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Family law is an area law that deals with divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, paternity, and adoption.
A divorce is defined as the dissolution of a marriage by judicial decree. There are two types Divorce: absolute divorce and limited divorce.
Absolute divorce –a divorce that is granted on the basis of marital misconduct or a finding that the relationship is no longer workable (also known as no-fault divorce). In an absolute divorce, the marriage is completely dissolved and both parties are legally unmarried again.
Limited divorce –a separation of the two parties that terminates cohabitation. In a limited divorce, the marriage is not dissolved and the parties remain married to one another. Limited divorce is also known as “separation.”
Annulment –Another way to dissolve a marriage is annulment .
When an annulment is granted, it treats the marriage as though it never existed. Grounds for annulment include:
- Misrepresentation or fraud – this can include: lying about already being married.
- Concealment – examples of concealment include: concealing a felony conviction, concealing an addiction, and concealing a sexually transmitted disease.
- Inability (or refusal) to consummate the marriage
- Misunderstanding – an example of a misunderstanding would be that one party thought that the other wanted children when, in fact, they did not.
Alimony is defined as payment from one spouse to another for support after divorce or separation.
Alimony can be paid on a monthly basis, or in a lump sum if allowed by the state.
In family law cases, paternity refers to the determination of who the father of a child is in order to arrange child support payments and custody.
There are several types of “fathers” that may be required to pay child support.
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When a married couple with children files for divorce, custody of the children is determined in a court of law.
There are four main types of child custody:
Legal custody – refers to the right of a parent to make decisions about a child’s upbringing. In some cases, joint legal custody is awarded to both parents. In this instance, the parents of the child must make decisions about the child’s welfare together.
Physical custody – refers to the right of a parent to have a child live with them. In some cases, joint physical custody is awarded.
Sole custody – when sole custody is awarded to one parent, that parent has sole legal and physical custody of the child.
Joint custody – refers to joint physical custody, joint legal custody, or both.
Child support refers to the obligation of a child’s parents to pay for his or her upbringing.
Child support does not discriminate between genders – a father who has custody of a child is entitled to child support just as a mother who has custody of a child is entitled to the same support.