What is Family Law? Typical Family Law Questions
What is Family Law?
Family law encompasses a broad range of legal topics involving marriage and children. Common family law subjects include divorce or annulment, child custody and visitation rights, child support payments, and spousal support / alimony. Family law specifically deals with children in regards to adoption, guardianship, and state child protection, and domestic violence and restraining orders for adults.
What's the difference between Divorce vs. Annulment?
Both divorce and annulment are court procedures that dissolve a marriage. However, unlike a divorce, an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened. The vast majority of dissolutions of marriage are done through divorce.
How are Child Custody and Visitation Established?
Courts deciding child custody and visitation matters will always make a decision based on the "best interests of the child."
What is Child Support?
"Child support" is the amount of money a parent is required by law to pay to the spouse who retains primary custody of the child. Child support is intended for the benefit of the child, and usually pays for:
- Food, shelter, and clothing
- Health and medical care
- Educational expenditures
What is Spousal Support / Alimony?
Spousal support (also know as alimony) represents regular payments made from one spouse to the other during a separation or after a divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to recognize the recipient spouse's contribution to the marriage and to assist that spouse to achieve financial independence where possible.
What is Family Law Mediation?
Family law mediation, or family mediation, is a type of method used to resolve family disputes. In family mediation, a neutral, third party mediator helps the two parties smooth out their differences and reach agreements on various points of contention. While family mediation can save the parties time and costs associated with trial, the decisions reached may not be legally binding, as the process is somewhat informal.
Family law mediation is similar to other types of alternative resolution methods like family conciliation or arbitration.
Do I Need a Family Attorney?
The Court process for any family law matter can often be very confusing, so it may be wise to consult with a family attorney to help explain your rights and to protect your interests. A lawyer experienced in family law will know how to navigate through the complicated legal process in an efficient manner, and be there when you have questions.
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Last Modified: 09-06-2012 11:54 AM PDT
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