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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.

Premarital Agreements
Generally, the courts will either apply the community property laws or the equitable distribution laws when dividing marital property depending on which state this court is found. States that practice community property laws, the couples will be awarded 50/50 of the property. In equitable distribution states, the court divides the marital property equitably which may or may not be on the 50/50 basis.

Couples who wish to draft their own property division rules may set up their formulas prior marriage using the premarital agreement or the prenuptial agreement.

Child Custody and Support
Generally, courts prefer to grant the legal and physical custody of the children from a marriage to both parents. The legal custody gives the parents the right to decide on issues to do with the child’s education, religion and health. By physical custody, the child has the right to live in their parent’s home.When one parent is given the sole custody; the court may award the other partner with visitation rights to the child at regular intervals.

Divorce Mediation
The termination of a marriage brings about stress to each spouse, their children and many people close to them. It is important however that the partners do not allow the stress or any bitterness towards each other poison 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 will work with the attorneys of each of the spouse as well to ensure that both the spouses are satisfied with this arrangement.

Child Adoption
Another area that family law is applicable is in the case of adoption.The the process of child adoption can be complex and varies depending on the type of adoption, where the child comes from and variances in the state laws.

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