Family laws are a branch of Civil Procedure Laws that deal with the domestic relations. They deal with the rights and duties that people in a family have towards each other.
Before the twentieth century the concept of the family law was not as developed as it is today. The complex set of laws that we see today have gone through many reforms over the period of time. Today we can see many aspects of family law.
Family laws usually deal with family issues like
- Civil unions
- Annulment of a marriage
- Child custody
- Child maintenance
Marriage is a socially or religiously recognized union between two individuals that creates rights and obligations between them, their children and their in-laws.
The US law does not recognize polygamy, child marriages or forced marriages. Same sex marriages are recognized in 36 US states and by the US federal government.
Civil union is a legally sanctioned relationship between two individuals of same or opposite sex that bestows upon them the similar rights and obligations as in a legal marriage.
Vermont was the first state to allow civil unions in July 2000. Following that Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey also began to recognize civil union.
Couples in civil union enjoy rights like
- Hospital visitation rights
- Making emergency medical decisions for partners
- Pension benefits
- Adoption rights
- Inheritance rights
- Right to share a room in a nursing home
- Performing last rights of the deceased partner
Divorce is the dissolution of the relationship between a legally married couple under the laws of the particular state or country. A divorce must be certified under a court of family law for it to be recognized see here for more .
Where a divorce cancels rights and obligations present during the marriage, it gives rise to new rights and obligations for partners like alimony, child support, child custody etc.
A divorce could be
Before 1960s it was mandatory for the divorcing couple to prove a “fault” in either of the partners, that was detrimental to their matrimonial relationship. The fault or grounds were cruelty, abandonment, adultery, substance abuse or alcoholism.
In the 1960′s the divorce law went through a reform that allowed couples to divorce without alleging a “fault”. Irreconcilable differences and incompatibility alleged by one party are considered reasons enough for granting a divorce even if other party denies the allegation.
A mediated divorce procedure is used by couples by appointing a mediator who helps them reach a settlement out of court. Mediated divorces are cheaper and take less time therefore more couples now seek to divorce through mediation.
This divorce means that the issues the couples are facing have to be heard by a court through judicial trial.
Uncontested divorce is when the divorcing couples come to a fair agreement before the court prior to entering the court. Approximately 95% of divorces in US are uncontested.
ANNULMENT OF A MARRIAGE:
A matrimonial relationship can be annulled if it was invalid and void to begin with. It should not be confused with divorce.
Grounds for annulment in US are fraud, lack of consent and dishonesty.
In New York a bigamous marriage is void ab initio (not legal from inception) therefore cannot be annulled.
Child custody is a legal relationship between a child and his or her parent. Custody of the child was usually granted to mothers but with changing social status of women and men in the society fathers have also begin to sought custody.
Forms of custody are:
Split Custody: some children remain with one parent and others remain with the other parent.
Shared Custody: children spend an equal amount of time living with each of their parents.
Bird’s Nest Custody: instead of children, the parents go back and forth from children’s residence.
Joint Custody: both parents have legal and physical custody.
Sole Custody: only one parent has legal and physical custody.
Third Party Custody: instead of biological parents, third party has the custody.
It is an ongoing payment that aparent makes for the proper upbringing and adequate standard of living for the child. A non-custodial parent may pay the child support to the custodial parent. In joint custody the parent with higher income may pay the other.
It is an allowance or financial support paid to a person by his or her ex spouse upon court’s orders. Family Law Encino Ca Alimony, also called spousal support in US and Canada, is paid to the spouse who was financially dependent during the tenure of the marriage which is usually the wife.