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Family Law - Know the Basics

Family law covers all legal matters directly related to the bloodline, including marriages, civil unions, divorce, prenuptial matters, custody, and property settlements. Having a firsthand knowledge about it always helps you to resolve your matters easily.

Historically within the US, family law was based around that of European feudalism. Prior to the 20th century, marriage was a practice which enabled the husband to become the owner of the entire wife's known property, in addition to becoming her legal guardian. This was despite laws which allowed women the right to property ownership. By the year 1900, all states, besides South Carolina, allowed for judicial divorces as instead of legislative ones. These took less time to process, start to finish.

By the 1970's, family law was evolving at a rapid pace. The associated topics were fast becoming part of a much wider national debate regarding morality, values, and gender bias. New changes were seen in the areas of child custody, divorce, and child support. By the end of 1987, all states had adopted no-fault divorces, thus making the divorce process much easier and time efficient. The new changes were protested by individuals who advocated traditional values, due to the belief that the new procedures encouraged couples to resort to divorce rather than address the issues within the relationship.

Child custody had been something traditionally awarded to mothers from the onset of the 20th century. Though, as many father's roles in the family setting began to evolve, laws too began changing to allow male custody, leading to the creation of joint custody. In joint custody, both parents are afforded the opportunity to take care of the child. However, court decisions have never been known for the ability to always make both parties happy with every decision.

Thus, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act was created in order to restrict parents from moving to a different state to obtain a more favorable verdict. In addition, Congress also passed the 1980 Parental Kidnapping Act to aid in preventing parental child abduction. The federal government now deals with all parental kidnapping cases, and allows for the added protection of custodial right beyond the nation borders.

Family law is an increasingly important area of study for many lawyers, expanding to encompass even couples who choose not to marry. With an increase in divorces being recorded each year, the demand for quality attorneys in this field is higher than ever.

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