Five Family-related Laws Common to Americans

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Family law is a broad and ever-changing area of law that affects everyone at some point in their lives. Family law covers various legal issues, from marriage and divorce to child custody and adoption. Here are five of the most common family-related laws in the United States.

Marriage laws

The legal age for marriage in the United States is 18, although some states allow minors to marry with parental consent. Couples wishing to get married must obtain a marriage license from their state or local government. Once the permit is received, the couple can have their marriage officiated by a judge, justice of the peace, or religious clergy member.

Divorce Laws

While the process for getting a divorce varies from state to state, there are some commonalities. Here are some general things you need to know about divorce.

  • Prevalence of Divorce: The United States has one of the highest rates of divorce in the world. But that has been decreasing throughout the years.
  • Filing For Divorce: One spouse must file a petition for divorce with the court in the state where they live. Once the petition is filed, the other spouse must be served with divorce papers.
  • Grounds for divorce: Each state has its grounds or reasons for which a couple can get divorced. Some of the most common settings are irreconcilable differences, adultery, or abandonment.
  • Property division: All states have laws that dictate how property (assets and debts) will be divided during a divorce. These laws vary from state to state but usually involve an equitable or fair distribution of property.

Divorce is a complex process for everyone involved. But understanding the basics of divorce law can help make the process a little easier to handle.

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Child Custody Laws

When parents get divorced, they must determine who will have custody of their children. In many cases, parents can agree on their own. However, if they cannot reach an agreement, the court will decide for them based on what is in the child’s best interests. Here’s what you need to know about child custody laws.

Child Custody in Court

In cases when the couple can’t decide on their own, the court will order a custody evaluation. This is where a mental health professional will interview the parents and children to determine what type of arrangement would be best for the child. If you ever find yourself in this situation, it’s good to have an experienced child custody lawyer on your side. They can help you with the evaluation process and ensure that your rights are protected. They might even help you win the case.

Types of Child Custody

Legal and physical custody are two forms of child custody.. Legal custody gives the parent the right to decide about the child’s education, health, and welfare. On the other hand, physical custody is when the child lives with one parent most of the time. In some cases, parents will have joint legal and physical custody of their children.

Child Support Laws

When one parent has primary custody of the child, the other parent is usually required to pay child support. Child support is a payment from one parent to the other to help raise the child’s costs. Every state has its laws about how much child support should be paid.

Enforcement of Child Support

If the non-custodial parent doesn’t make their child support payments, there are a few things the custodial parent can do. First, they can file a contempt of court action against the non-custodial parent. This is when the court orders the non-custodial parent to appear in court and explain why they haven’t been making their payments. If they still don’t make the payments, they could be fined or even sent to jail.

Adoption Laws

Adopting a child in the United States can be long and complex. First, potential adoptive parents must meet specific eligibility requirements by federal and state law. Once they have met these requirements, they will need to undergo a home study conducted by a licensed social worker. After the home study is complete and the adoptive parents have been approved, they can begin searching for a child to adopt.

Alimony/spousal Support Laws

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is money that one spouse pays another after getting divorced. The amount of alimony that one spouse must pay another is decided on a case-by-case basis by a judge or mediator and takes into account factors such as each spouse’s income and earning potential, as well as how long the marriage lasted.

Family law is an important area of law that affects everyone at some point in their lives. If you need assistance with any family-related legal issue, be sure to contact an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of family law and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.