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What is Family Law?

Family law is an area of the law that deals with family-related
issues and domestic relations including, but not limited to
marriage, civil unions, divorce, spousal abuse, child custody
and visitation, property, alimony, and child support awards, as
well as child abuse issues, and adoption.

Family Law:

This list is by no means dispositive of the potential issues that
come through the family court system. In many jurisdictions in
the United States, the family courts see the most crowded
dockets. Litigants representative of all social and economic
classes are parties within the system. Because the family
courts are notoriously underfunded and see a relatively large
proportion of economically dependent litigants, a common
criticism levied is that the system inherently prejudices the
needs of these disadvantaged parties.

Family Law and Marriage

What is Marriage?

Marriage is a relationship and bond between individuals that
plays a key role in the definition of many families.

Family Law:
In modern times, the term marriage is generally reserved for a
state sanctioned union. The phrase legally married can be used
to emphasize this point. In the United States there are two
methods of receiving state sanction of a marriage: common law
marriage and obtaining a marriage license. The vast majority of
US states to do permit common law marriage. Many localities do
support various types of domestic partnerships.

Family Law:
In the West marriage has evolved from a life-time covenant that
can only be broken by fault or death to an contract that be
broken by either party at will. Other shifts in Western marriage
since WWI include: (a) Unlike the 1800s women not men get
child custody over 80% of the time, (b) both spouses have a
formal duty of spousal support (no longer just the husband), (c)
Women can vote (i.e., coveture no longer applies),(d)
Out-of-Wedlock children have the same rights of support as
legitimate children, (e) in most states rape can legally occur
within marriage and be punished, (f) husbands may no longer
physically discipline/abuse their wife, and (g) property acquired
since marriage is not owned by the Title-holder. This property
is considered marital and to be divided among the spouses by
community property law or equitable distribution via the courts.
There is a growing debate about the form(s) that marriage
should take. Two of the most hotly-debated variants are
same-sex marriage and polygamy.

Family Law:
Typically, marriage is the institution through which people join
together their lives in emotional and economic ways through
forming a household. It often confers rights and obligations
with respect to raising children, holding property, sexual
behaviour, kinship ties, tribal membership, relationship to
society, inheritance, emotional intimacy, and love.

Family Law:
Marriage sometimes: establishes the legal father of a woman's
child; establishes the legal mother of a man's child; gives the
husband or his family control over the wife's sexual services,
labor, and/or property; gives the wife or her family control over
the husband's sexual services, labor, and/or property;
establishes a joint fund of property for the benefit of children;
establishes a relationship between the families of the husband
and wife. No society does all of these; no one of these is
universal.

Family Law:
Marriage has traditionally been a prerequisite for starting a
family, which usually serves as the building block of a
community and society. Thus, marriage not only serves the
interests of the two individuals, but also the interests of their
children and the society of which they are a par
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