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Family Law – An Overview
When you are faced with an important life decision regarding a key family relationship, the advice and assistance of a family law attorney at Knox Law Center in Charlotte, NC, can prove crucial to your understanding of the issues involved and your satisfaction with the ultimate outcome.
Typically, family law attorneys assist people in either building or dissolving family relationships. Specific areas of representation include marriage and relationship planning, divorce, alimony/spousal support, paternity, child custody and child support. Some family law attorneys also provide assistance in the areas of adoption and assistive reproductive technologies.
Because marriage is a legal and financial arrangement, it may be wise to consult with an attorney at Knox Law Center about the advantages of premarital and prenuptial agreements beforehand.
In some states you may need to prove fault, commonly referred to as “grounds,” to obtain a divorce. However, the majority of states allow at least one form of no-fault divorce in which the spouses are not required to prove that the other caused the breakdown of the marriage. If no-fault divorce is available in your state, either you or your spouse may obtain a divorce, even if one of you does not consent to the divorce. In some states, both fault and no-fault divorce are available.
In most divorces, the primary issues to be decided are property and debt division, alimony/spousal support and, if there are children, child custody, visitation and support. When spouses agree on how to resolve these issues or they can work cooperatively to find solutions, they can usually obtain a divorce relatively quickly. Oftentimes, however, divorcing spouses have disputes regarding their post-marriage financial arrangements and the care and custody of their children. Property division and alimony can be hotly contested issues in divorce proceedings, but the early advice of a family law attorney may have a favorable impact on the end result.
Child custody and visitation
Sometimes the parents can agree to a custody and visitation (also called “parenting time”) schedule; if they cannot, then the court will determine one for them. In the past, courts routinely gave mothers physical custody and gave fathers visitation rights. Today, such gender-biased preferences are much less common, as courts and society as a whole now realize that it is sometimes in the best interests of the children to reside with or spend the majority of their time with their father instead.
In general, the courts favor having the children reside where they will most likely flourish, giving children time with both parents as appropriate and establishing joint, ongoing child-rearing responsibilities for both parents. The advice and assistance of a family law attorney can help parents establish child custody and visitation agreements that focus on the best interests of their children.
A parent who fails to remain current on his or her child support obligations faces significant penalties. Not only does interest accrue on child support after a certain time, but also non-paying parents could find themselves in contempt of court. In addition, every state has a child support enforcement office that works with the family court to suspend professional or business licenses, take away driver and recreational licenses, require payment of future owed sums in advance or even place non-paying parents in jail when child support obligations are overdue. Hiring a private family law attorney to help collect child support will typically speed up the process. Because of the state-specific requirements involved in child support, parents can benefit from the advice and involvement of a family lawyer at Knox Law Center in Charlotte, NC, when child support issues arise.
Contact a family law attorney today
Family relations create a host of legal consequences when they change, break down or end. A family law attorney at Knox Law Center in Charlotte, NC, can explain the laws that apply to your particular situation and help you to make informed choices for you and your family.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.
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