Family law is very similar to divorce law except there isn’t actually a marriage involved. However, there is a family in terms of two parties plus at least one or more children. Family law involves all of the issues that you would see in a typical divorce case even though the parties are not married. For example, family law involves the issue of custody. Custody is decision-making for the minor children. You can have joint custody for the minor children where both parties are sharing equally in the health, education and religious decisions of the minor children. Alternatively, you can have sole custody where one party makes the decisions exclusive of the other. The noncustodial party will have extensive visitation which will include alternating holidays and alternating weekends.
Family law also involves the issue of child support. When parties are not married but they have children, there is child support that must be awarded from one party to the other. Child support is based on state statutory guidelines and the amount of child support is from all sources of income which include employment, part-time jobs, dividends, rental income, investment income and any other source of income.
Family law also involves visitation issues. In family law, the court will award visitation to the noncustodial party either based on the agreement of the parties or according to the courts idea of what visitation is proper. The typical visitation schedule that we see on a daily basis is alternating holidays, alternating weekends and perhaps a day during the week. Visitation can vary based on the parties’ lifestyle, the parties’ schedule, and the parties’ willingness to cooperate in effective visitation schedules.
Family law is basically the determining of rights vis-à-vis parties that are not married. These rights can include the establishment of paternity whereby one party is determined to be the father of the child. Family law will then accelerate to a custodial arrangement whereby either one or both of the parties will have custody of the minor children. The next issue is support which is based on a person’s net income as well as visitation issues which can be as varied as the parties like.
Family law is an important aspect of the judicial system in that the rights and obligations of parties who are not married are established and put into a court order which must be adhered to by the parties.