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What is Family Law?

Lawyers, judges, and court administrators use the term “family law” all the time, but this is not a common term used by the average person. As a matter of fact, the term “family law” is a very broad one and encompasses an entire area of the law. Family law issues involve divorce, or the dissolution of marriage, more often than not. But even in regards to divorce in Marvin, North Carolina, or anywhere else in the country, there is a wide range of legal issues that can arise, all of which fall under the umbrella of family law. We will look at some of the most common below.

Areas Within Family Law

Family law includes many different legal matters relating to not just divorce, but also child custody, child support, separation, equitable distribution, post separation support, and even domestic violence.

Child Custody and Child Support

While child custody and child support issues may arise in the context of a divorce in Marvin, they can also arise outside of a dissolution of marriage. When two individuals have a child together, whether or not they were legally married at the time of the child’s birth, child support issues arise should the couple decide to separate. Moreover, if a child is born out of wedlock in Marvin, additional legal issues can arise such as paternity matters. Paternity is the legal determination of the identity of the biological father of a child. Establishing paternity can be even more complicated if fraud is involved or if the mother is not married to the father of the child, but rather someone else, at the time the child is born.

Family law also includes other legal matters regarding children. These may involve adoption, step-parent adoption, as well as artificial reproduction technology (ART). In more extreme circumstances, family law may involve international laws such as the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of the Hague Convention if one parent chooses to take a child out of the U.S. to another country. Just like child custody and child support, these issues are not entirely dependent upon the existence of a legal marriage and the later dissolution of one.

Spousal Support

In addition, family law often address the issue of spousal support. Spousal support in Marvin includes alimony matters as well as post separation support. These types of cases, however, can only arise in the context of a dissolution of marriage in North Carolina. In other words, post separation support issues can only occur after a married couple decides to separate from one another. Alimony refers to the financial payments made by one spouse to the dependent spouse, and usually lasts longer than spousal support.

Equitable Distribution

Family law also encompasses equitable distribution of property during divorce. Under North Carolina law, the equitable division of marital assets and debts does not necessarily mean that property will be divided equally. Just like spousal support and alimony, equitable distribution only arises in Marvin in the context of a dissolution of marriage. Generally, marital assets - including property and debt - that is acquired during a marriage is subject to equitable distribution in Marvin. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. Some examples include assets received by only one spouse by way of a gift or inheritance. In certain scenarios, a North Carolina court may issue a restraining order - referred to as an injunction - to preserve marital assets and prohibit waste of marital assets.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence issues also fall under the purview of family law. Unfortunately, sometimes domestic violence arises in a relationship - regardless of whether or not a valid Marvin marriage exists. There can be several different types of consequences that result from domestic violence including the need for a domestic violence protective order, commonly referred to as a 50B. Named after a North Carolina general statute, this type of protective order can result in criminal charges if not followed.

Family Law Attorneys in Marvin

The skilled North Carolina family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are well versed in all areas of family law and understand how it intersects with criminal law. When these two areas of the law intersect, it is key to get help from knowledgeable lawyers who are skilled in handling both types of cases simultaneously. Having represented clients in both types of cases for years, our attorneys can manage these effectively for you. Contact us today to schedule your initial case evaluation.