Family law, also known as matrimonial law, deals with family matters such as divorce, marriage, annulment, civil unions, child custody, maintenance, domestic violence, and child abuse explained by a family lawyer from Holtz Law. The most common issues that family law deals with are:
- Child Custody and Related Issues
Child custody, access, and parenting plans are all issues that have to be decided on when parents separate. Parents have to decide who will have custody of the children from the marriage and how much access the other parent will have. Decisions also have to be made regarding how to raise and take care of the children which involve child support and maintenance. These arrangements together are called ‘parenting plans’ and are required to be in order before a judge will grant a divorce.
- Child Support
Parents are legally responsible for supporting their dependent children financially until at least the age of 18, and in some cases longer, depending on the circumstances. Usually child support must be paid to the parent who has custody of the children by the other parent. It is a financial commitment that is decided on and paid to cover the costs of caring for and educating the children when parents separate. The amount of child support is determined by the income of the parent paying child support as well as the number of children involved.
- Spousal Support
Spousal support is sometimes paid by one spouse to another to financially support the lesser earning spouse. Spousal support is often paid to the spouse who has to stay home to care for the children in addition to child support or to a spouse who is unable to work. The amount of spousal support is determined by the court and is dependent on several factors including the length of the marriage, the earnings of the paying spouse, and how many children are involved.
- Property Division
Any increase in finances or property that occurred during the marriage is usually shared equally when a divorce occurs. Regardless of who owns or rents the family home, each spouse has the right to continue living in the home that was shared as a married couple.
In the case of common-law couples, each spouse usually retains the property and money owned before entering into marriage. Only things that are owned together are divided. In certain circumstances a common law spouse may claim a share of the property and money of the other spouse, however, this is not automatically granted by law as with legally married spouses.