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5 Surprising Facts about Family Law

Families have undergone a tremendous shift with regard to the relationships maintained between the various family members. For instance, in the United States majority of the families do not have a traditional father and mother structure and instead are made of singles, stepfamilies, and families that live together without the bond of marriage.

Family law influences individuals who have a domestic connection via marriage or by blood and those in casual or distant relationships.  The emotional nature of almost all cases of this law requires litigants to retain legal counsel strongly.  Whether it is a joyful situation such as awaiting an adoption to pass through or experiencing the pains of a custody issue or marital conflict, here are some surprising facts that help you know more about the law.

  1. No Right to Counsel in Divorce

Right to counsel applies to instances such as criminal cases where the litigants stand to lose physical liberty, if the litigation is lost. The right to counsel also applies in case of termination of parental rights sought by the State in dependency suits. However, in divorce, the individuals involved are not allowed right to counsel.

  1. Mothers are not always the primary choice in child custody

Custody decisions ae made based on the best interests of the child concerned. Judges look for continuity and stability, so the parent in charge of primary care of the child during a marriage is considered as a candidate of primary custody.  Since most families follow the traditional structure wherein the mother is the main caregiver, she is awarded primary custody. However, if the father satisfies the court in the role of primary caregiver, he would more likely be awarded primary custody. As per the court’s concern, it is the appropriate childcare and not the caregiver’s gender that is taken into account.

  1. Divorce rate increases with age

As per the survey done by National Center for Family and Marriage Research from 1990to 2009, the divorce rate showed an increase in the above 50 age group. The increasing population of baby boomers is considered a main reason for this trend. Further late marriages also contribute to getting divorced at later age.

  1. Child support and visitation

The visitation rights of a parent are entirely unrelated to whether the parent pays child support or not. Therefore, even if a parent were not seeing the child, he or she would still have to pay for child support. In addition, visitation rights cannot be denied, even if a parent does not make the due payments for child support. Even if a court order grants a parent custodial or visitation right, it cannot force them to exercise the rights but it can force the parent to pay the child support. If a parent does not use the visitation rights for a long span, it is possible to go to court to limit or even terminate the visitation rights of the parent.

  1. Age of the child

The age of a child is not considered in the decision to choosing the parent they can live with. However, as the age increases, the judge would consider the preference of the child while making the custody decision, but the decision of the judge is final.

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