Family law is an important legal field, which covers a wide range of issues that can affect you and your family. From divorce to child custody to adoption, family law can have a major impact on your life. Knowing the basics of family law is essential if you are dealing with any of these matters. To help you get started, a family lawyer from The McKinney Law Group has provided five facts about family law that you need to know.
1) The Process of Getting a Divorce
The first step in the process of getting a divorce is to file a petition or complaint with the court. After filing this document, you must serve it to your spouse, who then has a certain amount of time to respond to the petition. The next step in the process is to attempt to reach an agreement on issues such as child custody and visitation rights, alimony payments, division of property, and any other matters that need to be resolved. This is known as an uncontested divorce. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case will move on to a trial where a judge will decide these issues for you. Finally, after all matters have been settled, a divorce decree will be issued by the court. This document finalizes the divorce and outlines the terms of the settlement.
2) Child Custody and Visitation
It is important to understand that when dealing with issues of child custody and visitation, there are two separate matters: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to decision-making authority over the child’s medical care, religious upbringing, education, etc. Physical custody refers to where the child lives and who is responsible for providing the day-to-day care. Generally, joint legal and physical custody is preferred if both parents are able to provide a safe and healthy home environment.
3) Child Support
This is the money that a parent or guardian is responsible for paying to provide financial assistance to the custodial parent in raising the child. A court will decide the amount of child support based on a number of factors, including the incomes of both parents, the number of children, and any special needs of the children. Child support payments are intended to cover basic necessities for the child such as food, clothing, and shelter. However, it may also cover other items such as childcare, educational expenses, and medical expenses.
Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a payment made from one spouse to the other after divorce. The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support for the receiving spouse. There are several factors taken into account when determining alimony payments. The length of the marriage, the income and assets of both parties, the ability of the paying spouse to support both themselves and the recipient, and the standard of living during the marriage are all considerations in the decision-making process. Alimony can be temporary or permanent depending on the situation.
5) Property Division
When couples are looking to end their marriage, it is important to understand how their assets will be divided. Property division often involves both financial and personal property, such as real estate, bank accounts, investments, household goods, cars, furniture, and art. The court considers several factors in determining how to divide the property, such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s economic circumstances, each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of the assets, and the desirability of awarding the family residence to the party with primary physical custody of any children.
It is important to consult with a family lawyer who is experienced in handling these matters; contact one today.