local courts.
This means that those laws or jurisdictions can differ from one state to the other. However, these are some of the most common cases that fall under family law:
Divorce or the termination of marriage has specific requirements that differ from one state to the other.
In order to file for divorce, you should be a resident of that state; afterward, you will need to check the requirements of the county or state you are residing in and then establish the grounds for the divorce.
Your causes can be a no-fault divorce, which simply means that the differences that cannot be reconciled or that you and your spouse are incompatible.
However, some states allow a fault-divorce, where you should establish a cause for the divorce, such as violence, adultery, etc.
If you feel you can work out your problems without taking your case to the court, you can try divorce mediation.
This is a common method of negotiating a divorce settlement, where you hire a neutral third party to resolve your issues and come up with a settlement that is agreed upon by both parties.
Legal advisors from an established law firm’s website state that mediation offers a convenient tool for both individuals, as it isn’t costly and both parties retain control over their case to reach an agreement that best fits their lives.
Moreover, the mediator doesn’t make abiding decisions for you, rather serves as an advisor in order to help you figure out what’s best.
If the couple has children, then child custody becomes an important aspect during the divorce process.
Custody has two components, which are physical and legal custody.
If there are no specific wrongs done by any of the parents, such as violence or drug abuse, then judges would most likely award joint custody.
In all cases, the judge will make the decision with the child’s best interests in mind.
Most states have guidelines and rules when it comes to child support.
However, as a general rule, both parents should support the child until they reach adulthood and can support themselves.
Usually, the parent who spends less time with the child will pay the other parent for the child’s expenses and needs.
The amount of support is determined based on the parent’s earning capacity.
Spousal Support (Alimony)
In most cases, spousal support is not obligatory or automatic and has become less common.
The judge is likely to order spousal support after a divorce, if:
There is a dramatic difference in income potential between the two spouses
The marriage was relatively long, with the lower-earning spouse, dependent on the higher-earning counterpart
The spouse is an elderly or disabled, unable to support themselves
However, this support can be terminated if the recipient remarries, becomes self-supporting, or fails to make an effort to become self-supporting.
The supporting spouse can also file a petition in order to reduce the amount or terminate it if they can no longer afford it.
So, if you feel that you and your partner have grown apart, the needs of your family changed, or are facing family disputes, understanding the laws which govern those matters will ease that phase and make it less stressful.
Just remember to take it slow and seek professional help and advice, because family law issues can sometimes get really daunting without it.