When you need the legal help of a family law attorney, there are a number of important terms that you should know and understand. Having a clear understanding of these terms can help you understand exactly what is going on with your situation.
Knowledge and preparation can go a long way in helping you cope with what may already be a stressful and anxious situation. Here are some key terms that can help clarify things.
- Family law: Family law is a term for a specialized practice of law that deals with issues that are related primarily to the family, which may include domestic violence, marriage, annulments, divorce, adoption, custody cases, alimony, paternity testing, child abuse, and more. Family law attorneys are legal professionals who have skill and experience in family law practice. They have an in-depth understanding of the law that surrounds these types of issues.
- Jurisdiction: This is a term that represents the authority of the court to make a decision about the case that is brought before them. In order for the court to be able to make a decision, the case must be in their jurisdiction. Jurisdiction plays an especially important role in cases related to family law as the jurisdiction can only modify custody agreements in the place they were developed. It is vital to know and understand what court it is and what jurisdiction it is under.
- Separation: Legal separation occurs when a married couple decides to part but do not get a divorce yet. The couple can be legally separated while they are still legally married. In many cases, this arrangement is beneficial, especially when the parties involved want to protect legal, financial or other interests. When individuals are legally separated, spousal support and child support and custody can be determined. Under certain circumstances, “separate maintenance” can be applied for by one of the spouses to help in maintaining the standard of living they are used to.
- Custody: This term refers to the rights and responsibilities of parents to their minor children. In a separation or divorce, there are a number of different types of custody arrangements that need to be considered. When both parents share physical custody of the children, it is known as joint physical custody. When one parent takes full responsibility for the children’s physical location, it is known as sole physical custody – the other parent may have visitation rights. Legal custody represents the responsibilities of the parents as to the legal decision-making for their children when they are minors. Legal custody can be granted sole, joint or on a rotating basis.
- Joint custody agreement: This term refers to a court-approved legal document that lays out each parent’s responsibility in caring for their children. It is expected for parents to work together in order to co-parent and share physical custody of the children. A family law attorney drafts a joint custody agreement after both parents agree to the arrangements. If they cannot agree, the issue is taken to Family Court where the custody agreement will be developed with the help of the judge.
- Marital property: Also called marital estate, marital property refers to all of the assets commonly owned by the married couple. This can include property, homes, vehicles, appliances, furniture, and other household goods. In almost every case, the marital property is an important component in the divorce discussion. It is vital to ensure that the marital property is divided fairly and that both parties agree to the arrangement. If the couple cannot come to an agreement, the case goes to court and a judge makes the decision.
- Dissolution: This is often referred to as the official end of a marriage. The dissolution of a marriage is complete through a legal process where the marital rights and the responsibility of spouses to each other are terminated.
If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, you should get in touch with a skilled and experienced divorce attorney at Joubert Law firm. Give us a call at (225) 761-3822 for a free consultation today.