Divorce & Custody Law

What is divorce & custody law?

Divorce & custody law covers:

  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Maintenance/Alimony
  • Paternity
  • Parenting Time
  • Mediation
  • Early Neutral Evaluation
  • Orders for Protection
  • Harassment Restraining Orders
  • Appeals
  • Child Protection
  • Adoption

Divorce & custody law broadly describes several areas of the law related to family. This includes matters of any family in order to retain peace and civility with respect to domestic relations, especially in matters involving minor children. Our firm has extensive years of experience in this area and would be happy to address any concerns or questions you may have.

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Separation
  • Marital Dissolution
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorships
  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Spousal Abuse
  • Paternity
  • Adoption
  • Child protection
  • Child abuse
  • Custody jurisdiction (the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act)
  • And much more

Divorce and custody law can also deal with custody jurisdiction. This is also known as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or “UCCJEA”; this is the body of law that addresses which court should have jurisdiction over matters pertaining to a child’s custody. 

The most common areas associated with the term “family law” include:

  • Divorce
  • Annulment
  • Property settlements
  • Alimony/spousal maintenance
  • Premarital agreements (also known as antenuptial or prenuptial agreements)
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Non-marital Claims
  • Pre-marital Claims
  • Early Neutral Evaluation
  • Collaborative Law
  • And other alternative dispute resolution methods

Divorce

Divorce, also known as a marital dissolution, involves the process of terminating a marital union. First and foremost, this dissolves the bonds of matrimony between the parties. It also determines the legal duties and responsibilities between them. In addition to divorce being a process between two parties, other factors may be involved including minor children and assets. The legal process of divorce may also include issues of:
  • Custody of minor children
  • Alimony
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Spousal support
  • Child support
  • Marital property
  • Marital debt
  • Visitation
  • Allocated parenting time

Custody

Custody involves the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his or her child. Typically, there are decisions to be made regarding the physical custody of minor children, meaning which of the parents would primarily care for a child on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, there is legal custody, which includes decision-making involving a child. These decisions often involve religious, educational, and medical issues. Physical custody and legal custody may not always go hand-in-hand. If the parents are unmarried, the father may need to establish his paternity before asserting his parental rights. Often divorce and custody law are considered “family law.”

Mediation

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) which allows parties to come to a point of conclusion or agreement. This kind of resolution allows the opportunity for disputes to de-escalate and or avoid escalation entirely by having a neutral party involved.

The mediator serves as a neutral party and works with two or more parties to help the parties come to an agreement on the matter in dispute. Mediation is confidential and a mediated agreement can include terms which a court would not order, but which will satisfy the parties and resolve the dispute.

The greatest benefits in resolving disputes through mediation are that the parties control the outcome, they can eliminate the need for a judicial decision or trial, and it is completely confidential. Due to these factors, mediation often accelerates conclusions to issues and typically involves better communication between parties.

A mediated agreement can be entered as a court order in a pending case, or it can be a contract between the parties, binding them to the agreement.

Adoption

Adoption involves an adoptive parent and child where the adoptive parent takes on the legal role of what would be expected of a biological parent. There are many checkpoints and both federal and state requirements involved in this process. Although federal laws remain the same across the U.S.,state laws differ across state lines. Our firm can help you navigate these laws, interpret paperwork and much more.

When the adoptive parent takes on the legal responsibilities as though he or she were the biological parent of the child, the parent takes on the right to inherit, responsibility for the child’s acts, as well as financial responsibility. The adoptive parent also takes on the rights of a biological parent including that of spending time with the child and being entitled to information regarding the child, such as school information and medical information.

The adoptive child takes on the rights as though they were the biological child of the adoptive parent. Not only does the child become a member of that parent’s family, they also have:

  • A right to inherit
  • A right to receive any social security benefits that a child may receive
  • A right to financial support from the parent.

An order for adoption is an order granted by a court of competent jurisdiction to do so. An adoption usually requires a home study, criminal background checks and the involvement of social services both before and after the adoption. Due to the sensitive nature of guardianship, there are many precautions that are placed in order to protect the child. These precautions are in the form of both state and federal requirements.

Prior to an adoption, the rights of the biological parent must be terminated if there are already two parents for the adoptive child. In a stepparent adoption, the procedures are less involved but the parental rights of one parent must be terminated in order for the stepparent to become the adoptive parent. In sum, there may only be two parents per child.

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Suite 610 Missabe Building
Duluth, MN 55802

Email: lawfirm@btolawyers.com

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