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What You Need To Know About Family Law

The law associated with family obligations and disputes has increased rapidly in the last 30 years as judges and legislators have redefined and examined legal relationships that are related to Child Support, Child Custody and Divorce. Today family law is entangled in national debates that are associated with the morality, gender bias and the structures of families.

Over and above the various changes made by federal and state legislators, family law continues to be a controversial area in U.S law. In addition, family law also produces extremely strong emotions from the individuals who are forced to enter into these legal processes.In many cases parties are unable to agree on aspects such as child custody and how to divide their assets fairly.

Historical Background

The majority of changes made in regards to family law in the era of the late 20th century are based on the overturning of the concepts based on gender, family and marriage that are associated with European Feudalism (church law) and customs. In England during the Saxon times divorce and marriage were considered to be a private matter.

However, in 1066 after the Norman Conquest the legal-status of all married woman were fixed by what was known as Canon Law and Common Law that prescribed various duties and rights. This resulted in that the identity of a woman merged with her husband and he became a legal individual while the wife was not. Upon a marriage, the husband took on all the wifes property and her personal possessions. In return the husband was obligated to support their children and his wife.

When divorce began to become an issue the topic relating to child custody was raised. Previously, fathers were the ones that retained the custody for their children. This weakened into the era of the 19th century when judges fashioned 2 different doctrines that governed child custody. These doctrines were known as the best interests of the child that offered mothers custody of their children when assessing the needs of a child. The other doctrine known as the tender years came about after the Civil War that gave mothers presumptive rights to their younger children.

About Dividing Assets After A Divorce

Today the extremely high rates of separation in de facto relationships and marriages, more individuals are now facing the possibility of having to divide their assets. For some individuals, dividing of the assets means transferring property and cash and agreeing on a handshake. However, this notion is not in accordance with the requirements based on the Family Law Act.

Parties who are able to agree on the method in which their assets will be divided must formalize this agreement and the easiest way to do this would be through a Family Court. It is also advisable that both parties in a divorce settlement should obtain the necessary legal advice from lawyers or solicitors that specialize in Family law. This should be the very first step for both parties to consider before they lodge for a consent application.


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