Family Law 101 – Understanding the Basics of Marriage, Divorce and Child Custody

When people marry, they form a new family and enter into a lifelong commitment to support one another. But what happens when a relationship breaks down?

The laws that govern family relations – including divorce, child custody, adoption, paternity and many other areas – vary widely from state to state. The practice of family law, also known as domestic law, is rooted in English common law traditions but has grown into a complex legal system that often addresses controversial issues.

Gender Neutrality is the Standard for Family Law

The idea behind gender neutrality in family law is that family courts should not favor one gender over another in the course of divorce or other family disputes based on the gender of either the spouses involved. In most states, this rule is enforced and applies equally to both parties involved in a dispute regardless of their social, racial or economic characteristics.

However, in some situations, family courts may award certain rights to one parent over the other if there is a clear advantage to that person. For example, if one parent was duped into marriage by a fraud, that fact may be considered in determining child custody or visitation.

Courts will also consider the mental and physical health of both parents as well as their capacity to provide a stable home environment for their children. Likewise, if a person has a history of substance abuse or other problems that can negatively affect their child’s emotional health, these issues may be considered in a custody decision.

Joint Custody and Visitation Arrangements

In a typical child custody case, both parents agree on an arrangement that they believe is best for their children. Sometimes, they are able to come to a mutually acceptable solution without having to go to court; in other cases, the court will decide on an arrangement that both parents agree on.

This type of court order may not always be what the couple wants, and that’s when they might need to consultĀ  a Miami family law attorney. When both parties are willing to negotiate with the help of a lawyer, they can often reach a fair agreement on custody and visitation arrangements.

A judge will usually make a final decision about custody and visitation after hearing from both parties and reviewing the facts of the case. In general, the judge will award one parent custody of a child and order the other to pay support (which includes both parenting time and financial contributions) for the children.

Property Division During Divorce and Legal Separation

When couples get a divorce, their assets and debts are divided in accordance with the state’s divorce laws. This can include retirement accounts, savings, real estate and other assets.

Forensic Accounting in Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide to Divorce Analysis

When people get a divorce, it can be expensive and difficult to resolve. As a result, they often hire a divorce forensic accountant to determine the value of their marital assets and the amount of money they owe one partner. This can help them get an accurate assessment of their financial status and determine if they can afford to pay alimony or child support.

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