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Family Law Basics

Family law concerns the rights and obligations of spouses, children, and other domestic relations. The city, state and federal laws can all affect families in various ways. It is quite unfortunate that most marriages today are ending in divorce or separation. When a couple decides to call off a marriage, one of the spouses will petition the court for a divorce. This means that the court is accorded with the power to legally terminate the marriage, divide marital assets between the spouses, grant custody of any children to either or both partners, and impose child and spousal support obligations if applicable.

The state law and sometimes the federal law may affect a family before, during and after marriage.Some areas, where family law is applicable, include the following.

Pre-marriage Agreements
Courts will generally apply either community property laws or equitable distribution laws when distributing marital property depending on the state in which the court sits. States that apply community property laws, the court will divide the property into equal shares between the couple. Ion equitable distribution states, a court will divide marital property equitably which may or may not be 50/50.

If you wish to come up with your own property division rules; you can do so using the premarital agreement also known as the prenuptial agreement.

Child Support and Child Custody
Courts will prefer to give the legal and physical custody of children from a marriage to both parents. Legal custody entails making decisions about their children’s health, culture and religion. By physical custody, the child has the right to live in their parent’s home.When a parent is awarded sole custody; the court may also grant the non-custodial parent visitation to see the child at regular intervals.

Mediating In Divorce Cases
Often, a divorce brings about stress to both spouses, any children and those close to them. However, it is essential that the spouses don’t allow the stress or any lingering bitterness towards each other to spoil the divorce process.If the spouse can negotiate in good faith, the mediation process becomes more civil and less expensive and less adversarial way to dissolve the marriage.A a neutral mediator can try to balance the needs of each spouse and help them divide the marital property, resolve any child custody issues, and settle on child and spousal support.The mediator works closely with the lawyers of the spouses to make sure that the spouses are in agreement with the arrangement.

Foster Care or Adoption
Adoption cases also require the services of a family attorney.The process of adoption is often complex and differs according to the type of adoption, where the child is from, and the variances in state laws among other factors.

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