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Property settlements  |  Child Custody  |  Child Support |   Spousal Support  |  Visitation   |  Adoption


Family Law

Family Law deals with all aspects of your legal rights and obligations as they apply to the family
unit.  It covers a vast field:  marriages, annulments, divorces, separations, premarital
agreements, child support and custody, visitation rights, property division and alimony,
adoption, name changes, child discipline, establishing paternity, living together, responsibility
for damages done by other members of the family, and more.  Just by reading this list you
begin to see how broad and complex this area really is.

Property settlements

There are two parts to every divorce.  The first part is the termination of the marital relation
itself by court decree.  The second part consists of dividing the house, cars, furniture, bank
accounts, and other assets.The Divorce and property settlement do not have to take place at the same time.  When the division of the property is disputed, the divorce is often obtained
first, particularly if one spouse wishes to remarry.

Child Custody

Child custody is an issue only if both parents want custody of the children.  If the parents
can agree on who gets custody, the judge will almost always accept their decision without second guessing it.  Any understanding regarding child custody should be incorporated into
the written settlement agreement.

Child Support

The amount of monthly child support the parent not having custody of the children must pay is usually agreed to by the parties as part of the settlement agreement.

Spousal Support

A marriage of a specified duration, usually ten years or more, is considered by the courts in most states to be a marriage of long duration.  This designation is an important factor in establishing spousal support since the court retains the right to modify, terminate, or extend spousal support when the marriage is considered of long duration.

Visitation Rights

If you don't get custody of your children, the judge will usually give you   reasonable
visitation rights.  The judge makes the decision only if you and your spouse can't decide
for yourselves about visition.


Adoption creates the legal relationship of parent-child where a person is not a child's
biological parent.  Three separate parties are usually involved in the adoption:   the child
the adoptive parents, and the child's biological parents or a public agency such as the
department of social services.  When a child is legally adopted, the adoptive parents take
on the same obligations toward the child as if they were the biological parents.


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